Advice on taking time off
I am feeling beat to hell this weekend. Everything hurts. My hair has DOMS. So here's the question. Should I man up, push through, and see what happens, or take a day off or maybe deload for a week.
My current thought is to hammer it with full intensity this week, eat more, and see how I feel next weekend. If I still feel like I got hit by a truck, then do a deload with some lighter (50%ish) weight and higher reps to get blood flowing but give my CNS and joints some rest.
I'm not worried about soreness and malaise so much as injury prevention. Let me know your thoughts.
I wouldn't over-think this mate, if you're feeling that bad then take a light week. You'll be stronger by next week.
I'm with Fazc. Take a few days completely off and then if you're borderline maybe just have a play day.
Thanks Faz, BtB. As much as I hate not getting into the gym, I will take tomorrow off unless I am feeling 100% and play it by ear for Wednesday.
I agree. Don't think in terms of weeks, but days. It may just be a couple of days before you feel ready again.
Now this is interesting to me. How bad do you have to feel before you begin to make these judgements? I am still relatively new to this whole weightlifting world, so I am not sure about my own reactions to training.
I know some days I feel like hammered shit, I can't even do my normal activities without a serious hitch in my giddyup, and there's no chance I can workout, but I go anyway and I manage to do some decent things, even if they are less weight than the week before. I also know for certain that some days I wake up stiff as a board and truly wonder if I'm going to make it through my session at all, much less my day, but then start to feel decent once I start lifting and get going. Then other days, I feel pretty sore, but fairly decent overall, and yet when I start to workout, I can't really do anything anywhere close to decent weight.
So, what's the line? How much soreness is acceptable? Or is it all mental? If your brain isn't gung ho, then you call it and move on?
Play the long game and give yourself a light week. Your body will thank you for it. Right now I follow 5/3/1 so I deload every 4weeks. Ive noticed the small injuries I used to get have stopped since switching over. Before that as a general rule I would only take a light week if I felt like you do for three days in a row.
I'm pretty sure just about everyone who lifts wakes up stiff as a board, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything more than you should stretch first thing in the AM. If you're going into your workout feeling shaky and all is well, then you're probably fine. However, one day you will go in and things won't be so right, and that's your body's way of telling you its time for a break. That may be significant soreness carried over from the previous workout, not hitting typical numbers on multiple exercises, feeling tired for days on end, etc..
Having your numbers start to go in reverse over several workouts (2-3, everyone has off days) is a sure give away. If it happens, take time off or end up injured.
Again, this is all individualistic. We, and you, won't have the answer for everything; a lot of our success if built around trial and error and what we learn about ourselves along the way. You're just gonna have to find yours.
I have been doing this long enough to know one thing is true: "The body can sometimes lie and tell you the blunt truth, and is at times, difficult to determine which, but it is a condition we deal with regularly (and it will not stop), and we must come to terms with.
So what can we do?
This may not work for everyone, but:
Use the data from the diet and fitness journals along with appropriate application of knowledge learned to have the tools available to "work with" to allow you to have a foundation to "work from" to make improvements, "when" complications come up during diet and fitness training.
This is being written, just to bring about some thought and examination on what one is doing.
The following are only examples.
First some foundation of common sense:
Deficit dieting: When we create calorie deficits, which in turn can sometimes limit ratio of macros, and limits calories to solicit tissue loss, one thing is certain (IMO), the person's ability to recover from workouts is also effected. Calorie and/or macro deficiencies can also effect energy levels and mood--even if the spacing of workouts are pretty good under these deficit diet conditions.
IMO, you examine your circumstances. What is done is largely dependent upon the content of the diet, volume/intensity of training, and rest days allowed for recovery. If everything looks good (diet, spacing of Workouts, volume/intensity, etc), it isn't illogical to error on the side of recovery, when deficit dieting.
Another example, one is tired all the time, spacing and volume of workouts look good, calorie deficits are set wisely, but once looking at the diet journal wants learns that fats are a little low when on a calorie and carbohydrate deficit sort of diet. If one has studied the application (s) of a combination of a low carbohydrate, low calorie diet, one learns that fat needs to be generally higher as compared to other types of diets. So doing a little tweaking here may help while the body moves and switches its energy sources. This could be one cause, as it numerically stands out from the rest of the considerations--under this circumstance.
And, IMO, under this specific circumstance, one trains, though they do not feel like it. We have all been there: feeling tired and lethargic prior to the workout, but had great workout afterward. You see the body (felt tired, and not willing to work), and it just plainly lied to you, because its off doing its internal business of working with fats (releasing ketones,etc), and its beloved carbohydrates are scarce and nearly nonexistent, and (at the beginning especially), doesn't like that much. So, it circumstances like this one, you have to grab your brain, force yourself to train, and use education as your guide.
You examine your diet circumference, your workout volume/intensity, rest/recuperation days, and see if there is anything that may be causing the current physical condition. Then use education as your guide, make adjustments/corrections, which are far too numerous to mention.
