Should I Train Even When I’m Tired?

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Question: Some days when I go to train I have already had practice with the team and in the gym I just don’t have the energy to do what I can when I don’t have practice. Should I even go to the gym? Is what I am doing effective when I am tired?
Answer: My old training partner, 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, used to say on the days when it just wasn’t clicking in the gym, “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” Stress, the job, school, practice, each of these has the potential to drain the energy for working out completely from your body. If you can’t find your training groove within 20 minutes of beginning your workout then you should cut it a little short by reducing the number of sets, increase the reps, decrease the weight from what your normal training would be and get out within another 15 minutes or so. Sometimes you just need a change or a break from the routine. Just get back into your training within a day or so and when you return you should feel like challenging yourself again.
If you are tired from all the additional physical activity with which you are engaged, evaluate what your long term goals are and how best to reach those goals. It is unlikely that taking a day off from the gym will disrupt your progress and may even be beneficial. If your practice tends to be unusually long or intense, take a break. If your legs are beat from all the running, then focus on upper body. If even upper body workouts are a bit off, make sure that you are giving your training 100% effort and intensity and not using practice as an excuse. !00% intensity will stimulate changes even if your absolute best isn’t as strong as it normally would be. For instance, if you can normally bench 200 pounds for 6 reps and that is your 100% effort, you will stimulate change as your body recovers. If 175 pounds is all you can muster and you know you are giving 100% to get that, then don’t be surprised if you get sore from it even though it is less than your normal workout weight. Your absolute best is still your absolute best and your body will adapt to the stimulation and change from it.
After your training comes the most important part for you, recovery and growth. You need to eat foods high in protein and carbohydrates to restore your energy and repair muscle tissue enabling it to become stronger. Sleep is essential as well and is the time that growth and repair occurs. Don’t over-extend your body’s recovery systems by staying up late after all these workouts and maintain hydration even though it is cold and you don’t think about drinking water as much.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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