My friend and natural physique competitor Ian Graham asked a great question on facebook the other day.
Ian’s question -
If training less frequently and for shorter periods of time is generally referred to as the MINIMAL DOSAGE EFFECT, is over-training or training for longer durations of time and more frequently considered over-dosing?
Personally I don’t think so. If training is the MEDICATION, then we need to look at the condition being treated and select the correct strength dosage (intensity range), the frequency the medication (training) is being used and choose the appropriate dosage amount (volume).
This will come down to looking at each person individually, as well as their current condition, their “MEDICATION” history, their goals, lifestyle, etc and then we can go from there and properly advise how to administer the MEDICATION!
Thoughts??? I have a lot of knowledgable trainers on here, so I expect some solid contributions on this one!
My Response -
I think that there is a difference between over-training and training for longer durations. Over-training manifests its self with signs and symptoms that are negative to the development of the body. Where as longer duration training is just a different type of stimulus. It also depends upon how much volume you do in that extended period.
For instance the Bulgarian Olympic lifting team used to train for 6-7 hours in one go, however that is only because they considered a rest of 30 minutes or less as being the same session. Plus they were doing 1-3 reps, 7 sets in 30-45 mins so their rest between sets was quite large.
If you look at the training that a Tour de France athlete has to do, it might be considered over-training for some but necessary to adapt the body to that level of stress for others.
I definitely think that in people who haven’t steadily increased their training volume over years i.e. people who overreach and go from low to high volume with out a transitionary process, are at risk of over-training.
But as you say it really depends on the individual, their current training history/level, their previous levels and what state their hormonal profiles are in, whether they are getting enough correct sleep and nutrition to recover from said sessions.
My personal belief is that unless you are a pro athlete who can be monitored by top level medics/coaches or an individual training for a specific endurance event then you probably have no right trying to do it to your self….at what point does the law of diminishing returns kick in?