Overtraining, Part 1: Understanding The Stress Response And Overtraining Risks (Breather Episode with Brad)


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By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Welcome to a grand three-part presentation covering all aspects of overtraining, including an overview of the stress response in the body, how the nature of hectic, high stress modern life is a disastrous disconnect from our human genetic expectations for health, and how our ruminating minds can contribute to burnout (just like stressful work or personal circumstances or overly-stressful training patterns do).

Unfortunately for me and fortunately for you, I am an expert on this topic and in this episode, you will learn about how different forms of stress (remember, even fasting counts as a stressor) affect the body and the state of “overreaching,” a precursor to overtraining where you are capable of peak performance, but running on borrowed time heading for burnout. I also discuss how to find a healthy balance between avoiding overtraining and still having that optimal amount of stress that is actually beneficial to the body, and how the stimulus perception response and the HPA axis (responsible for the body’s reaction to environmental stimuli) works.


Our stress responses are in three stages: stimulus, perception and response. [01:24]

Stress is a chain reaction as a variety of genetic and hormonal switches are turning on and off. [04:33]

The body has a strong homeostatic drive to regulate the body back to normal after a fight or flight incident, or an illness. [07:47]

So how do we manage this wonderful tool? Too little stress is unhealthy. [10:14]

Even though you may enjoy your workout, overtraining can be a disaster. In our daily life, we are overloaded with stressors. [14:31]

The perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body. [17:14]

Exercise is a major, major stressor, and it has to be contemplated very carefully in order not to cross that line and drift into over training patterns. [20:27]

When you have elevated heart rate, blood pressure, elevated cognitive focus, your basic routine bodily functions are put on hold. [24:25]

Fat is a clean-burning fuel whereas carbohydrate is dirty-burning fuel. [28:12]

A chronically stressful lifestyle is directly associated with a carbohydrate dependency [30:28]

Burnout occurs when you are constantly busy stimulating the fight or flight hormones and then one day your just crash. [34:06]

When you have that temporary high that’s afforded by the chronic overproduction of stress hormones in the bloodstream, it can be a confusing situation. [40:33]

For all of us in the recreational realm who are trying to promote overall general health and especially longevity, we have to be very, very careful to not drift anywhere near the overtraining, patterns and the burnout symptoms. [44:19]


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394 episodes