Exercising After Overtraining – Episode 163

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

Download Episode Here

Download a transcript of this episode here


  1. [6:09] 3D Printed Meat
  2. [11:36] Long Term Melatonin Use
  3. [16:11] Earthing Mats
  4. [18:32] Exercising After Overtraining
  5. [29:40] Reverse Response to Rhodiola
  6. [35:25] Recovery Strategy for Making Weigh In for Various Sports
  7. [42:24] Dexa DXA Body Scans
  8. [47:01] The Potato Diet Hack
  9. [52:55] Ketone Protection from Oxidation


1. 3d printed meat

Jacob says:

I’m very interested in your thoughts on this.



2. Long term Melatonin use

Rebecca says:
Hi Robb and Greg,

I have a question about the effects of long-term melatonin use. My sister has been giving her two daughters (ages 5 and 7) melatonin every night to get them to go to sleep for the past two years or so.  She started doing it because they consistently wouldn’t be tired at an appropriate bedtime and refuse to go to bed until very late at night (like way past midnight) and my sister couldn’t take it anymore. It has now become a part of their nightly ritual. I don’t know for certain, but I would think that taking a hormone supplement all the time would mess up the body’s signals to produce that hormone naturally. Essentially, I’m afraid that this is making her kids dependent on the melatonin supplementation and it will result in sleep problems for them in the future. I’ve asked my sister if she’s worried at all about this and she said that she has thought about that, but without it they will be up way too late and at least they are going to bed this way.  Basically, she would rather have the peace and quiet now and deal with any of the ramifications if/when they come up later.  Personally, I think they eat way too much sugar and processed food throughout the day and night which keeps them jacked up at night. My sister doesn’t seem to think there’s any problem with their food because it’s all from trader joes so it’s “healthy”.  As if the ice cream after dinner doesn’t have anything to do with it.  Bizarre.

So is this long term use of melatonin totally screwing up their circadian rhythms and setting them up for future sleep and other health problems?  It really concerns me that they are so young and already dependent on sleep aids. If she stops giving it to them will their natural melatonin production bounce back?

Thanks guys!


3. Earthing Mats – Useful, or Useless Hippie Magic?

Steven says:
Robb and Greg,
Curious as to whether you see any usefulness in an earthing mat?  I know Dave Asprey of the bulletproofexec sells one and claims that he and high level athletes such as Lance Armstrong use it to promote recovery and stimulate better sleep http://www.bulletproofexec.com/earthing/. I remember Chris Kresser mentioning some of these concepts a little while back as well http://chriskresser.com/tips-for-a-healthy-summer-part-2  Anyways, do you think there is any benefit in something like this for a member of the military looking to enhance sleep productivity/quality (when they can get it) or would the $60 be better spent on a hand-picked hemp skirt?  Thanks


4. Overtraining Recovery

Terri says:
Dear Robb,
I am 44 years old,have been paleo for 5 years and gluten/corn/dairy free for 8.  These diet changes put my autoimmune thryoid disease in remission and solved my allergy and GI problems.

I’ve always exercised regularly.  One year ago I started a standard gym weight training program from which I developed some decent strength.  In the late winter I switched to longer runs to prepare for a spring half-marathon.  I eased back on training, and then began Crossfit mid-summer.

I went into Crossfit with a very strong aerobic base, decent strength, an excellent diet and 18% body fat.  After  3 months of crossfitting 3 times/week I developed overtraining:  elevated morning heart rate, fatigue, muscle pain, CNS issues & insulin resistance.

I’ve recovered from most of the symptoms by resting, carefully managing meal/snack times and light exercise.  I can now run 2 miles and lift pre-Crossfit weight. I still have a couple pounds yet to lose which appears to be in my belly.  But I feel well as long as I eat carefully and get a lot of rest.

I don’t know how to approach a training schedule/program going forward.  My goal is simply overall fitness.  I’m done with Crossfit because of the lack of progression issues.  There is so much exercise information overload on the web.  And most trainers seem to be focused on weight loss.  What do you recommend?  I’m very fearful of experiencing overtraining again.

