Why Do I Feel So Weak Some Days? + What Can I Do About It?
May 29th 2019
Feeling weak sometimes should not be a death sentence for your workout. But is it salvageable? If you have been strength training for any amount of time, you will know that every single training session with not be butterflies and sunshine. There will be times where you feel completely awesome. Everything is so smooth and easy. On the flip side, there will be times where you feel absolutely horrible. You may attribute this as “feeling weak” where you cannot seem to gain any momentum no matter what you try. But for the most part, most of your workout days would feel average. Not too bad but not a breeze. Today, let us focus on why you may feel so weak on some days and how you can eliminate this feeling once and for all.
Why do I feel so weak some days?
Lifters may feel weak some days due to one or a combination of the following reasons:
- You are getting sick
- You did not get enough sleep
- You are stressed out
- You are feeling physically tired
- You have changed your diet
- You are making poor lifestyle choices
You might be getting sick
When your body is fighting off pathogens, it needs to work harder than it regularly does. If you are lifting weights, especially heavy weights, you will find that your recovery and performance may be compromised. After all, the number one goal of life is to stay alive. Your body does not care if you increase 5lbs on your squats and deadlifts today. All it cares about is keeping you alive until the next day. So, it will do just that. It will use as many resources and create as many body reactions needed in order to fight off any infections.
Loss of sleep
Have you ever worked our drunk? What about being hung over? Did you know that losing sleep has similar effects to being drunk? Because your body has not acquired enough resting time to clear your brain fog, you are essentially walking around “drunk” throughout the day.
If you lose sleep and performance is impacted in the gym, you do not need to think about any other reason. Rather, you need to accept your results for what they are.
What can I do then? Skip the workout or continue?
I have see-sawed on this issue for many years. I have come to the conclusion that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It really does not matter what you do today but you do need to be aware that any decision you make today will be the building blocks for your kingdom in the future.
So, I would say that you should continue with your workout. Give it your all. If you are unable to get all your recommended reps, do your best. In fact, working out after losing some sleep last night may help you sleep better the next time you go to bed. Since you have exhausted your body even more of resources, you will finally be too tired to do anything and can finally get some shut eye.
If you feel something consistently nagging you in your mind, that is a sure way to sap your strength. If you are constantly worried about something, if you are constantly annoyed, that is no way of treating your body with respect. This creates a very hostile environment internally. Since you are already committed to lifting weights, which is already a physically stressful event, this is not a good combination.
Sometimes, you will feel worn-out. So did our ancestors. But if they gave into that pain, would you still be here today?
You need to manage your physical fatigue. This can be a temporary symptom of sleepiness and can disappear after a few minutes. If you are physically unable to complete your working set reps consistently for a long period of time, you need to change something. Whether it is your lifestyle choices, work, programming, etc, something needs to be readjusted because if you constantly need to work around your program, what is the point of the program if you are not pushing yourself to your limits?
Partial carnivore diet effects
For the past three weeks, I have implemented a partial carnivore diet where I took away most of the carbs during my breakfast and lunchtime. Replacing the oats and rice I would normally have, I would just eat a piece of steak. At first, I was only able to eat 8oz. Now, I am eating 16oz and am feeling a bit hungrier. I may need to up the portion size soon.
The reason I mention this is that diet changes can affect your energy levels. With the new change, I do sometimes feel a bit flat during the evenings when I workout. During the mornings and afternoons, I feel about the same, if not better. But once the evening rolls around, I do feel a bit sluggish and tired. I feel that I want to go take a nap.
Zero or low carbs
By cutting a majority of carbs away, I am essentially eliminating a source of energy from my body. Now, my body has a smaller energy well of carbohydrates to draw from, which was something I never challenged my body through. I was always eating a moderate amount of carbohydrate with each meal in the past.
Fats are also a source of energy that your body can use. However, carbohydrates are much easier to use and easier to break down, so your body will use that first before it decides to break down your fat.
The power of your lifestyle
I have been doing some research about this topic and there was a lifter who claimed that he saw a direct correlation between his lifestyle choices, ie eating, sleeping, drinking, partying, smoking, and how well he did doing a particular workout.
I would wholeheartedly agree. As legendary bodybuilder and powerlifter Stan Efferding, AKA The White Rhino once said, it is less about what you do inside the gym and more about what you do outside of the gym. This is a powerful message and it should resonate with all lifters on all experience levels. Sure, you can be the best athlete and also “enjoy” your life being reckless at night and doing all the things your doctors, coaches, and nutritionist told you not to do. Compare this is an above average athlete who is already in bed because he knows that working out hard is one thing, but it is his eating habits, sleeping habits and lifestyle habits that will really dictate the longevity of his career.
So, you might have a weak day at the gym. It happens even to the best athletes. Lifters need to understand how to pivot and adapt to the stresses that are present in their lives. They need to be able to change their mindsets and think quickly in order to not get left behind with negativity. Have a long term vision for your goals and know that even though you may have lost one battle today, know that being consistent and continuing to put your best foot forward will equip you to win the war.