Overtrained Severely for 4 months, Cannot recover
Hi guys, used to be a great bicycle fan till this summer when i got overtrained due to a combination of average distance mountain biking (15 miles about) squatting at the gym and playing basketball at the same time :(
Initial symptoms were a feeling of depression, apathy and decrease in sports performance. I was playing bball at that initial face and somedays i would wonder why did i bother play-i suddenly felt no interest in the game.. Imagine what degree of apathy and loss of interest i had reached. Later on, and after those symptoms didnt go by, since i would get less rest each day, thinking that i should go pump up more iron or cycle some miles more, i got into full blown state. One day in the gym i started shaking and feeling rather awkward, like i wanted to puke. I was trying to lift, but couldnt lift half the weights i did previous days. So i went home that night really early to get some rest, but harm was already done. I was feeling very anxious, very very hungry, and anything i eat wouldnt feel me up. Next day and for the rest 6 weeks or so, i was engaged in a serious health problem.
-I couldnt walk properly, or stand for more than 2-3 minutes my legs were dead, felt like 100kg each, and my muscles had some sort of unspecific inflammation feeling. I could tell they were killing me, but couldnt realise which muscle was mostly affected.
-My basal metabolic rate was messed up, i wanted to eat and eat all day long
-I felt overall fatigue, and lethargy, yet i couldnt get proper sleep, waking up feeling more tired than the day before. Actually there was no way to relax even when i was in bed, twisting and turning and trying to find a place for my really really heavy legs to get rested.
-Couldnt concentrate on studying or reading, any amount of information would be too big for me to perceive at that time
-Trying to push myself to walk more than 20-30 meters at once or run a short distance was killing me, my heart rate would increase rapidly to a point where it felt that i would have a cardiac arrest, and my breathing patterns would become totally irregular. I tried to walk and take deeper breaths and that was impossible, it felt like something was tampering with my nervous system. Each such effort of walking had to be accompanied by an increasing need of serious rest, so i couldnt really move around the house and do stuff or go outside for distances.
-When i would lie down on my bed, i would breath 2 times faster and deeper than normally to compensate for the feeling of lost oxygen uptake i had when standing or walking. That was the only time when i would feel better during the day.
-Felt depression and apathy, didnt wanna do anything, neither talk to people, watch sports on tv and generally stayed inside hoping that this thing would go by some time.
Had blood tests that confirmed a drop in testo and free testo levels.
This situation went on and on for like 6 weeks, during which i really got more rest than i had whole yr around. Later on i was sufficiently better but yet it took me another 6 weeks to get back to light basketball practice. Nevertheless i had to drop cycling since i thought that along with squats this was the major cause to my problems. Before overtraining was there, i would always feel sore quads and biceps, so i thought this yr i would concentrate on chest and arm workouts and basketball playing.
Later on a month after i had started playing basketball regurarly or like 4-5 days a week, i returned back to the gym to check my strength. Slowly i started building up and at some point when i thought i was ready i returned to light squats, dead lifts, goodmornings and other heavy leg exercises.
For a period of 3 months i was doing great, i was in greater shape than ever, being 5-11 and dunking easier than any other time in my life, i was so obsessed with my progress that i kept going back to the gym and lifting more and more, squatting and sprinting at extreme intensities. I started engaging into plyos and trying to fit in a program of 2 days of leg work and 2 days of upper body work and leave 2 days for practicing basketball. In february i started working 4 days a week in a restaurant so i had to quit plyometrics and one day of upper body work.
Yet 4 days of really heavy training and 4 days of working, some times doing both at the same days were enough to take me to full blown overtraining state without a warning sign this time.
Since late february that is and for more than 4 months now i suffer from the worst case of overtraining i have seen in my life.
Initially, and for about 2 months symptoms were similar like the ones i had in summer time.
