Tabata is a fat burning workout system where you are given a designated movement which you perform for 8 cycles at 20 seconds of work / 10 seconds of recovery with a 1 minute rest in between. That’s 4 minutes at each movement.
1 minute rest
- KB Single Arm Overhead Squat (alternate arms between rounds)
1 minute rest
- Mountain Climbers
1 minute rest
- Speed Push-ups (as fast as possible)
1 minute rest
- Jumping Deadlifts
Over-Training and the Everyday Athlete
I’ve been hearing and seeing some of you talk about trail running and regular running and how some of you visit other global gyms on your NLP off days. Those same members are now complaining of aches and pains of the joints.
Overtraining doesn’t plague only elite athletes or those clocking mega-miles. Because it is often a problem not of too much training, but of too little rest, all lifters and runners are vulnerable, says Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph. D , an assistant professor of athletic coaching education at West Virginia University. “People think, How can I overtrain on 20 miles per week?” she says. “But you can if you don’t give yourself the rest you need. You don’t get stronger because you did an awesome workout, you get stronger because you ate right, slept, and recovered afterward.”
If your body doesn’t have the opportunity to repair itself, your hard work can eventually backfire, causing your lifting or running and your quality of life to suffer. Overtraining causes performances to drop and injuries to rise, as well as sleep disturbances, frequent and never-ending colds, headaches, decreased libido, even depression. Luckily, the solution can be as simple as asking yourself, if you need an attitude adjustment.
What follows is my basic list of signs that indicate you may be overtraining. Some are objective measures, while others derive from my own personal experiences with overtraining. There are overlaps, and I’ve probably missed more than a few, but I’m confident what’s listed will be invaluable to anyone who trains, and trains hard.
1. You repeatedly fail to complete your normal workout.
I’m not talking about normal failure. Some people train to failure as a rule, and that’s fine. I’m talking failure to lift the weights you usually lift, run the hill sprints you usually run, and complete the hike you normally complete. Regression. If you’re actively getting weaker, slower, and your stamina is deteriorating despite regular exercise, you’re probably training too much. Note, though, that this isn’t the same as deloading. Pushing yourself to higher weights and failing at those is a normal part of progression, but if you’re unable to lift weights that you formerly handled with relative ease, you may be overtrained.
2. You’re losing leanness despite increased exercise.
If losing fat was as easy as burning calories by increasing work output, overtraining would never result in fat gain – but that isn’t the case. It’s about the hormones. Sometimes, working out too much can actually cause muscle wasting and fat deposition. You’re “burning calories,” probably more than ever before, but it’s predominantly glucose/glycogen and precious muscle tissue. Net effect: you’re getting less lean. The hormonal balance has been tipped. You’ve been overtraining, and the all-important testosterone: cortisol ratio is lopsided. Generally speaking, a positive T:C ratio means more muscle and less fat, while a negative ratio means you’re either training too much, sleeping too little, or some combination of the two. Either way, too much cortisol will increase insulin resistance and fat deposition, especially around the midsection. Have you been working out like a madman only to see your definition decrease? You’re probably overtraining.
3. You’re lifting/running/HIITing hard every single day.
The odd genetic freak could conceivably lift heavy, sprint fast, and engage in metabolic conditioning nearly every day of the week and adequately recover, without suffering ill effects. Chances are, however, you are not a genetic freak. Most people who maintain such a hectic physical schedule will not recover (especially if they have a family and/or a job). Performance will suffer, health will deteriorate, and everything they’ve worked to achieve will be compromised. Many professional athletes can practice for hours a day every day and see incredible results (especially if they are using performance enhancing substances), but you’re not a professional, are you?
4. You’re primarily an anaerobic/power/explosive/strength athlete, and you feel restless, excitable, and unable to sleep in your down time.
When a sprinter or a power athlete overtrains, the sympathetic nervous system dominates. Symptoms include hyper-excitability restlessness, and an inability to focus, even while at rest or on your off day. Sleep is generally disturbed in sympathetic-dominant overtrained athletes, recovery slows, and the resting heart rate remains elevated. Simply put, the body is reacting to a chronically stressful situation by heightening the sympathetic stress system’s activity levels. Most NLPers who overtrain will see their sympathetic nervous system afflicted, simply because they lean toward the high-intensity, power, strength side every single day without recovering.
5. You’re primarily an endurance athlete, and you feel overly fatigued, sluggish, and useless.
Too much resistance training can cause sympathetic overtraining; too much endurance work can cause parasympathetic overtraining, which is characterized by decreased testosterone levels, increased cortisol levels, debilitating fatigue (both mental and physical), and a failure to lose body fat. While I tend to advise against any appreciable amount of endurance training, chronic fatigue remains an issue worthy of repeating. Being fit enough to run ten miles doesn’t mean that you now have to do it every day.
6. Your joints, bones, or limbs hurt.
I’m unaware of any clinical tests that can identify overuse injuries specifically caused by overtraining, but don’t you think that pain in your knee might be an indication that you should reassess how you exercise that knee? In the lifts, limb pain can either be DOMS (delayed onset of muscular soreness) or it can indicate poor technique or improper form; DOMS is a natural response that should go away in a day or two, while poor form is more serious and can be linked to overuse or overtraining. With regard to endurance training, if you creak, you wince at every step, and you dread staircases, it may be that you’ve run too far or too hard for too long. The danger here is that your daily endorphin high has over-ridden your natural pain receptors. You should probably listen to them more acutely. I tuned them out for longer than I should have and it cost me my career as a marathoner (so I got that going for me, which is nice).
7. You’re suddenly falling ill a lot more often.
Many things can compromise your immune system. Dietary changes (especially increased sugar intake), lack of Vitamin D/sunlight, poor sleep habits, mental stress are all usual suspects, but what if those are all locked in and stable? What if you’re eating right, getting plenty of sun, and enjoying a regular eight hours of solid sleep each night, but you find yourself getting sick? Nothing too serious, mind you. A nagging cough here, a little sniffle or two there, some congestion and a headache, perhaps. These were fairly normal before you went Primal, but they’ve returned. Your immune system may be suffering from the added stress of your overtraining. It’s an easy trap to fall into, simply because it’s often the natural progression for many accomplished athletes or trainees looking to increase their work or improve their performance: work harder, work longer. If you’ve recently increased your exercise output, keep track of those early morning sore throats and sneezes. Any increases may indicate a poor immune system brought on by overtraining.
8. You feel like crap the hours and days after a big workout.
Once you get into the swing of things, one of the great benefits of exercise is the post-workout feeling of wellness. You’ve got the big, immediate, heady rush of endorphin’s during and right after a session, followed by that luxurious, warm glow that infuses your mind and body for hours (and even days). It’s the best feeling, isn’t it? We all love it. What if that glow never comes, though? What if instead of feeling energetic and enriched after a workout, you feel sketchy and uncomfortable? As I said before, post-workout DOMS is completely normal, but feeling like death (mentally and physically) is not. Exercise generally elevates mood; if it’s having a negative effect on your mood, it’s probably too much.
Every so often we need to step back, rest and re-evaluate our training schedule. A lot of you are trail runners or members that just want to run on off days. Some of you don’t warm-up properly before such activities. Rest should be included in your training regimen. We are only human and to think the more you do the better and stronger I will become is not all too smart when recovering is not in the NLP’er equation. Getting enough shut-eye (ideally eight to nine hours during heavy training periods) or finding the time to prepare a healthy post training meals are important parts of a training plan. “You should have the same commitment toward your recovery as you do toward your workouts. Obviously, family and work obligations can’t be pushed aside. So to give your recovery the time it deserves.