Turn Your Day Around If You Have A Weak Day At The Gym
April 10th 2019
As strength training athletes, we all love to have awesome days at the gym. However, the inevitable will come where you may suffer a lost night of sleep or you did not have the best foods to eat for a certain day. Or maybe, you are just not performing at the gym. You may think you are having a bad day or even a weak day at the gym. How do you deal with it? But most importantly, how do you solve it and make it so that you have a great day at the gym?
Weak day in the gym
As long as you are sleeping over 7 hours and eating enough food, having rare weak days at the gym can happen at any time. The key is to not stress about it, have patience in your programming and to evaluate your current fitness condition in order to see if you need to take a day off or not.
i) Do not stress about it
Look, what has happened already happened. You cannot change the past. However, you can change the present by changing your mindset. Start by changing your mindset about how you felt about your past events.
For example, you may have felt like you could have done more. You may feel angry at yourself, someone or something. I understand. We all have our demons and challenges that we need to overcome in order to become the strongest versions of ourselves.
Shrug it off. Do not dwell on the past and focus on the future. You have a home to live in. You have warm clothes and hot food at your disposal. What is there not to enjoy about life? All your basic necessities are met! Life is truly wonderful.
ii) Emergency deload
You did not plan to have a weak day or a few consecutive weak days. You just feel really tired and fatigued? You could take an emergency “deload” and just take a day or two off. It is not a traditional deload that is planned but you can really only plan for so much.
Often, as lifters continue to progress in their strength and physique, they neglect to listen to their bodies. They are more focused now on the research and optimization that they forgot to listen to the small voice inside them. This gut feeling tells you whether or not your body has had enough or if it can keep going. If your body is giving up, it may be time to give it more rest than needed. As long as this is not a frequent occurrence, then that should be fine. If you need to take frequent emergency deloads, you may want to change on your health or take a look at your programming to see if there are not any outstanding issues.
iii) Have patience
Your body will progress as fast as it can. Unless you selected programs that increments too slow for your rate of progression or you are not following any program, your body is adapting to the training stimulus. Strength progress and aesthetic gains are not always linear. For beginner athletes, they may appear linear since you are able to make progress every workout. However, you will notice that over time it may not always be the case.
Should you change anything if you have a weak day?
Depending on how many weak days you have in the gym should determine your strategy. For instance, if you only had one weak day and your performance resumed the following workout, there is nothing that needs to be changed.
However, if you are having multiple weak days in a row and are failing your workouts for a couple of consecutive workouts, it is time to think critically and logically about your programming and life.
Are you sleeping enough?
Sleep is so undervalued in the lifting community. Many younger lifters take for granted how powerful sleep is in order to promote growth. It is one of the primary drivers of all your anabolic synthesis.
So, have you been getting over 7-8 hours of sleep? If you have, did you get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep? It is one thing to be in bed for 7 hours and another thing to actually be getting 7 hours of sleep. If you have not been getting enough sleep, it is highly recommended that you fix your sleep habits before you decide to change programs. It is not the program’s fault if you are not getting enough rest.
Are you stressed?
When your body is stressed, it releases cortisol as a response. This can be due to school, work, or a combination of other life factors. If your cortisol levels remain high for a prolonged period of time, you can experience muscle fatigue as a symptom. You may be familiar with other symptoms as a decrease in immune system response, which is also a cause of you being more likely to get sick.
Managing your stress levels is another crucial component of being a successful lifter. In addition to that, you are also winning in life if you keep your stress hormones to a minimum.
Are you on a caloric deficit?
The body functions normally when you get just enough calories in order to meet basic metabolic needs. For many people today, they are on some sort of diet in order to lose weight. This is not an issue in the short term, but a long period of dieting can cause you to suffer from muscular weakness. In addition to that, aggressive calorie deficits will drain your energy and cause you to feel very fatigued.
Make sure to eat enough calories so that you do not get into a caloric deficit. If you are trying to lose weight, keep in mind that you can enjoy strength gains for a brief moment in time. But if you continue to diet, you will experience more symptoms of fatigue and weakness.
Are you at the end of linear progression?
If you are a strength training beginner, there may come a time where progress suddenly stops. You have failed multiple workouts in a row. Okay, you took a deload and worked your way back up. And you got stuck again. You are no longer able to make progress every workout and this can be a sure tell sign that you should move onto another program, like an intermediate program.
Are you getting sick?
If you are getting sick, you have no business in trying to strength train. Your main priority should be switched to getting healthy again. Depending on how severe your illness is, you may need to take as long as needed before you get back to the gym.
I recall many times where I felt under the weather. For probably 90% of those times, I went to go to the gym and still execute my workout. I was able to do complete all my working sets but it was a struggle. Not to mention that it also felt horrible hours after the gym with a grueling headache and body chills.
You need to prioritize what is important in your life and to, especially, take care of your health. The gym will always be there. But if you are not careful with your health, you will not be at the gym to exercise your strength and grow.
Are you staying hydrated?
Have you ever noticed that after a good night’s sleep, your mouth is dry? You feel slightly lethargic and maybe even a little weak? This could be a reason why you are also feeling weak at the gym too!
Not drinking enough water can impact your gym day. Sometimes, you may get so busy that drinking water and eating enough food becomes a secondary priority. Understand that your body needs to stay hydrated in order to maintain balance and harmony.
There are many variables that can contribute to you having a bad day at the gym. Do not place too much emphasis on it unless it becomes a regular occurrence. Lifters must understand that progress may not always be linear and that weak days can occur randomly.