-heavy legs,literally dead, unmovable
-increased basal metabolic rate, seriously increased hunger
-fatigue, yet also irritability and restlessness
-changes in heart rate and breathing abnormalities
and then when i thought i was doing better, since this time i had read and consulted specialists and knew what i should do, i got worse. I tried cold and warm baths, massage, cutting down coffee and other stimulants, increasing protein and carbo intake and getting the most out of the rest i needed, but yet i never got back to the initial state. There was a time when i thought i was getting better, it lasted like one week, i could walk eat and think properly and thus went to help my dad with some work at the fields and instantly got worse from a very mild work day. Since that day, more symptoms came about
-hypoglycemias and nausea
-heavy weakness all over my body, couldnt get out of bed
-extreme irritability, i was annoyed by sounds, like cars driving by, and by vision stimuli, couldnt watch tv for long time and working with my computer was impossible. 20 minutes infront of my computer screen made me feel nauseous and extremely sick and tired, i needed like 3 hours of bed rest to pull myself together
-greater resting heart rate and breathing abnormalities, i was trying with all means to breath properly and relax but oxygen was too little for me.
-lower back pain
those symptoms lasted for another 2 weeks so i was well in my 10th or 11th week of overtraining.
Later on and while the weather outside was getting better i went to try the "active rest" recovery process, told by physicians it should work better than just resting.
Within a few days i could feel some slight difference, my legs wouldnt feel so dead and heavy now, my back was feeling lighter, while i would swim in a relaxing manner, yet by 5th or 6th day i started feeling more confident and started swimming and swinging my arms and legs, really exercising this time, thinking that this would increase my breathing capacities and jump start my body somehow.
Instead what happened was within the next 2 days i started to loose my strength and felt my hands and arms numb and weaker than ever.
That was the last i saw of the sea. At that point i was totally down, completely incoordinated, my legs were heavy and immobile, and my arms were light, weak and numb. I would try to walk and my limbs would not move in the same speed. I couldnt believe how much dysregulation i had brought about to my nervous system. Moreover i started to have retrosternal heartburn each afternoon.
Now im in the 16th or 17th week and still am having most of them problems.
For the last 3 days though, i have been sleeping better, waking up fewer times in the middle of the night, and in the morning i feel like 30% to 40% better. I dont feel sick or depressed, but generally weak. Nevertheless, I can walk around, move inside the house, my lower back is not that stiff when i wake up. I started taking glutamine and l-carnitine, which i took also in the summer just in case any thing goes better. Only thing that bothers me really much is the loss of strength and weakness i feel in my arms and hands, i feel i have no squeezing power and both my upper limbs are very light and feel funny when i try to move them around. I hope i will get by overtraining soon and without any problems left over to deal with.
Pls tell me any of your thoughts or suggestions or similar experiences you may have had.
Theres very few people that i have found to be in such state i am, including some national water polo and some swimming coaches i know, and they told me it could take up to 10 months!!!! to get back in track. They have seen cases like that they said, people not being able to walk up their house stairs and almost collapsing each time they tried to run
I have seen 17 doctors and visited 3 hospitals. Most where not even accustomed to what overtraining was, apart from 2 or 3 university proferssors and former athletes that i talked to.
I had all sorts of blood tests, testo and free testo are still low, just above normal levels but too low for a 28 yr old like me. I also had elevated sgpt levels but not too much to justify any problems, they were probably elevated from supplements according to hepatologists.
Moreover had ct scans, MRI, urine test, ultrasound of all internal organs, heart exams and all sort of physical exams and doctors cant find anything wrong with me.
When i talk to them about sympathetic and parasympathetic system failure they laugh, they say its impossible to be caused from overtraining. They think overtraining is something like getting very tired and then getting rest for like 3-4 days and getting better. But i dont think thats the case
I know what it is like to have an undiagnosed problem.
I am going to assume that you are ready to start recovering.
Get this book.
You can get a used one for a few bucks.
It works incredibly well. It's not easy, but stick to it for the month.