Performance Menu Sprint Article


5. Rhodiola Rosea Contraindication

Matt says:
Robb and Gregg-

[Effusive praise etc…]
Can one be contraindicated for Rhodiola Rosea?
I suspected I was having some cortisol regulatory issues marked by poor sleep, and waking up between 1:25 and 1:45 am fairly regularly with a bit of a start.
I ordered some Rhodiola to use as adrenal support.
My understanding was that Rhodiola generally produced a calming effect.
My experience was very different.  It left me wired.  During the day it produced a pleasant but intense focus and obviated the need for any caffeine.
But…it was wrecking my sleep.
I usually fall asleep between 10 and 10:30pm but even taking the Rhodiola by 7:30am sleep was usually impossible before 11-11:30pm.
On occasion it left me wired into the early hours of the morning.
Do you have any idea what my malfunction is and if there are other herbs with adrenal supportive properties that may agree with me a bit better?
I drink Tulsi/Holy Basil tea regularly. I have not noticed any benefit and it does not produce the same wired state.
P.S.  If you have time…is there any merit to Tim Ferris’ claim that pine pollen works like supplemental test? How does the efficacy/safety compare to some shady prohormones from GNC?
Thanks fellas.  You never fail to educate and entertain.


6. 2 hour weigh-in befo Open….or killing Matt Foreman (which was a great catch line to see exactly how you killed Matt, almost), I was reminded that weight lifting is all about the weight class. Rowing, which is my sport, has only two classes, lightweight or open. If you are not under 59kg for women or 72.5kg for men you are openweight. I was recently informed when doing some lifting at Seattle’s Level 4 gym, that lifters weigh in two hours before they compete. This is the same for rowing. I think in wrestling and other fightin before they compete. This is the same for rowing. I think in wrestling and other fighting sports you weigh in the day before, so that would give a different recovery strategy. My question is this two hour weigh in and what your lifters would eat after the weigh in, especially if they had to sweat a little to make weight, or do you not see this happening with your athletes? I know a max effort lift is using a completely different system to a max effort 2km that rowers do, so just for interest sake, what is the difference in these two post weigh-in food choices? Amy Kubal has worked with me on a working rowing post weigh-in gig but again from a lifter’s point of view, this would be interesting to hear your thoughts.


7. You Bastards!

Angela says:
Hi Robb and Greg – What do you think of DXA body composition scans and how often should they be done?  Over the last year I have half-assed eating paleo and on top of that, within the last few months I completely stopped working out.  I just had a DXA scan done and the results were atrocious. Turns out I’m quite the porker.  I knew I’ve been getting fat, but I had no idea I was really this fat.  This scan doesn’t lie and unfortunately, I can’t even say I’m big boned.  Ha ha!  I’m a female, 38, and 5’4″ and on the day of my scan I weighed 153.4 lbs. My results showed that I was 37.7% fat, lean mass was 91.6 lbs, and my fat mass was 55.3 lbs. On the plus side, my bone mineral density was excellant.  Turns out that I started semi-clean paleo (includes vodka and cider on occasion) again the same night and joined a new gym a week later.  I want to track my numbers pretty closely as I get in better shape and wasn’t sure when I shuold get my next scan.  Should I wait 3 or 4 months or is it safe to do on a monthly basis?  Also, it’s $100 so it’s kind of costly. What do you recommend?  Also, what kind of numbers should I be shooting for in the next few months?  How much fat should I be losing and muscle gained over the next 3 or 4 month period?

Thanks and I love you guys….even though you have never yet answered one of my questions.


8. The Potato Hack

Jennifer says:
Hi Robb & Gregg (now with two G’s),
Have you seen the potato diet hack that people are experimenting with? It’s where you temporarily eat nothing but potatoes cooking in a just a bit of kerrygold, coconut oil, whatever to get some fat loss by starving the body of fats. I’m guessing it would work sort of like a low carb, high fat diet, except just not as healthy for you.

Can you explain from what you know whether this would work or not and why and what the down side or potential risks might be (I’m guessing possibly higher inflammatory markers and slower recovery time from lack of protein and even muscle wasting).

