Athletes & Celebrities

Overtraining Back in the Day

Ric Drasin tells us why too much is more than enough


Ever since I can remember—way back to the mid 60’s—bodybuilders always have had a tendency to overtrain. If a little was good, then more was better. Makes sense in a way, but the body doesn’t respond to such thinking.


I can remember spending 2 to 3 hours in just one training session, which was not unusual. It was a full time job. Then when you add to that all of the eating and rest, and you’ve consumed an entire day. The body remained sore constantly and at the time the belief was if you’re sore, then you’re doing something right, and the muscles will grow. We didn’t accept the fact that we were always in a torn down state and not growing at all, or at least very little. Plus we believed that if we weren’t sore then we weren’t training hard enough.


It became a vicious cycle—the more you trained the lighter you became—and yet fat still covered the muscle, which meant you had to train even more. What was actually happening was that we were burning up muscle instead of fat. So basically we would kill the muscle temporarily—wipe it out. It’s deceiving and frustrating and becomes almost a sickness, or a trap, that most bodybuilders fall into. It’s not in our mindset to cut back, but sometimes that's exactly what we have to do.


When I trained with Arnold in the 70’s we would sometimes, but not always, do split sessions. We would do chest and back in the mornings and abs, calves and forearms in the afternoons. We hit the beach in between those workouts, laying in the sun and catching a nap for our afternoon workouts. This was an awesome lifestyle that most people don’t have available to them, but it was perfect for training as we were able to fit everything in one day and still recover for the afternoon workouts. Luckily Joe Weider was paying Arnold and I was wrestling at nights, which gave us the income and freedom to allow us to live this lifestyle. Not everyone is that fortunate.