When you feel up to it, start exercising. But this time we are going to do it the
slow way. First we are going to walk, and then walk a lot. And then with agonising slowness, add exercise back in. Make any addition to your routine small. The first time you walk, walk for a few minutes, or a couple if that is too much. Then the next day add a minute more; if you can. It will take years doing it that way. But it might work, it did for me.
I met a person who developed similar probs from going overboard with workouts. Interestingly, he was a former drug addict (hard drugs like coke, not simply habitual weed smokers). When reflecting after it happened, he thought it was a combination of trying to make up for lost time in the physical fitness dep't because of his former lifestyle, and seeking the endorphin high.
Best of luck recuperating. Hopefully thats all it is, overtraining, and not something more serious thats hard to diagnose, like chronic fatigue syndrome.
Your age is something in your favor, you are still in your prime years so should recover faster then 10 months I would imagine.
That's terrible...but you'll pardon me for lacking complete sympathy. I read your story and it read like this:
"I overtrained and it killed me.
So I rested up and recovered and felt great.
So then I overtrained again, and I wonder what's happening."
Dude...wasn't the first time a lesson?
First, you need to do some serious research on training approaches. From your description, it seems that your approach is to just keep adding on more work until you overtrain. Good training is about applying the appropriate amount of stress and then having enough recovery to improve.
Second, it would be very helpful to find a coach that can look at what you're trying to accomplish and design an overall workout set for you. I think it will likely have considerably less intensity.
Third, buy yourself a HR monitor and use it on the bike. Spend the vast majority of your time on the bike at comfortable paces.
Fourth, my guess is that your nutrition is messed up as well. When you work out hard recovery nutrition is critical.
Well, never took anydrugs in my life apart from a hair loss drug for like one month, 4 yrs ago. Plus i used to train harder than what i ve been doing this yr, its just the sudden increase in stress this yr that has been really difficult. I had to work same time in a restaurant and some times in the fields and study in the mornings, so working out and playing basketball was the only way out, i couldnt just quit exercising. But inevitably the stress and workload became too much to handle, and i wasnt resting properly anylonger.
Its easy to say that because i was overtrained once i would get a lesson from it, but as i described, 2nd time i didnt see it coming, i was perfectly healthy even the day before falling into the full blown state, just a bit tired thats all. I just didnt estimate the previous weeks workload properly.
Last summer when i initially got into overtraining syndrome, there was a period of 10 days i was fluctuating between being totally ok and somewhat weak, i didnt know that something like that existed by the way, i thought i didnt eat properly and felt like that
Anyways i will try to fight, it, thought that i would find some people here with similar experience since it is not so rare in both cyclists and swimmers to get into such problems.
I have to agree with a previous poster that you should have and now need to learn about overtraining. The cause and cure is easy to understand. Overtraining is like getting shin splints. You can rest and recover, but unless the cause if fixed, you will get them again.
Exercise stresses and breaks down the body. Taking time off after that stress causes the body to recover and get stronger. You must rest. For complusive people like me, I must use total rest because I am incapable of taking it easy. If I ride really hard one day and feel it a little the next morning, I don't ride or do leg exercises. If I feel great the following morning, I work out otherwise, I rest again.
The amount of recovery depends on the volume of stress placed on the body, and how fast your body recovers which can vary from individual to individual.
I suggest that you look at some marathoning books and read a few chapters on overtraining. If you feel that you can't force yourself to rest, I would hire a personal trainer and follow his/her workout plans to a T.
Of course you can push your body's systems beyond their ability to recover. You can literally die that way. The real question is--why are you driven to do it to yourself?
When i first got into this mess in summer, it never occured to me that it could be "overtraining". I didnt even know that term existed.
I went to several doctors then sports doctors and others physicians, most of them told me that i probably have some sort of insulin problems or some sort of heart valve disease, since the prevailing symptoms that i could definately feel for sure physically, were fatigue when walking, heart arrythmias, breathing problems and a constant urge to eat- i felt hypoglycemic for sure.
