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The Bodybuilder's Greatest Pitfall: Overtraining, Overtonis

Posted by: Ron

One of Vince Gironda's observations about the state of bodybuilders and how overtraining is the number one obstacle holding them back from real progress

Avoid overtraining, it causes overtonis

Vince was always vocal about overtraining and how most bodybuilders were guilty of it.

The Problem of overtraining

He described overtonis as producing a certain look.  He wrote:

"Overtonis is a condition caused by too many sets, too many different exercise combinations - in short - overwork, which causes muscle tissue loss, hormone depletion, weakness and a smoothed-out appearance, inability to produce a pumping effect and general lassitude or weakness.

Overtonis produces a stringy appearance with no healthy round look apparent in a properly worked muscle."

Today, what Vince described so many years ago, would be called overtraining and likely adrenal fatigue.  He also mentioned that it's caused by male hormone loss.

Studies show that testosterone production starts declining after an average of 45 minutes of training.  Going beyond that threshold would be considered overtraining.

The Solution

One way to figure out what your personal tolerance level is to take yourself beyond your threshold then scale back.  Vince used the pump to determine what's too much.  He suggested to keep working a muscle until you achieve maximum pump.  Then go beyond it until you experience a pump loss.  From then on, take it back a notch in subsequent workouts to spare yourself from depleting your hormone levels.  Vince called this your personal exercise requirement level.

The other things you can do are:

  • Keep your workout within 45 minutes or even shorter

  • Keep your rest periods as short as you can handle

  • Put in as much work in the shortest amount of time possible

  • Train no more than two days in a row, then take a day's rest

  • Take plenty of rest after training (go to sleep by 10:30pm)

  • Eat nutritionally dense foods (work on improving your digestion at the same time)

Have you noticed any of the above signs of "overtonis"/"overtraining"?  Is there anything else you'd add to Vince's list?

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