Whenever I feel I have overtrain I rest, say for 3-5 days, and when I start training again I regress in perfermonance, and have to start builduing up again. It is as if I have been stuck in the same place for years.

How can one train, say for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, without injuring or overtraining?

I am asking this because, I am curious how proffesional MMA fighter (who some train 6-8 hours a day) or soldiers who spend alot of time in rigourous physical activitiy without overtraining. (Of course I am sure there are some that overtrain but I am asking about those that overcome it.)

  • @Rick-how are you feeling during the day/night when you aren't training? I suffer from overtraining and this feeling affects every part of your day. Constant fatigue, feeling of 'heavy' muscles, no energy
    – Bee
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 2:38

4 Answers 4


A lot of it has to do with your programming. If you are training for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, you have a great potential to do too much. Here's the deal:

  • Overtraining is accompanied by a loss of performance, and in more serious cases can be accompanied by symptoms that look like clinical depression.
  • MMA fighters and military are not training anywhere near their genetic potentials. They are focused primarily on conditioning and skill training.
  • The closer you get to your genetic potential, the easier it is to go from the training stimulus needed to overtraining.

If you are a weightlifter, then the response to overtraining should be:

  • Reduce volume of work for a while (about 2x as long as it took to get into the overtraining state)
  • In serious cases, take a layoff for a couple weeks before slowly coming back on line.
  • Look at your programming really hard. You have to manage training stress, life stress, and recovery.

It may be worth splitting your 3-4 hours up into a couple sessions. Even when you have that amount of workload, you should have cycles of intensity, effort, and rest. For example, after a high intensity or a high effort session, you should probably do a lower effort session.

With a better description of what you are doing, it might help in troubleshooting the programming.

  • 1
    What do you mean by "MMA fighters and military are not training anywhere near their genetic potentials."? Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 23:59
  • 1
    An MMA fighter isn't deadlifting 600lbs. They aren't squatting 600lbs. They aren't benching 500lbs. Mainly because the effort to do that doesn't justify the minimal edge it gives you in a fight. Instead, they spend some time on strength, and most of the time on conditioning and skill work. Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 14:00

Pro MMA fighters who are training 6-8 hours a day are most likely doing steroids. In fact, even if they're doing less, they're probably doing steroids. It's an ugly truth of the sport. As for the inevitable source question - you can't train 8 hours/day, 6 days/week without the help of PEDs. If it's not roids, it's definitely painkillers.

And that's the answer to how you can train 3-4 hours/day 5 days a week without injury or overtraining. Steroids.

NB: I'm not suggesting anyone do steroids, in fact my suggestion is always to reduce workout time and increase rest days.


My guess

They work up to it gradually over time. They don't go from not working out, or working out moderately hard three times a week, to five hours a day six days a week. Or if they did, it was probably when they were teenagers, at the peak of their recovery abilities.

  • Spending those 6 hours/day with a personal trainer who knows what they're doing doesn't hurt either...
    – Moses
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 20:22

Short answer:

Use PEDs or born again with different genetic setup.

Long answer: I have never met a pro who exercise/practice "3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week". But on the other hand, I met a lot of people who say publicly that they practice with such a volume. Why? Nobody will sponsor a pro athlete who train hard 3 times per week and all the other time is "easy/recovery work" and rest. There is huge bias between reality and presentation of the professional athletes.

Of course there are exceptions - I would guess that most of them are freaks or PED users. Even though they cannot admit it. It just does not seems right to say: "I won the gold medal because of lucky genetic and shitload of drugs". The important message is - the huge volume of training is not for everyone - especially if you do not want to sacrifice health or other live aspects.

This is how may really look a training of a professional MMA fighter:


This is how train pro soldiers in reality:


According to the links above: if you cut the marketing bullshits, it seems that professionals does not do the crazy volume that much.

Disclaimer: I met only few professionals in sport or other demanding fields. My answer is based mainly on the stuff they (or their trainers, supervisors) told me personally. So it still can be biased someway.

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