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Working Out Too Hard? - Want to be Fit? Haste Makes Waste

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Don't let ambition ruin your training

Can you train too hard? Yes! Beginners especially may be doing too much weight training and too much aerobic exercise. So many bodybuilders desperately want to get bigger, but for many, the gains don't come, or they come at a snail's pace.

My experience (vast as the ocean that it is) suggests that many recreational bodybuilders, even those using supplements like Muscle Milk, try to do way too many sets of heavy exercise and work out too many days, without rest. In the quest for muscle, this is self-defeating. It simply leads to overtraining.

One of the biggest misconceptions going is that if you miss a day of training, or two or three in a row, your progress will be lost, or current growth will not proceed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often, when you miss as much as a week of exercise, your lifting will be much stronger when you resume (assuming you have developed the nuances of technique and skill). That ought to tell you all about overtraining!

No one has an exclusive understanding of exactly how muscles grow or which exercise and training protocols are the most ideal for growth. Even if that were understood in concept, no one knows exactly how individual variation or genetics enters into the picture. I do know one thing: Beginning bodybuilders are usually so impatient and so unrealistic about possible changes in size, strength and definition that after a month or two, most throw up their callous hands in despair and stop training altogether.

When you read the muscle magazines and check out the bodybuilding section at the bookstore, much of the information centers around the training and nutritional routines of the champions. Of course, readers like to learn about the greats in the iron game. This is essentially motivating for beginners who wish to emulate the size and strength of these bodybuilders.


But as much as you want to look like a favorite champ, you don't want to train like him or her. At least, you as a beginner should not be following the champ's current routine.

Too often, beginners don't realize that the champions' current routines are far different than the training approaches they followed 10-20 years ago when they were beginners themselves. Keep in mind that the hardcore training articles aren't 100% applicable to a beginner's needs. Sometimes the featured champ will give suggested routines for beginners and intermediates. Sometimes you have to scale down the champ's workouts to fit yourself.

Ask yourself, could a beginning sprinter/long jumper profit from following Carl Lewis' current training routine? I strongly doubt it. Even the current nutritional program of a Jay Cutler or Ronnie Coleman mostly applies to competitive bodybuilders.

So go ahead and read how your favorite champs train. But don't try to match their training. If you have been trying to keep up, I bet you're disappointed with your bodybuilding progress. As I said, this is where overtraining rears its ugly head.

Recent research data suggest that many bodybuilders are overtrained and in catabolic negative nitrogen balance. As logical as it may sound, this condition is not remedied by the simple solution of eating more protein and calories or taking bodybuilding supplements, since catabolism has a lot to do with adrenal hormones occupying potential receptor sites, which is not affected by the amount of protein you consume!


Many bodybuilders are overtrained because they are attempting to do routines of the champions.

What can be done about overtraining, the situation where you feel you are currently not making the size and strength changes you feel appropriate?

First, reevaluate your expectations. Don't be tempted by steroids no matter how disappointed you might be with your progress. You don't want to risk your health and temperament on growth-enhancing drugs. Additionally, you'll have the knowledge that your muscles and strength are real and that you will always have muscles and continue to develop, assuming that you work out, whereas the steroid-user is doomed to hopeless catabolic atrophy the very moment he starts an off-cycle! No matter what the steroid-user does, he is doomed to (eventually) lose all his muscle once he stops steroid use.

So, eat right, rest and sleep well. Learn to be patient with your growth and don't compare yourself to others. Progress will come. For me, progress came steady and slow and so did size.


For many of you, it is still probably most advantageous to work out every other day That's right. Bodybuilders, try training your chest, back and abdominals on Monday; thighs, hamstrings and calves on Wednesday and shoulders, triceps and abdominals on Friday. Take a full two days rest and repeat, starting on Monday!

Serious beginners, do 2-3 exercises for each bodypart. Do not exceed nine exercises on any one day. Try doing four sets of each exercise, with your first set as a warm-up for 10-15 reps. Then do two sets of 6-8 reps and finish with one set of 8-15 reps. Always use full motion emphasizing steady, concentrated muscle contractions, both the positive and negative elements. Do not do forced reps yet. Do not do extended sets yet. Use as much weight as you can, but always with good form. Try to increase your weights in small increments, but if you can't, try to squeeze an extra rep here and there.

Most important, don't overtrain. Use basic exercises to build the basic body. Be patient. It will happen!

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Bodybuilding Supplement Secrets

This information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). This stack product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.