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  • Overtraining problem... or is it?

    Hi all,

    I am new to Paleo, and hope to make it a sustainable eating and exercise lifestyle. When I say that I'm new, I really mean NEW. I have been calorie counting for around 2.5 months, and have had success with limiting my calorie intake to around 1500-1700 calories/day net (that is, after taking into account exercise calories). I have managed to lose 10kg (22 pounds), and feel and look a lot more compact than I used to.

    I have never had a problem with eating less carbs, and I actually had to TRY to up my carb intake, so I am really looking forward to getting to the primal swing of things. On average I get around 47% of calories from carbs, 31% from fat and 22% from protein. (YES, I actually enjoy recording what I eat :-P). Depressingly close to the "recommended" macro nutrient intake.

    For exercise, I have been doing Insanity, and loving it. Exercise calorie use according to HR is around 460-900 per day, six days a week.

    Now during this week I have hit a wall... I don't sleep well, I'm not motivated to exercise and I feel generally weak. I had to skip yesterday's Insanity session, and today I had to stop it halfway through, because I just c-o-u-l-d n-o-t finish.

    I am 186 cm (6' 2") and 87 kg (192 pounds), 44 yo male.

    What do you guys think is the problem... am I over exercising or under-eating, or both? What would be the best way to recover and continue?

    I really look forward to hearing some good comments, and getting to be a part of the awesome community here.

    Thanks in advance,
    Markus

  • #2
    Six days a week is probably too much. I only work out two or three days a week and am making good progress, and very little pain.
    Crohn's, doing SCD

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    • #3
      Ditch Insanity. Heavy Lifting a couple of times per week, some bodyweight callisthenics and occasional sprinting sessions will be much more effective.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Primalwombat View Post
        Hi all,

        I have been calorie counting for around 2.5 months, and have had success with limiting my calorie intake to around 1500-1700 calories/day net (that is, after taking into account exercise calories). I have managed to lose 10kg (22 pounds), and feel and look a lot more compact than I used to.

        I have never had a problem with eating less carbs, and I actually had to TRY to up my carb intake, so I am really looking forward to getting to the primal swing of things. On average I get around 47% of calories from carbs, 31% from fat and 22% from protein. (YES, I actually enjoy recording what I eat :-P). Depressingly close to the "recommended" macro nutrient intake.
        Are you saying you currently eat a ratio like this: 47% of calories from carbs, 31% from fat and 22% from protein? Or is that what you used to do?
        I would ditch the calorie counting (and insanity) and aim for a much higher fat and protein content in your diet and focus on doing what Coach Palfrey said (at least initially). If your diet is indeed 50% carbs you may feel sluggish for a little bit as your body adjusts to the change in food. (Disclaimer: I'm a huge fan of low carb for weight loss or general life when I'm not working out hard).

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        • #5
          Yes you are absolutely over training! You simply can't do that type of thing repeatedly without breaking down. six days a week of that is indeed insanity. As Coach and Wander said, weight training is key. One or two intense sessions a week, sprint intervals once every 7-10 days is more than enough to be in great shape. The hardest thing for so many to get their head around is that it NOT about doing more and more. Its about doing the right amount, no more and no less. The fact is that it isn't nearly as much as we've all been led to believe. Its hard work yes, but its brief. Another misconception is that the more "fit" one becomes, the healthier they become. This is simply not true!! Yes if one is sedentary and out of shape then getting more fit WILL improve their health but only to a certain point and this is crucial! Getting more "fit" by forcing yourself to workout more and more, harder and harder will NOT improve your health one bit after that definite point and in fact will start to adversely affect it. You are there now.

          Take at least a week off from the insanity, literally! Get your diet straight! More fat, more protein, less carbs. When you feel not only better but chomping at the bit to do something, then start a sensible training program. What you are doing is NOT sustainable.

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          • #6
            Agree with all replies.

            I suggest we stop using the term "overtraining" and start saying "under-recovering." I know thinking about it this way helps me feel like I need to stay committed to recovery for fear of shortchanging myself (rather than feel like I need to workout every day for fear of shortchanging myself).
            The Champagne of Beards

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
              Agree with all replies.

