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Thread: I think I'm overtrained on cardio...are weights still ok? page

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    cobrien80's Avatar
    cobrien80 is offline Junior Member
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    I think I'm overtrained on cardio...are weights still ok?

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    I don't know why I need verification of this because as I compose the post in my head it's like, "well, duh" but for some reason I feel like I DO need to hear it to believe it (unless I'm wrong, in which case please tell me .

    I think I have actually honest-to-goodness overtraining syndrome. Not the healthy, short-duration aches and pains of a good lifting session or nice run, but chronic, wake-me-up-at-night, lasts all day (some days, not all) muscle aches. They localize for long periods of time (i.e. shins for awhile, then feet, sometimes all over). At first I thought it was being sedentary for the last 3 1/2 years (office job, done in June, never again will I be trapped at a desk) but now I think it's likely chronic cardio.

    Since January of 2006 (when I first began to pay attention to my health) I have done some form of cardio (elliptical, bike, running, stairmaster) for an hour a day. At one point I was doing it for two hours a day for about six months. When my shins were at their worst I stopped machine cardio and running for about 5 months (was also trying to repair hormone levels) but I still lived on sugar and brown rice and no fat and the pain, if anything, became worse. At this point I've been back to an hour a day (and rarely a day off, never more than two off in a row and I don't remember the last time that happened)

    So here's my question: I want to continue eating primally (with some small slip ups here and there). But the workouts - can I just do some gentle (non-explosive/non sprinting/non plyo) weight training for a couple of weeks, so that I retain/gain muscle. What I mean is, if I'm overtrained on cardio and I cut that out until my body heals/stops aching, is it okay to do the heavy lifting/body weight exercises in Mark's program? Provided I take a rest day or two in between each session? It's the cardio that's the problem, right? Then, after the two weeks or however long it takes for my aches and pains to subside, I'd like to just do long walks without sprints. Does this seem like a sensible healing program?

    Thank you...

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    nachobrawler's Avatar
    nachobrawler is offline Senior Member
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    Stop all the cardio. Right away. That much cardio is unecessary, and as your body is trying to tell you, you are overdoing it BIG TIME. Your body is probably chuck full of Cortisone at this point!

    After you quit it, I think you should rest and "refit" your body by eating Primally. Above all, dont stress about not doing cardio. Take a couple of weeks off to relax and rehabilitate your body and focus on learning & living the Primal lifestyle.It is one of NO STRESS. Especially not over doing cardio six days a week for two hours a day!

    After you get to the point where you are relaxed...then I say you can go for a resistance (weight training) work out regimen. But again, DONT BE REGIMENTED ABOUT HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN YOU ARE DOING IT! There isnt a formula for how much and how often that works for everyone. Everyone is different. Above all, listen to your body. It will tell you how often you should lift. And if you are in doubt whether you should or not...DONT. With weight training, you grow muscle when you aren't stressed, when you eat properly, and when you rest. NOT WHEN YOU LIFT! Lifting breaks muscle down and if you attempt to do a weight training program like the chronic cardio you were doing...you will SURELY have a breakdown with or without an injury. I promise you. Overtraining on a weight training program is one of the most common mistakes made by beginners.

    Anyway, those are my two cents. Whatever advice you end up following...I'd be sure it included getting rid of 6 days per week of cardio for 2 hours per day!!!!
    If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
    James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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    Forever Young's Avatar
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    Overtraining is more than just a localized thing where certain muscles ache etc. It is systemic and can be downright debilitatuing. At one point about 20 years ago I was training very hard about 5-6 days a week and did so for a good year or more. I was in such a state of overtraining that I was falling asleep at the wheel during the day and my job at the time was basically driving all day. Eventually I had to take a complete break from the training and I honestly couldn't touch a weight for several months it was so bad. I was exhausted to the core. You don't ever want to get there. The point of exercise is to stress the body just enough to make it adapt and become stronger and function more effieciently. To a very specific point more is NOT better. In fact any more than what is required is in fact a negative. It's like a bank account. You withdraw funds, you deposit funds. If you constantly withdraw and never deposit, you obviously end up with a deficit and carried to the extreme you go bankrupt. That is in essence what you are doing when you overtrain for a period of time and it becomes chronic. It will destoy you.

