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Overtraining…More Doesn’t Mean Better!

Overtraining…More Doesn’t Mean Better!

Sleepy Female Lion, South Africa by JenvanW

So lately I’ve had some folks email me and come to me to tell me that they have had trouble sleeping at night and have been burned out on even thinking about training themselves as of late. I took the time to examine where they were coming from and tried to dive a little deeper into the reasons as to why they would be experiencing these not so normal physical symptoms. Well make sure to get your favorite Bond movie ready because it may be the actual solution to your training woes here in the short term my friend.


Ah yes, these guys and girls could be infected by the condition known as overtraining. As a matter of fact some of the people that approached me about this were actually some of my own students who happen to go out and do a great deal of training on their own time when we are not on the clock together. They definitely don’t suffer from a lack of commitment, but as a strength coach I do find myself having to reign in some of these guys and girls from time to time.

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So let’s tackle the obvious. What is overtraining? If you were thinking that this condition’s meaning sounds like what it says it is then you would have successfully answered the $72,000 question! However, even if understanding it means that you have overly exerted your physical body to the point that on a daily and weekly basis your physical exertion is outpacing your physical recovery it’s still a little different when it is affecting YOU specifically.

You see overtraining is not always a result of poor programming even though many strength coaches would have you believe that to be the case. Now before you go blowing up my email inbox on that last statement let me explain myself. What I mean is that from time to  time overtraining can occur at when a trainee is either ignorant to slowly adapting themselves into a program, or the trainee might be facing more than normal emotional and life stress which may cause an additional burden on getting enough sleep and downtime compared to the norm.

In simple terms what I’m saying is that there are other variables that can pile on to the overtraining burden. You might say well coach what about the first example of a trainee being ignorant to slowly adapting themselves into a program? That is a very good point and I would answer that by simply saying that not every trainee listens to their coach the first time the coach tells them something that they either should or should not be doing. How many of us strength coaches and trainers have told a student to do something a certain way or told them not to do something at all and then they go and do it anyway? I know it’s happened to me and if any coach or trainer denies this they are lying through their ass.

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All I’m saying is that things do happen even when we take measures to avoid them. Plain and simple, it’s human nature. Now having said this what are some symptoms of overtraining? Never fear my young Jedi because I’ve got a list for you right here:

Symptoms Of Overtraining: 

Persistent Muscle Soreness



Elevated Heart Rate



Increased Incidence Of Injuries

Lack Of Motivation

Decrease In Performance

Absence Of Menstruation

Depressed Immune System

Here’s How You Treat Overtraining: 

Take Some Time Off From Training

Reduce The Volume And Intensity Of Your Week’s Training

Follow A Smart Periodization Plan 

Split Up The Emphasis On Which Muscle Areas Are Worked

Make Sure To Engage In Active Manual Therapy Or Myofascial Release 

Get A Sports/Deep Tissue Massage

Get Plenty Of Sleep

You see MORE isn’t always better! It’s about training smart and even sometimes not training at all. You’ve got to learn to listen to your body. That is a simple piece of advice, but it is so true. If you are tired, lethargic, and dreading walking into the weight room then don’t. I mean “don’t” while knowing that you have been training on a regular basis and with the feeling that your regular schedule might have gotten you to a point of being overworked. If you just dial it back and take off a couple days and get plenty of rest you’ll come back dialed in and feeling a 110% better.

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Oh yeah, I almost forgot the other treatment for helping you to overcome your overtraining predicament. Earlier I said to pull out your favorite Bond film. Well, if you haven’t seen SKYFALL then here’s a little taste of some quality recovery time for you just in case you’re interested.

If you see this you’ll be ready to jump back into the weight room and throw around some serious iron! If you are interested in getting some more tips on training, programming, and killer cool strength training strategy then you need to make sure to get you a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here today:

Don’t forget that if you are also a fan of the Kindle readers and apps then you can get your very own copy of the ebook right here off of Amazon as well! Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.



I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. This happened to me about a month ago. Turns out the time off was needed more for a mental recharge than physical recovery in my case. All good now!

    1. Dan in our world it’s almost always more mental than physical strain. We are the Hulk smash crew! Ha, don’t be a stranger here on the blog bro! Thanks for the feedback my friend. By the way ladies and gents Dan here is one of my Tough Mudder killer competitors!

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