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bad workout

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:00 pm
by robertscott
I was going to post this in the lounge, but I figure it might actually spark some interesting opinion so...

How do you cope with a crap workout? What I mean is, say you've felt like hell all day, and you get to the gym still feeling like hell. Just for any reason, maybe you're sick, tired, hungover, achy joints, whatever.

What sort of workout would you try and do? Would you just try and do your normal routine and accept a bit of a loss in strength? Or do you back off a bit, maybe try some new stuff or some prehab kind of thing?

I remember one of the t-nation authors, I think it might have been Eric Cressey, saying just get your reps in.

I ask this because I had a TERRIBLE workout tonight, ended up just cutting it short and leaving in disgust at myself. On reflection, I think I could have maybe have done something a little more productive.

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:36 pm
by hoosegow
You grind through it robert. That is what makes us better than everyone else. We have days we don't want to go to the gym. We go anyway. We have days we want to quit on our training. We grind it out. Anybody can quit. Quitting is easy. Normal people do it every day. I don't want to be normal.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being normal. It is, in fact, normal. When you accept normalicy, you come to terms with yourself. It doesn't mean you are a bad person. Normal people aren't bad people. Just because you quit when things get hard doesn't make you less of a person. Hell, quitting on your training or your training session makes a lot of sense. It's hard. A normal person doesn't want to do something that is difficult.

Don't be disgusted with yourself for quitting today. Relax in the comfort that you are normal. You are just like everyone else - no better, no worse. Be at ease that when you walk by folks and look them in the eyes that you are the same as them. In fact, go up to a stranger. Give him a big hug and call him, "Brother."

(hopefully you know this is all somewhat in jest)

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:04 pm
by Jebus
You just gotta man up and do it. The only way to get through hell is to keep going!

When I feel like $h1t I try to imagine other people in this world that have literally been through hell. And then I let out a war cry as loud as I can and do what ever I need to do. lol I have actually done that before, but only while training outside. I would never do it in a gym, even though I sometimes feel like it.

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:52 pm
by Jungledoc
I don't think there's one right answer for every situation. Sometimes when you feel awful, it's better to take a rest day, go home, get some nutrition, get some sleep, get better and come back next time and do well. Sometimes it's better to go to the gym and do something, almost anything. Sometimes if you warm up a little more carefully than usual, you can still end up going heavy.

You have to be able to distinguish between an attitude issue and a physical issue. If you are ill, don't push it. If you are just being lazy or discouraged, then you should cowboy up and get it done.

I've had days when I went ahead with a workout, and realized that it was a mistake to do it. I've had days when I almost didn't go, but ended up going and having a good workout. And I've certainly had days when I went home and went to bed and knew that was the right thing to do.

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:19 am
by Nevage
I know what you mean, when you literally just go in and feel weak. I get through it because it's such a rare occasion I just tell myself that it's due. But at the same time I still try as hard as possible and if it's still not working I get very pi$$ed off and if going nuts swearing after a terrible set doesn't work I'll go lighter. Lately I've found caffeine diminishes such feelings, I literally haven't had a day where I thought 'naa I'm not up for this', since. What's even crazier is that my squat has one up 20kg/44lbs in 2 weeks and I'm looking forward to the next session! Bearing in mind I don't train for strength this is a massive leap (min. 8 reps). I've never gone up that much (just under 20%) in my whole training life so it's either a massive placebo effect or something's working. I'm really tollerant to caffeine which is weird since I'm not a caffeine fan. It's the best 3 quid/100g I've ever spent!!!!

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:36 am
by robertscott
Jungledoc wrote:you should cowboy up and get it done.
I like that phrase! I'm going to start using it.

It's weird there's been times when I've gone to the gym feeling like hell but once I'm there I hit a new max, and other times I get to the gym feeling great and then my warm up sets feel like they're going to kill me.

I suppose there's just so many factors involved. I remember Christian Thibaudeau (sp?) in one of his articles saying that for every ten workouts, you'll improve 4, stay the same for 4 and get worse for 2 (i can't remember if that was the exact proportions but it was something like that).

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:57 pm
by frogbyte
I've noticed over the last year or so that some of my best workouts are usually days when I'm mentally exhausted/sleepy. I've been pondering on and off for quite some time why that might be the case...

(Illness is totally different though - if I'm worried about that but still feel good to go I'll go heavy / less reps...)

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
by robertscott
frogbyte wrote:I've noticed over the last year or so that some of my best workouts are usually days when I'm mentally exhausted/sleepy. I've been pondering on and off for quite some time why that might be the case...
yeah I'm with you on that one. I guess there must just be too many factors at play to ever really know for sure until you start lifting.

A lot of the time I'll drag myself to the gym even when I really don't feel like it. I do this because I know that in the past there's been days I've felt awful and still hit PRs

Posted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:48 am
by KPj
I've had a year that I can't wait to get over with. Lot's of stuffs happened. Some good, some bad... I reckon, for about 80% of my workouts for the last 6-9 months, i've felt like crap. I feel i've actually "adapted" to being able to train with not enough calories in me, or not enough sleep, or just feeling completely run down.

-cue worlds smallest violin, playing the worlds saddest song-

Anyway, I think there's a few different situations and approaches. If you're ill but not ill enough to give the gym a miss, then easing off, using less weight and just getting "something" done without running yourself into the ground would be my recommended common sense approach.

