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I'm a mid-twenties fairly athletic male and I typically exercise on a regular basis. One an average week, I will olympic lift ~3-4 times and play various sports (surf, volleyball, jiu jitsu, etc.) a couple times. But on some weeks when there's a lot going on, I might end up playing sports a lot more and pull two-a-days for maybe ~5 days of the week.

As I start to do this, I notice my body starting to break down because I can't recover in time for the next day, but I also notice that my testosterone levels appear to increase significantly for the week till I crash and have to rest. I've done this enough to know that if I keep going, I get pretty sick and might lose weight or get injured, so I've learned to stop after a while. For the initial phase of my increased routine, I typically have an increased sex drive and a greater desire to "win" at things.

This seemed like it might be my body compensating for my increased activity by increasing testosterone levels to help me recover. What is actually happening in my body?

  • Sounds more like a rise in cortisol from overdoing it, than a rise in testosterone... testosterone levels rise a bit after exercise but it's not that much different than watching an x-rated flick. webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone – Y12K Dec 1 '17 at 4:31
  • That could well be it. From Wikipedia, it says there are connections to hypoglycemia which I've had minor problems with in the past. Although Wikipedia says that cortisol inhibits inflammation, but I definitely get inflamed. And I might be permitting my body to recover before the long term effects kick in. – aidan.plenert.macdonald Dec 1 '17 at 4:51
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Working out too hard can overload the hormonal system. You can produce too much cortisol, which elevates inflammation and depletes testosterone.

It can take months to recover from real overtraining, but you're probably not overtrained. However, sleep, nutrition and certain supplements can keep you from being overtaxed and prevent burnout.

Overtraining Is Rare, But Overtaxing Isn't

Could you be overtrained? The demon that swallows gains and destroys motivation? Overtraining is a very rare and misunderstood phenomenon. But you could be overtaxing your body and its key systems.

There is a study which showed a significant drop in testosterone, and a nice boost in stress hormone cortisol. Time to exhaustion was also way faster than what it was prior to overtraining. Remember that these problems are not short term, they can last for weeks and weeks if you decide to overtrain.

So there you go. Overtraining does exist and the threshold to that is different and it varies from people to people.

And if you do find out that you’ve overtrained… Then seriously just take a solid week or two weeks off to begin recovering from overtraining. Let your body rest properly and don’t let that condition go chronic.

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