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From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

The Price of Overtraining

I just received the following email, which should be of interest to anyone who believes they may be overtraining. While Iím not a doctor and not qualified to interpret this manís case, taken at face value itís graphic proof that training hard too often is not only counterproductive, but may be dangerous as well.

If nothing else, itís a reminder that rest is very important to the success of any training program. The late George Sheehan, M.D. -- cardiologist, runner and famed fitness philosopher -- probably put it best: "The body can be trained to greater performance by induced stress. But the amount of stress and the time allowed for recovery are critical to the success of the process."

Clarence,

I would like to share a story about myself with you. A few years ago I had blood tests done for various reasons. The doctor's office called and wanted me to go in immediately. When I got to the doctor's office I was put in an examination room without any waiting and the doctor came in right away.  I thought "well this is it. I must have something very bad". The doctor told me I could go into kidney failure at any time because a dangerously high level of CPK had been found in my blood. CPK, he explained, is an enzyme found in the muscles and a high level in the blood indicates a breakdown of muscle tissue. (CPK = creatine phospho-kinase). I explained to the doctor that the day I had my blood drawn was only one day after I had done two consecutive days of weight training, and that I had trained each body part very hard doing 12 sets for large body parts and 9 sets for small body parts and all sets were done to failure. He told me that I would never progress training like this and would probably go backwards. He said that I was breaking my muscles down beyond what my body could repair. I had a level of CPK in my blood that was 40x normal (emphasis added). 

I revised my routine to only 8 exercises with 2 warm-up sets and one work set, and I repeated this routine twice a week. I made more progress in 6 months training like this than I had made in years of on-again-off- again high volume training. What was even better was that this was something I could stick with. It was practical and did not take a lot of time. This falls in line with the routines described in Challenge Yourself. Due to this experience I agree that coaxing muscles to grow and not bombing them into submission and growth is the best way to go for those of us who are not blessed with miraculous recuperative abilities, lots of free time, or who do not use hormone enhancement to recover.

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108 Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com. Fax: (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.

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