Over Training is Over Reaching

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Over Train – Over Reach

If you are a beginner you probably haven’t heard this term “overtrain” but if you’re in this game for quite a long time you will see trainers “gurus” throwing the term overtraining at you a lot of times.

There are fitness magazine’s special column added about overtrain is bullshit and or some trainers promoting it saying they purposely overtrain. Let me show you why these gurus are full of sh*t.

Let’s get started

What is overtraining?

Well there’s no precise or fixed definition for this.

The following definition of overtraining comes from Lyle McDonald, an authority on sports nutrition and fat loss, and author of several books.

“Overtraining occurs when there is a long-term imbalance between the training load and recovery processes that, for a given athlete, leads to a decrement in performance from which it takes more than 2-3 weeks to return to normal.”

Overtrainingcan also be described as a point where a person may have a decrease in performance & excess training load exceeds their recovery capacity.

In general when any given athlete’s performance starts to go down they are given 1-3 weeks of rest depending on the situation). They come back stronger and with better performance. If this is the case then it’s not over training.

This is more like overreach “we will get to it in a moment”. Overtrain generally takes a lot more time to recover.

So what’s the basic difference here again?

Over Reach- Pushing yourself harder and you reach a stage where your performance slows down. Yet performance rebounds back very quickly, usually above and beyond its previous level, with a short period of rest or lowered volume (within days). It can be good or bad depending on how you use it.

Over Training- occurs after many weeks if not months of constantly Overreaching.

So now it’s clear the difference between “Overtraining” and “Overreaching” now the question become is it easy to Overtrain or Overreach?

Training hard and progressively, which is essential to making gains, will, at some point, lead to a point of over-reaching where training will need to be reduced or a break will need to be taken. What typically happens is that, after a de-load or break from training, you’ll return to your previous performance in the gym within a week or two and often times exceed your prior performance

Most people in most gyms aren’t working as hard as they think they are in the first place. Due to weekend or some mishap that keeps them away from gym or light work etc is all going to make them recover.

Some trainers when they claim overtraining doesn’t exits this is the main reason. Majority of you people won’t ever see it happening.

Life gets in the way. Stress and job and other worldly activities that keep you away from gym and so you are recovering.

Note- if you have a bad workout, let’s say usually you bench-press 100kgs for 5 reps but this day you only could bench press 70kg for 3 reps this DOES NOT mean you are over train and so you take weeks off on bed relaxing.

Another possible reasons also can be accumulated fatigue

Overtraining doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot a lot hard effort and for a period of many weeks if not months.

Everyone faces good day and bad days. (Read about here).

Progress isn’t linear. (For beginners it is but as you progress on its not linear)

You need to look at long-term trends and not a single day or workout

If you think your feeling weak and or your performance goes a bit off the chart, give yourself some rest and see. If your performance bounces back then you were probably not overtrained just reached an exhausted point or overreaching period.

Now back to the topic of Overtraining. IF you look at the definition it talks about Training load and recovery. An imbalance in between these causes trainees to overreach or overtrain themselves. So lets discuss this a bit.

Training load

Training load refers to many factors that are involve such as the frequency of training (how many days per week or times per day), how much volume (reps, weight) intensity. There are some other variables but these are basic and most important ones.

To reduce chances of overtrain we can adjust all these variables based on the situation to SOME extent.


Your training shouldn’t be too much for your body to handle. To improve our recovery we can do a lot of things.

  • Improve our quality of sleep.
  • Get better nutrition & supplementations
  • Recovery methods (ice bath, foam rolling etc)

You also have to understand every individual is different and unique on its own.

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Training background

All of these factors play a huge role in individual’s recovery process. Also you’re not just limited to training and sleeping. (Am talking about average Joe here). You have a job, family, kids, school/college, and a lot of stress. Maybe your girlfriend broke up or you failed your exams. You haven’t slept well due to some sort of family problem or anything can be the reason and all these can be limiting factors for your recovery.

(Read about stress here)

Simple terms – Recovery should be > than load or at least equal but not less or else it causes problems.

True over-training can only occur when someone is in a situation where they can maintain a long-term (months or more) imbalance between training stress and recovery.How long is up to debate and probably varies quite a bit.

Beside the major fallback of performance going down some of the other signs you will see can be as follows:

Signs of over-training

  • Performance goes down (Obvious)
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Chronic muscle soreness
  • Lack of motivation to train.
  • Frequent illness
  • Depression.
  • Sleep disruptions.

Note-These are some of the basic signs. There are many more but these are general seen ones.

Ok so now the question is how do I prevent overtraining?

Preventing Overtraining

Generally speaking the biggest thing you can do to prevent overtraining is set your training according to your body capacity. Make adjustment daily and see if you’re recovering properly or no.

Limit High intensity workouts and or excessive cardio or such training.

Schedule your workouts properly evenly spaced especially heavy sessions. This means try not to train with heavy intensity 2 consecutive days.

(Read Active vs. Passive Recovery)

(Read Auto regulation)

Well I know some of you still think you can reach Over Training Point so what to do to recover from overtrain?


Wait for your body to recover 100%. It can take many weeks-months depending on how severe it is. After you have recovered properly DON’T let your ego kick in and try to perform maxout on what you USED to do few weeks-months ago.

(Read Training after a break)

In short for those of you who don’t want to read that article. You have to ease back and progress again. Build your lost strength back up slowly.

Final Words

over-reaching is the step before overtraining....lets say an individual is in a normal state, well recovered etc....so he then does a week of work WAY over what he normally does....for instance, lets say he started a Sheiko high volume program....I promise that at the end of that week he WILL be over reaching....but he wont be overtrained yet

overtraining is more of a chronic long term thing....if you over reach for too long you will end up overtrained

I think most of us use the term "overtrained" when we mean "overeached"...

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