Here’s the link to the experiment:

What are you’re thoughts?


9. ketone bodies and oxidative stress

Kim Rioux (pronounced Rio) says:
Robb and Steve;
I’ve got to start out with the “thank you, thank you, you guys are rock stars” intro. Seriously, thank you.

I was recently reading this article in Science Daily:


In the article they discuss a specific ketone body called beta-hydroxybuterate (beta-OHB) that is generated in response to calorie and carbohydrate restriction.  Beta-OHB is thought to block a specific type of oxidative enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDAC’s) which are linked to diseases of aging and general oxidative stress on the cells.

So here’s the question: although I’m not really calorie restricted (1200-1400/day as a tiny 50 year old woman) I do keep my carbs around 80gr/day.  I’m able to maintain MILD ketosis (tested with keto strips) at this level – probably because of all the coconut milk I put in my coffee which provides me with a lot of MCT’s.

If I’m not calorie restricted, would this level of ketosis likely generate the beta-OHB or other ketone bodies that would provide protection from HDAC’s or other oxidative enzymes?  Or would that benefit only come about if on a truly ketogenic and/or calorie restricted diet?

Thanks guys!  I don’t know who else I would ask!

Kim (follow up email)

OMG, I think I just called Greg Steve in my question submission.  You know, I scoffed when they sent me my AARP card at age 50 but now I see why….  Damn – I really need to look more closely at that ketogenic diet 😉

Sorry Greg!!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Categories: Podcasts


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. says

    Hey Robb — thanks for giving a nod to low-carb and/or ketogenic diets as great for therapeutic purposes. I’ve been learning right along with you about for whom low-carb interventions are best, and obviously, lean people with good insulin sensitivity who are looking to improve *other* health issues or set records in the gym will fare better on a Paleo diet that includes more starches, fruit, etc. But all this trash-talking of low carb on the interwebs lately does a disservice to the populations who would see — to use your adjective — “magical” results. It’s exactly like you said — the metabolically broken, the obese, and those with severe issues related to hyperinsulinemia would do well to stick to a basic low carb Paleo approach. These are *not* the people who need to be eating white rice and sweet potatoes.

    Even Dr. Atkins acknowledged this. Anyone who badmouths the Atkins diet as super-low-carb forever has obviously not actually *read* his books, because he was very clear that the two-week induction phase of <20g carb/day is just that — an induction. A way to kickstart the body's switch to running on fat. It's meant as a drastic intervention, not something to be carried on for life. You're supposed to increase carbs incrementally (mostly from more green veg and some berries or more nuts…we're not talking about adding back spaghetti) and see how you do — are you continuing to lose weight, albeit at a slower rate than during those first two weeks? And you adjust accordingly to either keep losing weight or move to a maintenance diet that allows for more carbohydrate. There's a great diagram in the '92 version of his book where he explains that people who are obese and metabolically broken are so far skewed to one side that a "balanced" intervention diet would not be enough to correct their physiology. In order to bring them back to normalcy and health, the initial correction has to be skewed very far in the *opposite* direction, hence the <20g CHO/day. *After that,* individual carb tolerance can be determined for a diet that's more practical (and palatable) over the long term.

    I understand that low-carb isn't for everyone, and it's been eye-opening to follow your evolving thoughts on the issue. But I'm with you 100% when you talk about the therapeutic power of carb restriction. It's just like supplements — you can have a therapeutic dose and a maintenance dose. You're not supposed to be on the super-high therapeutic dose for life…only until the deficiency is corrected, and then you dial it back down. After doing thesis research on hyperinsulinemia as it relates to Alzheimer's, no one will convince me that there's a better wham-bam therapy than a ketogenic diet.

  2. Jenny says

    Thanks Amy,
    High Fat Low Carb ketogenic works best for me, manages my energy levels, my weight, my anxiety and for the first time in my life (I’m 41) I am not troubled with terrible sugar cravings. For a long time I was doing ok because I was avoiding wheat and eating lots of green leafy vegetables. Now I am doing great eating heaps of fat (coconut oil, butter, bacon etc)!!!