So i was sent back and forth to get more tests and tests after tests. Imagine how stressful that was, trying to explain to doctors what i suffer from, and they thinking that its something different(since they lacked the appropriate knowledge) making me get more tests totally irrelevant to the whole issue.
Finally, 6 difficult weeks had passed being still undiagnosed, completely dissapointed and literally staying at home in bed most of the time, thinking that this could take me months to recover from, since i couldnt find someway to treat it. I just knew that resting was the only thing that didnt hurt me.
Now this time, in February, i thought i was way more careful, i was working out 4 times a week, trying to rest and eat properly.
What changed though was that i started suddenly to work, and this work stress and running around on days i was also working out at the gym, the lack of sleep (i went to bed at 3 or 4 am every day and woke up at 9 or 10 am at the latest) accumulated too much of a sudden burden on me. And as i said one day i was feeling ok, next day i was washed out. It just came all of a sudden. I didnt see it coming.
Anyways, dont wanna bother you people any more, i was just looking for any fellow past sufferers, or some advice to speed up the healing process(supplements or vitamins i should try).
Today for example i went swimming at a pool -did like 10 minutes up and down- and feel much better!! Its so unbelievable and unexplainable-
See, when i started seeing great in game results from riding my bike for miles and miles or from training my legs i felt better and better and just couldnt stop. I was thinking and dreaming about the gym and practicing all day long.
I couldnt even concentrate on my studies anylonger. I was so much into training because i was benefiting from it. Havent you felt that way some times in your life?
How do you know you have a drop in testosterone levels? When would you have had a test done before age 28; as most men don't, and therefore, lack a baseline.
May I ask what your level is? Medically, the "normal" range is from 300-1200 ng/dL. But if yours is hovering around 300-400, it still might be low for you, especially if your normal range was 900-1000 when you were 23. Even though you would be medically within the normal range, it's still less than half of what you were used to in the past.
Did any of the test include the number for Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin? If that number is high, your free testosterone will bind to it and leave even less for normal body function. Also, have a test done for estrogen. Most doctors don't think of it, because you're a man. But if your estrogen levels are too high for a man, that can increase the SHBG levels also.
Since the body metabolizes the testosterone it produces, it's possible your body still can't keep up with the daily demand in spite of not working out so vigorously. One sure fire way to tell is if you have any erectile disfunction. Basically, that and depression are two of the best indicators of low testosterone.
Did you ever have some sort of injury "down there" that could limit your ability to produce enough testosterone.
If you can discuss and convince your doctor to give you 1cc of testosterone as a shot, and then another 1cc two weeks later, it will be really clear if that's the problem since your body might be craving it more than you know. (I have no medical training, fyi)
Lastly, send a private message to me with your e-mail address and I can send a PDF of two pages of questions on how to tell if you have low testosterone. There are online questionnaires I've seen, but they usually only have eight questions or so.
Testosterone 4.25 ng/ml ------ normal values 4-11
Free Testo 13.8 pg/ml ----- normal values 13-40
DHEA-S 4.2 μg/ml ------ normal values 1.6-4.5
SHBG 13nmol/L ------ normal values 15-48
Progesterone 0.83 ng/ml ------ normal values 0.1-1.0
LH 4.8 mIU/ml ------ normal values 1-15
FSH 2.5 mIU/ml ------ normal values 1.7-12
Estradiol e2 35 pg/ml ------ normal values 0-50
Albumin 4.7 gr/dl ------ normal is 3.4-5.0
SGPT 109 IU/L ------ normal is 25-65
cortisol morning 142 μg/l ------normal is 62-200
cortisol night 42 μg/l ------ normal is 23-119
DHT 50 ng/dl ------ normal is 30-85
vitamin b12 261 pg/ml ----- normal is 160-950
I have been checking my hormone levels extensively since this february. Those are the latest tests i had a week ago. Teso fluctuates up and down around 4-5 so does free testo, but free testo slightly increased since february. When i was 21 my free testo was like 35 and testo was more than 8. Hormone panels changed alot after i took finasteride the hair loss drug, but have sunk completely during this period of overtraining. Its also an indicator of overtraining to have low testo and free testo levels, as well as decreased testo/cortisol and decreased free testo/cortisol ratio, as well as decreased glutamine/glutamate ratio. I have done dozens of blood tests that confirm that, but yet it is highly disputed that lowered hormones are case specific for overtraining. It may happen to several cases. Yet, before overtraining i felt strong as a rock, so i guess hormones were widely affected this period.