    My advice would be to take a couple weeks off from any intense exercise and let your body recover. An easy walk a couple days a week at the most just to get some fresh air and keep the blood flowing. You will not wither away or fall apart, trust me. In fact you should feel a lot better for it and likely come back stronger. When you do come back you must adopt a more sensible approach and one you can do for the rest of your life.

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    cobrien80's Avatar
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    Thank you, Nachobrawler. At this point I'm only an hour a day but it's pretty much every single day. I just think my body is worn out and that's why I ache so often and so diffusely. It's ridiculous when I think about it, considering the fact that I started exercising to feel good and haven't gotten that feeling (except for the 30 minutes-after-a-session-high) but instead am feeling worse and worse. When you say chock full of cortisol...that kind of came together in my head. Yeah, you know, I think my efforts at destressing have had the eventual effect of doing the exact opposite.

    Forever Young - yes, exactly as you say. I do have some localized pain but more so I have diffuse, bodywide aches that don't seem to ever fully leave. I also have no energy during the rest of the day, after my post-exercise high wears off.

    I think also that I'm coming from the mentality of living under incredible stress and eating tons of sugar and carbs, both of which sort of "need" the unhealthy balancing of too much cardio (even though I know the combination is even worse than one alone). Now that the stress is lifted and I feel soooo much calmer and healthier on the primal diet, no blood sugar crazies or carb binges that require excess cardio...I think my mind just has to readjust to not "needing" constant cardio.

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    Forever Young's Avatar
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    Not only do you not "need" it, but it's an extreme detriment to your health and welbeing. I cannot stress enough the importance of letting yourself recover from this. It's no minor thing. Even an hour a day of cardio is ridiculous. There is no point in it. A more sensible approach would be 1 to 2 (I do 1) intense, brief strength training sessions with a few days in between them for complete recovery. Then I'd do 1 high intensity interval session such as sprinting every week or so as well and idealy on one of the in between days for the weight training. That is it. On other days a good walk outdoors or some sort of "play" is not only fine but beneficial.

    Again, I wouldn't do any of the above until you allow time to recover and heal. It could take a couple weeks or even more. In my case it took months!! You might think man I can't take that time off and I understand this. But know that you will pay dearly if you don't. You will continue to withdraw on the account and eventually you will have a complete breakdown. Recover completely then and only then start a new and sensible program. You will get stronger, be in better shape and feel better than you ever have doing what you've been doing.

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    nachobrawler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrien80 View Post
    Thank you, Nachobrawler. At this point I'm only an hour a day but it's pretty much every single day. I just think my body is worn out and that's why I ache so often and so diffusely. It's ridiculous when I think about it, considering the fact that I started exercising to feel good and haven't gotten that feeling (except for the 30 minutes-after-a-session-high) but instead am feeling worse and worse. When you say chock full of cortisol...that kind of came together in my head. Yeah, you know, I think my efforts at destressing have had the eventual effect of doing the exact opposite.

    Forever Young - yes, exactly as you say. I do have some localized pain but more so I have diffuse, bodywide aches that don't seem to ever fully leave. I also have no energy during the rest of the day, after my post-exercise high wears off.

    I think also that I'm coming from the mentality of living under incredible stress and eating tons of sugar and carbs, both of which sort of "need" the unhealthy balancing of too much cardio (even though I know the combination is even worse than one alone). Now that the stress is lifted and I feel soooo much calmer and healthier on the primal diet, no blood sugar crazies or carb binges that require excess cardio...I think my mind just has to readjust to not "needing" constant cardio.
    One other thing...it sounds like you are also going through Carb Flu from having recently dropped grains and sugar. That is normal and everyone goes through it. It will lay you out from exercising. And it should. Your body needs to convert to using ketones (from fat) as an energy source instead of depending on glucose. Its not an instant conversion and your body needs time to do this...(hence, the flu-like symptoms you described). It can take anywhere from 3 days to 1 month to be fully converted to a ketogenic diet. A perfect opportunity for you to quit the cardio and give it a rest for a few weeks....

    And when do you start back up (with your new program)? When you feel energized again. And not a second before! You will know when that is....you should feel like you cant wait to exercise. Not out of some obligation to yourself to remain healthy but because YOU LOVE IT and your body wants it! Did you ever play sports growing up? Remember that feeling you had right before a game? THAT is what you should feel like before EVERY work out. You should feel juiced up and ready to go. And if you dont...then you need to listen to that because something isnt right.....(i.e. physically and/or mentally).

    Good Luck!
    If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
    James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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