  3. Martin says

    Robb, in response to your response to the “The Potato Diet Hack” question: it would be great if you could have Phinney and/or Volek on your podcast. You cannot have a serious discussion of the topic (low/high carbs/protein/fat) without considering the kind of research they do.

    Also, the biggest problem with the potato diet is not the lack of protein, it’s the lack of the essential fatty acids.

  4. Annick says

    My kid don’t go to sleep easyly. It took a long time to before I started giving her melatonin. I started when the doctor told me to (and after looking for use of melatonin). Her teacher told me she never saw someone that tired in all her teaching years (maybe 25) and when reevaluated for ADHD, they told me that my girl didn’t have ADHD but just big fatigue. You could say that I put her to bed to late but parents think I’m a freek because my kids go to bed early (in third grade 7h00). I evaluate the time of sleep based on the fact if they are capable of waking up by their own in the morning. For the eating part, we have cut so much (and we were supposely eating healthy). The best thing for her fatigue was to change the breakfast (no more toast). I’d say she is now 90% paleo. Also, she goes outside everyday! Without melatonin, she is still have problems to go to sleep. I’ve read that if you don’t need it, it won’t change anything anyway. Is it true? We try to diminish the quantity to the minimum (1/8 of 3mg). With nothing she doesn’t sleep but with this (quantity just mentionned) it’s another ball game.

  5. says

    There is a 0.3 mg melatonin available instead of splitting pills. That dose was researched in children with Anglemen’s syndrome with promising results at MIT. That is within the physiologic dose at least.

  6. Kared says

    FINALLY, it’s been said there has to be a calorie deficit to lose weight. The baloney about “don’t worry about calories, just eat low carb” is wrong.

    • says

      Yes…BUT again, this recommendation works a remarkable amount of the time due to the satiety features of LC/high protein. I insist that people understand this and not throw a decent coaching technique out the window. When we are trying to get folks to change their eating, they are often terrified of “feeling hungry.” this is especially true if the person is insulin resistant. Telling people to “pick from these foods, eat to satiety” works “most” of the time. In the cases in which folks overeat, a simple food log can help the coach and trainee to dial things in, and this after we have typically reversed significant metabolic issues and food cravings. Omitting some facts while coaching can actually get people further down the road in some cases. Pleas see my post on LC and paleo from today.

      • Kared says

        Robb, Perhaps my statement was too abrupt. Your reply was right on. Post menopausal women (okay, only n=1) struggle, struggle — S T R U G G L E with weight. And though I believe LC is the right direction, a LITTLE more emphasis should be paid to the fact many people do overeat and calories do count. My first diet book was Dr. Stillman’s Quick Weight Loss Diet I bought in 1972, which worked beautifully for that mere 10-pound gain in my 20s. You are my first-round guru now because of your science background, and I guess it struck me as a new revelation of yours when you mentioned calories count. My take-away now: Eat LC, watch calories, watch biomarkers, stir, rinse, remeasure and pour.

    • Martin says

      A simple calorie deficit won’t do either: you might be in the state of calorie deficit, lose overall weight by losing muscle / bone mass and thus increasing the body fat % and in some condition by actually adding fat tissue.

      Robb, as for the low carb / high fat diet you believe is optimal for weight loss: do you think that eating protein as the energy source (not just the building blocks source) and thus forcing the body to be in the constant gluconeogenesis state is really a good idea?

  7. says

    Hey Robb,

    In the first question you answered about printed meat, you mentioned that the photosynthetic efficiency of sunlight converting into cellulose and glucose is around 40%, but from all the sources I’ve read photosynthetic energy conversion is more around 6%.


    Laboratory solar panels convert energy far more efficiently. The bio-ethanol deal, like you said, is indeed rather stupid because solar panels can do it better.

    However, the point is kind of moot. Until we can create meat that is equally nutritious, delicious, and energy dense…AND know how much energy that costs, it doesn’t really matter and I imagine grass-fed meat wins out. Also, maintaining a grass field and letting animals eat it is a hell of a lot easier and cheaper than maintaining a 1MW solar panel array.

Join the Discussion