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