Crashed and burnt - overtraining? Please help!
Hi All -
Here's my problem:
The past 2 weeks I went from feeling fantastic (see further information below) to feeling utter crap . Symptoms: mild depression, constantly tired (I yawn all day, go to bed at 10, and still wake up tired). Today I'm not even going to the gym for the first time since I started this program - I feel completely burnt out. Not my muscles (no DOMS or anything), by 'tired' I mean the same feeling when you don't get enough sleep.
Here's the background info: I'm 30yo, 5'9'', 69.4kg.
- Started exercising 4 months ago exactly (before that, was chain smoker, drinker, food binging, etc). I was 83kg when I started.
- At the same time I started exercising, I also stopped smoking, drinking and started eating 'clean'. Never looked back, never had a craving.
- usual meals: AM 3eggs + 120g turkey breast / PM 250g chicken breast and large salad (tomatoes, romaine, avocado, peppers, etc) / evenings: 250g chicken breast with veggies (beans, carrots, peas). Twice a day I also have snacks, usually 1 apple + 1 protein shake. I never feel hungry, not even a bit (I cook all my meals so they are the size where I can barely finish them).
- exercise program: fbw 3x week
Results: I felt great and like a 'new person' until 2 weeks ago. That's also when I started adding cardio to my schedule - 30 minutes rowing 2x a week on the days I'm not doing the FBW.
As you can imagine I'm very distressed by all this - I was doing soooooo good! I've no idea what's going on, the only thing I'm doing different is the cardio I added twice a week - and 30mins I thought I was being mild.
Any idea what could be wrong with me? Any pointers would be much appreciated. In the meantime, I'm taking the next 4 days 'off' the gym.
Have you ever thought that your diet was to blame? It looks to me like you're undereating, not overtraining; you're feeling shattered because your body has no fuel.
You do an FBW 3x a week and cardio 2x a week, you are not over training by any stretch of the imagination
This state of being is usually brought up when you lack sufficient sleep and proper nutrition.
If those two things aren't taken care of properly and you still train, this is likely to occur.
Take a few days off and review your nutrition and get some well deserved rest and come back stronger and with a refreshed approach.
Have your meals changed recently? How is your sleep? How many hours per night?
If you have no DOMs and your muscles are fine, then this, IMO, is coming entirely from your nutrition or from a lack of sleep. (or possibly from a health problem, but I doubt it)
Keep us posted
Last edited by Eric L; Sep. 18/08 at 10:22 AM.
Thank you for your replies - I average 7h of sleep, with a min of 630. The past 2 weeks, I felt more and more tired, so I've done 8h, yesterday was 9h and I woke up tired
I guess I need to review my nutrition - but I've just realized I'm terrified of putting the weight back on. I'm going to try it regardless (I have infinite confidence in this forum and I'll post my results here.
One last thing though - if it is my nutrition, why did it take 4 months to kick off? Did my body eventually ran out of 'extra energy' or is there some sort of weird process at play here?
your carbs look a little low,try some porridge in the AM and instead of apples fopr snaking try bananas,also when you do your FBW do you train to faliure on every set every workout if you do then stop doing it.
the added cardio, but the same nutrition, is possibly why overtraining has kicked in.
i agree to take up to a full week off, continue to eat clean...maybe only do light activity like long walks, yoga, etc. FBW is taxing, and after 4 months you're probably close to your limit without a little vacation.
Buzz here is spot on; you need to add more calories and more carbs in your diet, and you are right, overtraining is near. You need to eat at least 2100 kcal a day, based on your weight and i don't think that you do. Chocolate milk after your cardio would be a good a good idea, it's a fast way to replenish glycogen stores.
Originally Posted by buzz
I agree with Malkore that this is more about overtraining burnout than nutrition. It sounds like you've been hittin' it hard for 4 straight months - you're due for a week or two off with no regrets.
Try increasing your carbs and your overall calories for a couple of days and then go back to the gym and see how it feels. If you are still doing bad then take some time off.
Are you guys crazy? You really think this is overtraining?
2x 30min rowing sessions getting added to 3xFBW's is not going to cause over training; maybe if he did 2 FBW's a day, 7 days a week then that would be possible but not 3 lifting sessions with a couple of short rows added in every week
The issue here is calories & carbs; OP, your diet sucks, you're lacking in carbs which is probably what's causing the drop in energy levels and mood. You also need more calories, you're body will struggle with such a low intake anyway
I encountered the exact same problem when I upped my workout time a few months ago. I think sleep might be part of it, but it's not overtraining. If you ask me, it's definitely nutrition.
It looks like you made a very dire nutritional mistake with your breakfast. Your breakfast is all protein!! You need CARBS CARBS CARBS for breakfast! The biggest difference I found was not so much changing my entire diet, but my breakfast. When I was working out 3 times a week I always had a bowl of oatmeal with a spoonfull of brown sugar for breakfast. Then I added a few more days, doing a few days of weights and a few days of cardio every week. I found myself getting very tired by 9pm (normally a nighthawk), and some days I would have no energy or will to workout.
Since then I've stopped eating breakfast like an Ethiopian and started eating breakfast like a KING. Big bowl of oatmeal with a scoop of brown sugar, tall glass of skim milk, 1 cup of yogurt, handful of walnuts and sometimes a banana or apple. Wow did it ever make a difference. I stepped my breakfast up to a solid 500+ calories and it made all the difference for maintaining energy all day after I started training 5-6 days a week.
Also be sure to get simple carbs and protein in you right after every workout. It should ensure you have the energy to go all day rather than dropping into bed a few hours earlier than you'd like.
Last edited by limestix; Sep. 18/08 at 05:28 PM.
i agree its cals probably,but if he is training balls to the wall every session,and has to many exercises or sets"ie a retarded routine" then he could also be overtrained.
Originally Posted by Typhon
WOW - Thank you everyone for all the good advice - I'm on day 3 of my 4 day break and I feel a bit better already! I'm afraid I have more questions :-D
I'm upping the cals in my nutrition as recommend - I've built a little spreadsheet and it looks like in the last 4 months I've been consistently ingesting around 1800 cals a day (200g protein, 76g carbs and 50g healthy fats).
The question is how much should I raise this by - I'm thinking pushing it to 2200 by adding carbs after workout (fruits), and also more fruits during the day + peanut butter.
The other question is related to the last comment - about my 'retarded routine'. I think you have a point - my FBW is like this:
* all exercises are 3 sets of 12, with the last set where I go above 12 and to failure.
- chest press,
- upper back rows,
- back extensions,
- military presses w/dumbells,
- air squats,
- vertical tractions,
- leg curls,
- triceps rope,
- calf raises and
- reverse biceps curls
... with exactly a minute of rest between sets
It takes 1.15 h to complete exactly.
I thought about reducing it because 1.15h is a long time in the gym, but I like all the exercises in there - I find them fun and I feel I would miss out without doing one of them. Maybe I"m wrong, I'm not sure.
The other thing is the way i do them - to failure on the 3rd set... that way I could easily guess if I should up the weight at the next session (ie, if I did 15 reps on the 3rd set, I would raise the weight next session until I can push it to 12 again and so on).
Of course that means I do everything to failure. Is this a bad thing?
Thank you a billion times for your help - these forums are great!!
Geez!! No wonder you are burnt out and exhausted!
I would recommend cutting your workout down to 4 to 5 compound exercises at the most and change them each workout. I.e.
bent over row
If you want you can add 1-2 isolation exercises at the end.
It doesn't seem like much in comparison but push hard enough and you will be leaving your guts on the gym floor. Always lift as heavy as you can muster.
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