Dieting Surplus: "Most" that create a calorie surplus are wanting to solicit tissue gains in one form or another. The ability to recover is higher as compared to deficit dieting. This is largely person-dependent, but large meals with some people can induce sleepiness and lethargy due to the type and amounts of hormonal responses.
Same thing applies here: You examine your diet circumference (like eating smaller meals, and spacing them out better, etc), your workout volume/intensity, rest/recuperation days, and see if there is anything that may be causing the current physical condition. Then use education as your guide, make adjustments/corrections, which are far too numerous to mention.
“Be Wise: The Body can Lie and Tell you the Truth”
(“A Keen Mental Eye on Bodily Responses”)
Be wise, the body does not like to change from the atypical norm given it, and will give stipulations to this effect through mental and physical responses, but at the same time, is a very efficient and adaptive bodily mechanic.
For example: The body would like nothing more than to sit on the couch munching “Doritos” all day while watching television and gain weight. The body is in its “comfort zone”. But, then “mentally” you decide to change and set a mental path for this change—but, physically no change has occurred yet—Mental and Physical Separation has just occurred.
However, once you begin an outward action in furtherance of this mental change and this begins to effect and affect the body, physically (though diet and training stimulation), something rather extraordinary occurs—especially at the beginning. The separation of mind and physical body is now erased and become enjoined. Why? Because the biological changes stimulated by diet and training start to affect your brain and thus the various other mental aspects of “yourself”; the body just simply doesn’t like to change and is resisting.
Understanding this problematic, but essential and normal response is important. Some persons are really motivated until this essential factor begins to wear them down little by little. What one doesn’t realize is the reason for this response: The change has already begun—and the fruit from this effort is in fact a positive one to embrace.
This simple “change epidemic” is quite powerful at the beginning for good reason, and its one we will encounter throughout diet and training, at various intensity levels.
This shows how powerful the mind is in simplicity form. As time moves forward—this adjoined mental and physical composite continues its bi-lateral unity. However, some other changes occur in the journey.
If one gets past the “initial resistance” the body will show outward indications of adapting—this can be both positive and negative. The mind is still present and persistent with the path chosen for the body, so they’re still adjoined; however, what determines further unity enjoinment is the minds perception of the bodily response whether positive or negative.
Example #1: You just come off of two days of complete rest, and in your mind you gave the body enough recuperation time and rest. But, your bodily feeling is one of “laziness” or lack of energy (we are assuming diet is correct in this example).
Is this a lack of rest or just pure “laziness” on part of the physical body? This example flips back to the brain—to take charge of the situation. You are enjoining your mentality to a negative situation based on “Facts”—not feeling.
Example #2: Your still enjoined mentally and physically, but your body isn’t returning the fruits of this investment-quite like you expected. Again, the body only responds “favorably or unfavorably” based on the type of stimulants given. The body has no mind, and has no way of knowing if you are lifting “Bricks or “Rocks”, and therefore has no choice but to respond to the function of those “Bricks and Rocks”. In contrast, it’s the same with the diet—it still knows nothing—but uses what is ingested according to its design intention.
With this in mind, your mind is going to make or break you, and you can cause a separation of the mind and body if you are not careful. So who is at fault? The mind or the body? (assuming healthy individuals). Your body “knows didly-squat” , your mind is at fault.
Your body is only responding to the mental application you have provided: in and outside the diet and in and outside training sessions. Its responding to what you have allowed mentally. Thus, you need to adjust mentally to obtain a different outward bodily reaction. Your fruits will be determined on how you mentally respond.
If you look at the bodily response (whether negative or positive) as just that, “a response” this can change you. A bad response may not be the one you are looking for, but it can indicate something is “amuck” and something needs to be changed. And, this has to occur within your mind to allow the body to adapt and change.
CNS fatigue could be from training, or it could be from something as simple as your body fighting a virus. If you've had some pretty heavy squat and deadlifts sessions within the last few days and the weights start to feel heavy on subsequent workouts, then it's probably lifting related.
Physical fatigue, on the other hand, is a more unique beast. Down days are not always from "over-reaching" while training. If you have 2 days in a row where you physically feel like a slug and your body feels like a wreck, it's likely the cause is from over-reaching and a few days off wouldn't hurt.
One thing you don't want to do is plan an extended deload period based on one bad workout or day. All too often you will see someone have an off day in the gym and post something like:
"Bad day. Couldn't hit any PRs and felt tired. Going to take a deload week."
Here are some truths I have learned over the years:
-1/4th of my workouts suck for no reason.
-When I feel like crap before a workout I often set PRs during the workout.
-When I feel awesome before a workout I often have a flat workout.
We have to be careful over-analyzing how we feel. It's not always a good indicator of athletic performance. If your CNS is making everything feel heavy, back off. Don't risk injury.
If you have 2 days in a row where you feel sluggish and your body feels beat down, take a few days off. Take things day by day and hit the gym when you feel mentally ready for a workout, but don't force a week long deload when it might not be needed.
Ignore your mental state or physical fatigue that isn't accompanied by CNS issues or by your body feeling beat down.
These are my own personal guidelines. Mileage may vary. Above all things, listen to your body.
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