              I suggest we stop using the term "overtraining" and start saying "under-recovering." I know thinking about it this way helps me feel like I need to stay committed to recovery for fear of shortchanging myself (rather than feel like I need to workout every day for fear of shortchanging myself).
              Here, Here.

              Recovery is when fat is shed and muscle is built. When you work out 6 days a week the body is getting ready to recover and then you do an intense workout and it stops. Once it gets ready again to recover you are doing another intense workout. If it is something you can do for 30 minutes then it is by far not intense enough. One HIIT workout no more then 15 minutes once a week that leaves you begging for mercy is what your body needs.
              Check out my primal blog: http://primalroar.posterous.com/

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              • #8
                Many, MANY people train 6 days a week or daily, but they vary what they do so that they're able to recover. Up/down splits, having mobility or flexibility days, etc. Just that you train more then 3-4 days a week doesn't mean you're over training. If you're doing the same shit everyday, that's another story. I find that I workout just about daily, and I train (ie: work towards a specific purpose) at least 3-4 days a week nowadays....

                I used to only "work out" 2-3 days a week max, but the thought that I wasn't really doing enough started creeping up. Mind you, I was lifting heavy twice and sprinting once a week (but I was way more consistent with the lifting than with the sprinting) and I felt sore and all that good stuff, but I wasn't using my 'off' days wisely and now that I am I feel like I recover faster. Nothing else has changed, I don't even really supplement but those mobility/flexibility/skill practice days have made the difference.
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                • #9
                  definitely under-recovering. if you absolutely "must" do insanity, then you need to eat more. that being said, programs like insanity, p90x, rushfit, should only be done for the prescribed period of time. for insanity, i think that's 60 days. periodization is key. you can go all out for those 60 days, but after that, it's time to shift in to a bit of a recovery mode. this is true for all types of heavy exercise. you can't stay in the gym and pull or press singles year round. sometimes it has to be triples. sometimes you're working in the 6-8 range. sometimes its bodyweight. maybe it's time to move on to something else

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                    Many, MANY people train 6 days a week or daily, but they vary what they do so that they're able to recover. Up/down splits, having mobility or flexibility days, etc. Just that you train more then 3-4 days a week doesn't mean you're over training. If you're doing the same shit everyday, that's another story. I find that I workout just about daily, and I train (ie: work towards a specific purpose) at least 3-4 days a week nowadays....

                    I used to only "work out" 2-3 days a week max, but the thought that I wasn't really doing enough started creeping up. Mind you, I was lifting heavy twice and sprinting once a week (but I was way more consistent with the lifting than with the sprinting) and I felt sore and all that good stuff, but I wasn't using my 'off' days wisely and now that I am I feel like I recover faster. Nothing else has changed, I don't even really supplement but those mobility/flexibility/skill practice days have made the difference.
                    I think we are misusing the term training and not using the word conditioning. Yeah lots of people train six days a week but most condition only a few days a week. Lifting more then 2-3 times a week and doing HIIT more then once a week is counter productive. Now if you want to fill those other days with batting practice, footwork drills, sparring, or any other of a number of skill based training then go for it.

                    Doing insanity 6 days a week is nothing but counterproductive for every average person that I know. It lives in that nowhere land of not intense enough for good muscle development and too intense for good fat burning. It is good for breaking you down and leaving you near dead.
                    Check out my primal blog: http://primalroar.posterous.com/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MightyAl View Post
                      I think we are misusing the term training and not using the word conditioning. Yeah lots of people train six days a week but most condition only a few days a week. Lifting more then 2-3 times a week and doing HIIT more then once a week is counter productive. Now if you want to fill those other days with batting practice, footwork drills, sparring, or any other of a number of skill based training then go for it.

                      Doing insanity 6 days a week is nothing but counterproductive for every average person that I know. It lives in that nowhere land of not intense enough for good muscle development and too intense for good fat burning. It is good for breaking you down and leaving you near dead.
                      We are in agreement, though some of the "on the side" stuff you mentioned, specifically the sparring is basically HIIT unless you're taking it really easy.

