scratch-mark

Overtraining

One thing I should always mention about my results like I posted yesterday is that in addition to the real food and intermittent fasting, my workouts consist of only two 30-minute sessions per week, both of which I always do hungry, i.e., at least 12 hours since last food intake, and sometimes as much as 24-30 hours (I'm still in fat-loss mode). And regardless of how long it was that I hadn't eaten, I don't eat immediately after the workout either, for at least two hours.

If that seems totally crazy to you, does that sense come from actual experience, first-hand knowledge, or are you doing what so many do, which is to just run with the crowd? As I've come to learn being around the gym, trainers, and cardioholics: the fitness industry is dominated by a herd mentality. It's very faddish, and if you watch closely you'll begin to notice all sorts of contradictory diet, exercise, nutritional and supplement advice.

But stop to consider this: do mammals typically hunt in a fed or a hungry (fasted) state? If the latter, doesn't it seem logical, and also, doesn't it make sense that evolved physiology would be highly adapted to such behavior? Remember, we didn't evolve with refrigerators, so food storage was rather difficult.

And I do no cardio. I walk every weekday morning (low level aerobic), and now and then I do all out sprints, 3-6 at 30-40 seconds with a couple of minutes rest in-between.

I've been going trough all my past EvFit posts over the last year and a half and am re-categorizing for better granularity. But I came across something I wanted to highlight. Remember Mark Sisson? Who is he?

I excelled at cross-country and distance track events in high school and at Williams College, where I was a pre-med candidate and received my degree in Biology.

In fact, the running was going so well after college that I decided to forgo medical school for a few years (it’s at 31 years now) and concentrate on a running career. I trained seriously as a marathoner for another five years, racking up well over 100 miles each week in training. The effort culminated in a top 5 finish in the 1980 US National Marathon Championships and a qualifying spot for the 1980 US Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, by then the inhuman amount of training and weekly racing was taking its toll and I found myself constantly sick or injured. (Note to self: too much exercise is not a good thing). In fact, in my last year of competition, as a world class, extremely “fit” athlete, I experienced eight upper respiratory infections! Clearly I was ruining my immune system and my joints doing too much exercise. That’s when I started exploring nutrition and supplementation as a way to enhance my performance and to support my damaged body and bolster my immune system.

The running injuries – osteoarthritis and tendonitis – precluded ever racing at a high level again, but that was just about the time that the new sport of Triathlon was starting to emerge, and I was immediately hooked. While I couldn’t run much anymore, I could certainly cycle and swim to my heart’s content…and I did. I spent a few more years racing triathlons, including finishing 4th place at the Hawaii Ironman, the biggest in the world at the time.

I finally retired from competition in 1988 and decided I would do whatever I could to help others avoid making the kinds of health mistakes that I had made. I figured I could use my pre-medical background, my degree in biology and an intense desire to unlock the health secrets that I knew were out there – answers to questions about health, wellness, anti-aging, safe weight-loss, nutrition and supplementation – to find the natural ways of achieving good health.

I wrote several books, including Maximum Results, The Fat Control System, The Anti-aging Report and The Lean Lifestyle Program (over 400,000 copies distributed). I edited the Optimum Health national health newsletter (circ. 90,000) from 1994 through 1996.

Now, take a look at him at 54.

If anyone ought to know about the ill effects of chronic cardio, Mark should. See this post, and this one.

And rejoice! You don't need to do slow, boring "cardio" to get awesome results.

And why wouldn’t anyone want to hear that real exercise doesn’t mean endless hours on that torturously boring treadmill? News like this is like sunlight bursting in, choirs of children singing, shackles collapsing open and crashing to the ground. Hordes of celebratory folk parade through the gym, penny whistles and fiddles playing, ale mugs in hand, goats and cows in the merry mix. Get off that treadmill and join us, for the love!

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

6 Comments

  1. Lute Nikoley on September 20, 2008 at 11:32

    I believe you meant two 30 minute sessions, right?

  2. Richard Nikoley on September 20, 2008 at 11:36

    Yep, indeed. Fixed.

  3. Uwe on September 20, 2008 at 15:35

    The thing is, I love to go out and do a run/hike on the PCT,TRT with Pepper.I'd do it even if there weren't any health benifits. I've never done cardio in the gym.

  4. Uwe on September 20, 2008 at 15:46

    Don't forget,the hunter/gatherers frequently had to walk/run for hours or days to find game.When you go hunting,it's a heck of a lot easier if you've been doing some of that .

  5. Richard Nikoley on September 20, 2008 at 17:30

    Uwe:

    I certainly do get the joy of getting out there. Concerning H-Gs, I'm not sure about running for days, although there are interesting genetic paths in east vs. west Africa, where in the east they are far more adapted to distance running, while in the west, to sprinting.

    If you watch predatory mammals, they are very judicious with their energy expenditure. You never can guarantee a kill to replenish, and the last thing you want is to get into a downward spiral.

  6. Christoph Dollis on September 22, 2009 at 00:07

    I just found your site, Richard.

    To say the least, overtraining is the least of my current concerns.

    But I think your writing, the couple artcicles I've seen, has been bang on so far. It's a pleasure to see your successful transformation and hear your logic on various topics, which go beyond even health.

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