Last week was basically one big Fail.
I wasn’t sleeping well. I was continuously dehydrated (my own fault for not keeping up with my H2O intake when I get busy at work), I was craving sugar like Cray-Cray (Hello, symptoms of sleep deprivation!) and I had an Epic Fail in the weight room on Tuesday.
I went in for a heavy squat day, did my warm up sets, and then went ahead with my work sets. That’s when my body started to cry. I have been stuck at 145 for at least a month (probably more like 6 weeks by now?) but had been able to complete 3×5 at 145 for each of my last couple of heavy squat days. Last week, however, was a different story. I got to rep #3 on my first set and hit failure.
Ok, Not quite that bad, but you get the idea.
That was just the beginning. Once I realized that my squats were going to be totally craptastic for the day, I lowered the weight and proceeded with a lower weight, low volume leg day. It wasn’t scheduled to be a de-load week (this week was), but the way I was feeling, I knew I had to listen to my body and give myself some slack. I kept the rest of the week
pretty very low volume, but still felt tired, sluggish, and unmotivated. Friday’s leg day was one that would normally be super light, even on a de-load week, but I ended up being sore from it through Sunday.
Not only was I tired, sluggish, and unmotivated, but my hamstring flared up again as well. It hasn’t gone back to 100% since I first started feeling it, but last week it got a little bit more angry than it had been lately.
My body was in fail mode. However, I wasn’t my usual moronic self who would just push through because I wasn’t “scheduled” for a de-load, and I actually listened to my screaming, pleading body. Looking back, I probably should have just stayed away from the gym totally, but hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? And I can’t change that now anyway.
But you know what? My light week did WONDERS. I came into the gym this Monday, following a glorious 9 hours of sleep Sunday night, and hit 150×3 on my back squats. WOOP!
Moral of the story is: I was able to turn my failed lift one week into a new PR in the next. The combination of sleep, stress reduction, and general rest is a powerful thing, especially if you find yourself in a rut or having a generally sub-par workout. After giving myself the time off that my body so clearly required, I have been sleeping much better this week, my workouts have felt much better, and I’m not the irritable B*tch who showed up towards the tail end of last week.
To this I say: Success!
*Note: I was reading an old issue of Shape magazine this morning, where Molly Sims was talking about working out for 30 days straight. It made me want to cry just thinking about it… Give your body a break, people!
Have you ever had to change your de-load week or rest days because of outside stress? Do you take de-load weeks or scheduled time off from working out? Do you notice how much stress or sleep deprivation can effect your workouts?
Happy Friday, Happy People!
While having the motivation to get up off your couch and get to the gym is important, almost equally as important is knowing when your body needs a day off. No, I’m not talking about skipping a lift because you forgot your ponytail holder, or because you can’t tear yourself away from that episode of Real Housewives (Yes, I know, it IS hard to stop watching Taylor having a breakdown!), I’m talking about real, physical road blocks that may make lifting more hurtful than helpful.
Take yesterday morning, for example. I have been battling some type of mild virus for the past couple of days. Nothing that has really knocked me on my ass, but just enough to give me a sore throat and make my entire body feel fatigued. Add on to that the fact that I have not been sleeping well the past few nights, and you can imagine how motivated I felt at 6:30 am.
Clue #1 Why I shouldn’t have lifted: Riding the T to the gym/work, I felt a little feverish and dizzy. Although at the time I figured maybe that was just the fumes from the guy sitting to my left, and the T driver who apparently was just learning how to use the breaks.
Clue #2 Why I shouldn’t have lifted: While changing for my workout, I still felt a little feverish, dizzy, and just overall crappy. Did I listen to my body? NO, of course not. I hopped on the bike for a 20 minute warm-up ride, and at that point felt even worse, as well as dehydrated and weak. Yep, there it is: Clue #3. But I still didn’t listen to my body, because Damn it, I was going to lift. The day before had been an off day, I certainly couldn’t take 2 (gasp!) days off in a row.
So even while my body was screaming at me to go hang out, drink some water, and relax, into the weight room I went. Want to know what I did?
- Squats. At 50 lb less than usual, because I just did not have the energy to put up any more.
- Lightish RDLs – those were ok, because they’re my favorite.
- 2 sad, sad sets of SL Split Squats
- Superset x3 of Kettlebell Split Squats and Glute/Ham raises
- Some extremely pathetic core work.
All of this was done at about this pace:
The lift itself is not pathetic, because it’s honestly all I could muster at the time. But what IS pathetic is that I just didn’t listen to my body. At. All. The whole time, my back was aching, my hips were aching, and I kept telling myself “I really shouldn’t be doing this today”, but just kept pushing nonetheless. Eventually I did come to my senses and spent the last 15 minutes just foam rolling the crap out of my hips and IT bands.
Now, the smart thing would have been to actually take these 2 days off in a row, get a little more sleep, and help my body to kick this nagging virus. Instead, I may have set myself back a couple more days before I’ll actually feel good enough to get a good lift in. Normallly, I’m pretty good at listening to myself and realizing when a rest day is essential, but yesterday, not so much, and now I’m paying for it. Now I’m nursing extra sore hips and even more general fatigue.
So, moral of the story is,take a lesson from me, and listen to your body! Sometimes a day off is the best thing for your body and your health.