It's possible that you have a hormone change that's causing you to feel over-trained, not the other way around.
And again, if your T levels were above 8 and now they are 4.25, that's a 50% reduction; quite a lot.
What did your doctor say about your SGPT being so high. Were other tests done for your heart, liver and for the presence of mononucleosis because of that value?
Have your doctor visits ruled out thyroid problems. Even though you're awfully young for such problems, they can affect appetite, energy level, give feelings of depression, etc. Also, have you been bitten by any ticks? Just asking because people with tick fever/Lyme disease have unusual symptoms at times. My friend who had to have a heart valve replaced felt tired, dizzy, faint, had episodes of heart racing, etc. If you don't have a physical problem - I suggest yoga & meditation to get you centered and back to a healthier outlook. Yoga for athletes can calm your nervous center and build up your core - make you look inside yourself to see why you're driving yourself so hard.
They ruled out everything, thyroid is ok and did all tests regarding internal organs- even checked my immunity and did antibody viral tests rule out weird infections, did ultrasounds and mri, whole body ct scans and all possible tests you can imagine off.
Sgpt goes up and down depending on what supplements i take to overcome this.
Cardiologists cant find anything wrong with me, they saw me during summer time as well, when i had same problems.
Afterall its a problem with my sympathetic nervous system which is what overtraining does basically, in people who lift weights and sprint mostly, thats why most doctors cant understand it. Symptoms are too difficult to evaluate and categorise if you havent been through this personally or havent seen patients with similar problems it seems impossible to understand. Yet several coaches and athletes know of it, and everyone tells me to keep eating carefully and getting plenty of rest in order to recover.
How can i get plenty of rest though since my system is in such an overreactive state that i cant even sleep properly.
Anyways, i will find my way around. I will be talking to a diet specialist soon that has helped athletes overcome such problems.
This clearly sounds physiological, but what's the cause and what's the effect is unclear. You decribe compulsive exercising, metabolic problems, neurological symptoms, and an over-reactive nervous system that prevents sleep.
With all due respect, I believe you should consider being evaluated for other conditions that can cause this kind of compulsive exercsizing and arousal problems. To that end, it'd be worthwhile to see a good sports psychologist to evaluate the compulsiveness, and to see if that is contributing to this problem.
Best of luck!
Maybe this book will help. It is recommended by the experts at RoadBikeRider.com.
Thanks for the book, its exactly what i was looking for
If you get the book, let me know if it helps, or too technical, etc. Thanks.
Sorry for bringing a 7 year old thread back from the dead but I just wanted to check and see how everything turned out. How long did it take you to fully recover? And how did you do it? I have similar symptoms as you described and it has been like this for 10 months, although I have had some really good weeks were I've felt normal bu the bad weeks have been in majority. My main problem is fatigue, even if I sleep 8-9 hours it feels like i've been awake for 3 days, I'm constantly yawning and getting on the bike seems impossible and if I do I have a hard time just turning the pedals. but sometimes I've been able to to 200k ad even 250k rides without a problem and without any fatigue the days after.
You're being a little optimistic in expecting a reply. The guy hasn't been active on the site in more than seven years.
|All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:47 AM.|