If you just generally feel like crap it's going to be from physical stress from training/not eating or resting enough. Or, emotional stress from other issues out with the gym/diet. In this case, I've noticed 2 main things will happen. You can go in there, warm up, do a few work up sets, and end up smashing it. It's not really the norm but it can happen. In some/a lot of cases, though, you'll just be weak, plain and simple. Weights you can hit for 5 reps will go up slow as hell. In this case I think it's good to try and get your reps in. If you just feel REALLY crap then i'll just keep the reps high, the weight light, and pretty much aim to get pumped up. It's also a good time to get lots of "healthy stuff" done. If you do this it normally makes you leave the gym feeling great, physically. You'll still be mad that you were weak, but it's far better than just bailing out then basking in your own selfdisgust

It's amazing what you can do with a bit of anger though. I'm fed up feeling like crap when I train so, when I experience it, I get really mad. It's these days I'll normally be training and i'll get the most stupid questions/requests from the most annoying members in the gym (I have very limited time to train, so I value every minute). Normally I can shrug it off but sometimes it just feeds the aggression. In these days I normally either smash it or, i'll compeltely run myself into the ground and make things worse in the long run :grin:

What I try and remind myself is - What do I do with clients who feel like crap? I can tell with a regular client whether they're stressed in a way that'll help the workout, or stressed in a way that I need to reel them in a little. If I know I need to reel them in, then my goal is simply to have them leave the gym in a much better mood than they arrived. Basically I try and take my own advice but don't do it very well.


Posted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:32 pm
by frogbyte
My best theory at the moment is that sleepy / mentally drained days are days where I've not been burning adrenaline, so I get in the gym and can pump it out. Not sure if there's any biological basis to this in the functioning of the adrenal gland. :-)

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:16 am
by KPj
Quite a good theory :grin:

I had one such workout lastnight. Felt like crap. Think I got about 4 hours sleep the night before. I trained at 9pm. I left job number one 5pm, and drank a litre of milk on the way. Was booked 'till 9pm and never had a chance between sessions to grab a shake or anything. I was starving and tired.

So I gulped down a coffee and grabbed a shake from the gym which is 50g protein, 50g carbs, and starting drinking it as I done a half a$$ed warm up. One of my training partners turned up. This is one I often refer to as one of the "beginners" although he's probably past this phase now.

Anyway, he was fired up, and I felt half dead. He was deadlifting, using a lot of smaller plates so he couldn't work out what he was lifting without sitting and counting it. He was basically shoving more and more plates on the bar, completely by feel, but not paying attention to what was on the bar.

I was counting (to myself!) and noticed that he was about to attempt a 20lbs PR. So I stood there so I could make sure he set up right and shout at him throughout the rep. It was a grinder but he got it.

All of a sudden I felt fantastic and had an amazing session. I didn't blast through any weight PR's. I was doing high bar, close stance deep squats. I got the weight that I managed a messy triple with last week (got a double with it the week before). I was hoping it would either feel good, in which case, I would of held back and added weight (my first choice). Or, i would just be able to get another rep or 2. It moved slow, so more weight was out the window. I may of managed 4 but it would of been messy as hell. So, I just kept doing doubles until I couldn't do anymore doubles - this was 3 doubles plus one single. So, in my book that's 7 reps (albeit, not "straight" reps) with a weight I've only ever lifted 3 times before. I'm taking that as progress. Then knocked 25% off and done 20 reps, which must of been quite close to "breathing squats". Was completely spur of the moment but I just wanted something disgusting to do because my training partners PR got me really fired up. It was disgusting. By the 15th rep I just wanted someone to put me out my misery. After unracking my legs just gave way and I had to lie on my back.

My "beginner" completely changed my mindset/mood lastnight without even trying. I guess I don't really have a point but it just seemed relevant to this thread.

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:58 am
by robertscott
i reckon it's all about mojo. For example, sometimes I go out at the weekend and get hammered. I'm not an alcoholic or anything, I just like to have a good drink and mess about. So I'll usually spend the next day feeling terrible, eating rubbish and generally feeling sorry for myself. Monday comes around and it's workout time, and although I've recovered physically from my binge, my mojo isn't back to 100%. So I get a fairly half assed workout that doesn't do me much good. Come the next day though mojo's always back.

However, even on a rubbish mojo day sometimes something'll happen to give me my mojo back, maybe I'll get some good news about something or bump into a friend of mine I've not seen in a while. Bang! Mojo's back and I'm kicking ass in the gym again. That's like the example you just posted KPj

I tell you guys, it's all about mojo.

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:28 am
by KPj
Got My Mojo Workin' :lol:

Re: bad workout

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:51 am
by Jungledoc
nextstep wrote:Good discussion here, now I just need to convince my wife that drinking a beer is not the answer and have her join me in a late night yoga routine or something.
You notice that the last post to this thread was in November of last year?

Re: bad workout

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:26 am
by aliusman
robertscott wrote:I ask this because I had a TERRIBLE workout tonight,
You cannot expect workouts to be good 100% of the time, it is impossible. We all have bad days - Key is to pick yourself up, dust it off and keep going.