A look into CNS overtraining and whether or not it’s a real problem.
Is fatigue a legit excuse for pulling back on your training? Is your body really fried or do you just not have the right mindset? Let’s get one thing out of the way right now – bodybuilding is supposed to wear you down. You are putting stress on your muscles so that they can grow back stronger. This isn’t supposed to be easy. Actually, it’s supposed to be really, really hard.
So how do you know when you are really overtraining? When have you pushed so far that you are actually hurting yourself and your progress? Before we start kicking your ass with some truth, let’s take a look into one major aspect of overtraining. It’s called central nervous system overtraining or CNS overtraining for short.
What is CNS Overtraining?
There are two ways to wear yourself down into fatigue. There’s muscle fatigue, which is pretty straight forward. It’s when you don’t give your muscles enough time to recover before your next workout.
The second option is overtraining your central nervous system. This effects the entire body as the central nervous system is in control of generating all of the muscular contractions you perform. If you fry your CNS, it leads to overall fatigue of the body. You’ll feel weak and slow – just an overall sense of exhaustion.
The worst part about all of this is you have less energy in the gym, further preventing you from being able to push your hardest during workouts. The usual reason for CNS overtraining is too much volume and intensity with too little rest in between. Throw in stress that comes from the pressures of everyday life and you might go into a nervous system overload.
How to Combat CNS Overtraining Fatigue
Let’s quickly go through some major things to keep in mind in order to prevent overtraining. The key thing to remember is that the time you need to rest is proportional to the intensity and volume of the workout you are putting yourself through. This might be obvious, but the more you work in the gym – the more you need to rest.
Speaking of rest – you need to make sure you get a lot of honest to goodness sleep every day. While it’s easy to try and squeeze as much time out of the day by removing some hours off of your sleep schedule, it’s vital for a bodybuilder to get 8 hours of sleep in order to truly refuel for the next workout. Staying up late in order to get more work done is not the best way to making progress.
It’s also important to learn how to delegate your time. There is only 24 hours in a day. It very well might be impossible to get everything done that you want within that time period. You want to get stronger? Lifting 10 times a week does not equal ten times the muscles. You should only be lifting 4-5 times a week. Period.
Cardio is also a great way to make sure that your body can handle the system shock of working out so hard every day. Cardio exercises will increase your heart rate – thus making your entire body more capable of pushing past the next limit.
Do You Really Have CNS Overtraining Fatigue?
If you look over the few tips we just gave you on how to prevent from CNS overtraining, you might be thinking to yourself, “This is all very obvious stuff. But I still feel like crap every day.”
You know what the real problem is? It’s definitely not CNS fatigue. It’s your mindset. Odds are your nervous system is probably fine. You’re just tired from working so hard and you know what? You just have to deal with it.
There’s a world of a difference between a real total body shutdown and just being tired. People often use words like “overtraining” and “CNS fatigue” as excuses to pull back and baby themselves a little bit. Don’t be that person. Don’t be a wimp. As long as you are intelligent about your workout, your diet, and your rest – you will not have anything standing in your way of major gains except yourself.