                      Insanity/p90x etc are so popular becuase people think you should either be a FREAK and workout everyday or be a couch potato. The US of A is not at all about moderation. I have fat friends doing p90x, shit, better than doing nothing, but they don't wanna hear it when I say they could tone it down and do BETTER. They don't trust themselves to have "off" days because they equate that with eating everything in sight.

                      Eh well, people suck anyway. Most should die. My outlook on most humans is bleak
                      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                      • #12
                        That's too much on a major and continuous caloric deficit.

                        I'd take at least a week off, bump up your fat and protein for that week, seriously do NO exercise, and see how you feel. Maybe two weeks. It's a marathon, not a sprint (terrible analogy for us isn't it!)
                        If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tfarny View Post
                          That's too much on a major and continuous caloric deficit.

                          I'd take at least a week off, bump up your fat and protein for that week, seriously do NO exercise, and see how you feel. Maybe two weeks. It's a marathon, not a sprint (terrible analogy for us isn't it!)
                          Yes it is!! But its a good one nonetheless. The initial inclination is to literally try and force fitness and health. In a short time we start breaking down. A system or program that works over the long haul and leaves one feeling strong and energetic, plus doesn't cause degeneration over time is what we all should be aiming for.

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                          • #14
                            I think its more like over reaching than over training. A good two weeks off all exercise should sort you out. Over training would be more like continuing to do what you're doing now for a few months. usually paired with some mental and emotional symptoms such as depression, sort temper etc.
                            Think of like this, Work out to turn on the right switches then give yourself enough time not only to recover but to super compensate and get stronger. Working out with something like insanity twice a week is plenty. Get your sleep in check, and eat good primal foods and you should bounce back pretty fast.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Primalwombat View Post
                              What do you guys think is the problem... am I over exercising or under-eating, or both? What would be the best way to recover and continue?
                              Hey, Markus:

                              I'm 41 and newly back to being Primal (last week, after months of a backslide into a SAD), and I'm doing Insanity right now (today was Day 12) -- first time I'm attempting it in more than a year, and previously I've never made it past Day 11. But I'm keeping certain things in mind as I do it:

                              1. While I push myself, I never push hard enough to hurt myself. I know what my limits are. I hear about people who push so hard that they almost vomit. I think that's nuts. If my heartbeat is too fast, I slow down the intensity or even stop until it's a slower rate.

                              2. I don't attempt to pace myself with the instructor or others in the video; I go at my own pace (as the instructor and text call outs in the video constantly say), and I stop and rest when I need to, not just when it's time for the 30-second water breaks. I'm in good shape, but at 41 I'm simply not going to match a fitness professional in his or her 20s. And that's okay!

                              3. I drink a ton of water.

                              4. I eat breakfast about an hour after my workout -- and it's a big breakfast (scrambled eggs with diced onions, peppers and mushrooms, with either bacon or chicken sausage, and black coffee). If I'm still hungry after that, I top it off with an apple.

                              5. I include a sweet potato and a banana on some of the especially tough workout days. At first, I was avoiding starches, but that just didn't feel right. The sweet potato really helps. And there's nothing better to have with homemade meatloaf than a baked sweet potato!

                              All in all, I'm stoked about everything. Doing Insanity is to help me get trained -- specifically, for speed and endurance -- for a big martial arts tournament in July, which will take place the last day of my Insanity circuit. After that, I'm planning on switching to weightlifting and walking/jogging (not running, except for the occasional sprint). I probably wouldn't go back to Insanity until November or so, to start getting ready for another tournament.
                              F, 44 years old, 111.8 lbs, 4 feet 11.5 inches (yes, that half inch matters!)

                              **1st place sparring, AAU TKD regional qualifier, 2/15/15 - It's damn good to hit like a girl!**

                              **First-ever 5K race 11/28/13: 37 minutes, 18+ seconds, no stopping**

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