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Bloated, Sick and Exhausted Day After Intense Workout

About 3 days ago I’ve had a really good workout, ate well, slept ok… But the day after I woke up feeling sick. I had a headache, felt very ‘slow’ like I was seeing everything in 3rd person mode, no hunger at all, feeling hot one moment, cold the other. Also very achey, not like regular doms and very bloated (my face and belly looked like a balloon, gained an inch and a half on my waist). Today I’m feeling ok again.

It’s not the first time I’ve had this and it’s always after a great session where I was able to push myself a bit more an set some PR’s. The volume wasn’t excessive either (3 sets of weighted chins, 3 sets of weighted dips, 2 sets of seated rows, 2 sets of incline db curls and 2 sets of db skullcrushers). 12 total sets, RPE 8-9 on the first two, 9-9.5 on the last 3. I always take 1-2 rest days in between sessions, so I was fully recovered from the previous session (was a lower body day).

Anyone had similar experiences?

Yes. Tons of em.
My body cant tolerate any intensity or workload since i started doing strenght training and hit 30.
My whole life i did pump work at home with dumbbells and cheap home variation of a barbell and bench, and i had 2 extra trainings for martial arts and hand to hand combat. I am also an instructor myself, so my work is also physical. After 3 training sessions a day and training other people, at 10 at night i was going on Tinder dates and banging at night, came home at 4AM, slept till 7AM and repeated this whole process for YEARS. People that knew me, were making jokes that i am not a human, that i live in our fight gym, or that i never sleep and its impossible to see me ever tired. Girls in the classes i teach made jokes how i am the only person they know, that still looks good after brutal trainings being all sweatty and red. I also started to believe that i am indestructible.
Then i joined the gym and changed my home-dumbbell fluff and pump workouts to strenght training - with the goal to lift heavy single. Ever since, i seem to break down like a piece of glass any time i do something a bit too much.
I am also on steroids and GH, and this does not help at all. If i push my deadlifts or squats a bit much, BEST CASE scenario is that i will just feel like shit and lose strenght a bit.
But many times i have had crazy high fever at night, getting flu like symptoms, and just be legit ill for a while. And if i dont change my training, the same thing happens again and again.
I have had these problems with almost any programming. I cant even do 2-3 heavy sets of 5… The heaviest i can go is 1 single set of AMRAP, no lower that 5 reps.

Same thing is with cardio - if i really push my hill sprints, its basically the same as maxing a deadlift - i will have blocked nose at that evening, headache, and at night i will wake up with a fever.


Not the bloated stuff. But the rest - 100%
I’ve done 2 strong man shows and I’ll be fair - I’m a useless bundle of crap for 2-3 days afterwards. Brain fog is the way I’d put it. I could walk into a room and totally forget what I was doing in there and that I was talking to you on the way in. The temperature thing also. I also have a hard time sleeping. My body is tired but it wont shut off.

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Well, your life seems to be a bit more hectic than mine to say the least :sweat_smile:

I’m almost 29 now and I’ve had this problem since I had a stomach surgery that had me recovering for almost two years (severe acid reflux), I was 22 at the time. I had a hard time gaining back weight and was stuck at 58-59kgs for a long time (183cm). When I was 25 I joined a gym and I’ve never really been able to pinpoint why I didn’t make any gains at all until I stopped doing conventional methods (10-20 sets a week per muscle group). I believe it was Paul Carter and Christian Thibeaudau (articles on T-Nation I read) that got me into my ‘new’ lifting style - low volume, quality sets to failure. This works great for me (I gained 17kg in two years, natural lifting and still making gains month to month - had a shoulder injury that held me back for a while though). I can’t seem to tolerate higher volumes… Hell, even bicep curls to failure fatigue the crap out of me if I do more than 2 sets. I’m guessing the extra two sets on dips and chins + maybe some stress from life in general (building a house atm and super busy at work) started it again. I’m also not the type of guy to stop a set short of failure.

I’m not surprised that being on test and GH isn’t helping. I think I heard John Meadows say once that recovery is a very individual thing. He had natural cliënts that could do more volume, more frequency and push closer to failure than cliënts on a buttload of drugs.

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I’m nowhere near that level of poundage you’re probably handling, but I think it’s not the absolute numbers but your relative proximity to failure that causes systemic fatigue and higher cortisol levels. Some people are probably more sensitive to it than others… But in a strongman comp you’re not going to hold yourself back.

I can relate to that feeling of having your body in ‘overdrive’, can’t seem to find any rest even though I’m eating well etc.

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interesting i have found is that doing barbell curls for biceps actually feels like frying my CNS more than most other compound lifts… when i really push those bicep curls, i actually feel like im getting fucked up all over… bench press for example, doesnt give me half the mental and total feeling of fatigue that bicep curls does…
same thing with pullups vs chinups… idk why but pullups feel easier than chinups, even if i use same weight, etc.
Maybe its something about biceps that does this. Biceps curls with a barbell destroy me while i could do lots of triceps, chest or shoulders and not have even a simmilar fatigue.

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Oddly enough… a set of bicep curls leaves me gassed aswel while a set of bench doesn’t. Funny that it’s not only me having these weird issues when lifting.

Ofc when you go overboard with squats and deads you’re ready to pass out, but you feel that shit coming.

Just because I competed does not mean I was successful or good!

Yep. I feel the same way, almost exactly similar to what you described. Mine is from heart failure. I had a near fatal heart attack and am diagnosed with CHF.

I have/have had those same sessions but for the next 3 days or so I’m literally dead with exhaustion.

The combination of symptoms hot, chills, achy, measurable/visible abdominal and facial bloating as you’ve described are legit red flags and warrant a discussion with a doctor.

I was getting similar (almost exact) symptoms in the months leading up to a heart attack.


Interesting about the curls. Back in the day those were considered a “big” lift.


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Have you seen a Doctor or a cardiologist just to make sure there is no underlying issue?


Same. If I deviate much I’ve got a gnarly migraine episode coming.

I have to sleep to reset though, and it’ll usually creep up on almost 12 hours if no one
In my house disturbs me.

Unlucky for me i cant use sleep for recovery as i just dont sleep much. Nowdays my sleep has improved and i can sleep for 7h sometimes, but for me 5-6 is where i just wake up, tired and sleepy but just can’t fall asleep anymore…

Ahh gotcha. Idk where I get that ability from to be fair. I could speculate, but either way I find I can sleep waaaay too much. Rather break it up in pieces like my mom. Feel like I could get more done in the day too.