No doubt you've probably seen this meme before?
(maybe not this exact one, but has the same words on it!)
It got me thinking.
Sometimes you can't go hard. Sometimes you should be knocking your session on the head and going home. It's the smart thing to do.
I'm going to put this bluntly.
Your nutrition and recovery is part of the program.
Yes. I know this may appear remarkably obvious. But in practice, how many of us listen to our bodies before it's too late? I know that I've certainly been guilty of this in the past.
We need to ensure that we pay attention and program for recovery (physical, mental, emotional and our wider life) and nutrition, with the same meticulous detail that we give our exercise selection, reps, and sets range.
If there is one principle that you need to, no, must understand if you are to have any success in your training at all, it is Hans Selye’s principle of General Adaptation Syndrome.
Let me show you how it all fits in.
Back in 1936 Selye observed that there are 3 key phases of a stress response which cause a general adaptation to that stress.
In our case, the stress is the training stimulus. Here are the 3 key phases
1# The Alarm Stage
This is where your body is experiencing a WTF?! moment. The body labels the stressor as a threat or danger to disrupt balance (homeostasis).
A whole cascade of hormones are released, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol among others.
Metabolic processes occur to produce ATP to fuel the physical activity.
In this alarm stage it is important to note that the stressor must be significant enough to disrupt the current level of balance that the body is used to.
This can be acute (that is within a single training session) or chronic (overload induced over a period of time through various sessions).
Now this is a very simplistic overview, but you get the idea right?
2# The Resistance Stage
The WTF?! moment has now passed. The body initially becomes weaker, as it gets to work repairing, and fortifying itself against a similar stress.
It’s at this stage you will see a slight depression in performance. If you try the same session again you will notice that you cannot lift as heavy, or you may not be able to be lift as quickly.
This is natural. The duration of this depends on several things, including your current level of training
A novice trainee requires less of a stressor to disrupt homeostasis as they are nowhere near their genetic potential. They can often recover from session to session.
As a novice you will often notice that you get stronger, and can add more weight to the bar from session to session. You will see gains more quickly in your training.
A more advance trainee will require a longer or greater stressor, this may not be in a single session but accumulated over time.
These people are your hard gainers, and it may take months or years to add significant weight to their lifts.
The duration of the depression is dependent on your ability to recover. This is in part determined by the following important factors.
3# The Exhaustion Stage
Not a good place to be. It’s like being stuck on the death star in Star Wars as it’s going down - it seemed like a good idea and a cool place to be at the time, but now you regret it.
During this phase the stress has been persistent for too long, and we have not cultivated the right environment for our body to recover.
Perhaps we haven’t slept enough, our nutrition has been crap, we’re stressed to the eyeballs and going too hard at the gym for too long.
You performance becomes erratic, we can often see our numbers drop, immune system becomes weaker and we pick up all kinds of colds, and illnesses. We feel lethargic, the hand brake is on our sex drive and we may even notice a little weight gain or losing our muscle tone.
Plus to top it off, our mood swings are all over the shop like a roller coaster. Now I know that this will probably sound like 90% of you guys out there, but hold tight. You can turn it around.
A few weeks off training, or reducing the load by 50% for a few weeks (1 -2 ) can make a big difference.
Get some good quality food in you, and sleep. Plus figure out a way to manage your life stressors and BOOM!
Give yourself some time and you’ll be back on track in no time at all.
Remember, too many people focus on fitness. While not enough people focus on health.
[NOTE: This article is taken from my Raw Strength eBook. If you found this useful, or want to learn how to make your training more effective, you can download your free copy >>Here<<. You will also get a bonus ebook, Beyond Body Transformations too]