T Nation

Coach, Advice on Constant CNS Fatigue?


#1

Hi Coach CT, I trust that you are well?

I am a 44 yo male currently on a trt dosage of 125mg’s T (Enanthate) / week (2 doses).

I have been trying to get back into shape for the last 12 months. My problem is that for some or other reason, I always seem to “burn” out after about a week of training, be it high frequency / low volume, or high volume / low frequency. I have even tried your suggestion of training only 20 mins a session, twice a day. Did not work. No matter if I am in a calorie surplus or calorie deficit. My diet is reasonably well balanced and I make sure that O3’s make up a good 15 grms a day. I also strive to get a solid 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night (not always possible, but I try)

It usually takes me about two to three weeks to “recover” from the stint of training, even though the body is okay and I actually do see changes in the one or two weeks that I am able to eek out. I have been struggling with this for what seems to be a very long time

In an attempt to address what I think is CNS fatigue, I have also started supplementing with VitD3, ZMA, Alpha GPC, ALCAR, DMAE and another proprietary brain health supplement along the lines of Brain Candy. (Can’t get that here in ZA). In the 1st two weeks of supplementing with the above, I did notice a change in concentration power, motivation and memory. So much so that I hit the gym again. (the 20 min w/o’s, twice a day, 4 days/week) and it went really well, until I started the 2nd week and my strength and motivation and energy all went for a ball of sh!t…

Now, I am a business owner, father of two teens and keeping up with continuing professional development (CPD) as well as currently trying to study, so yes, I have a lot of stress, but it seems that I cannot handle it as I used to be able to. Again, not my body but my brain…

Do you think that making use of Neural Charge Workouts that you allude to here: https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/look-like-a-bodybuilder-perform-like-an-athlete would be able to assist in getting the synapses and neurons working somewhat like they should?

If you do think so, may humbly ask for a routine?

If you do not think so, may I humbly ask for your advice as to what I should try?

Thanks, I desperately look forward to hearing from you.

Klippe


#2

Okay, I managed to find your article on Neural charge training here: https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/neural-charge-training

So, I guess that I can use that to do the programming of the workouts for myself.

The question now becomes, if you feel that doing these workouts would be advantageous to me in my current situation, is how often a week? The full 6 / 7 days as per your suggestion? And for how long? Should I try it for a month and see how I “feel” as I know that you are not really prescriptive on set times etc but rather by feel…

I would plan, if the neural charge workouts work, to then move onto the training schedule that I linked to in my original post…

Good idea, or no?

Cheers

K


#3

Klippe, I am not CT, so defintely hope he chimes in here as well. But, I have been in your position before. I am 42, kids, stressful job, etc. My key learning was not to over-plan or over-analyze. I used to have every workout planned, and I would spend hours a week just sorting through the details, to the point that the workout actually became an added stressor in my life. It got to the point where I just grew tired of working out…and this used to be my favorite thing to do! What worked for me was just letting things go…don’t plan, just do what you feel you can that day. The stress was instantly gone, and I actually found myself getting excited about going to the gym again Now, I only have 1 workout that is planned (the Big 3, 5x5 or 8x3), then I leave the rest of the week open and instinctive. This might not work for everyone, but thought I would share, as it helped me get excited about going to the gym again.


#4

Thanks for taking the time to reply Mike, I really appreciate it.

I to suffer from analysis paralysis…but what gets me down is only being able to hit the gym for a week or two after getting out of that paralysis :slight_smile:

For example, after my last stint, it has taken around two weeks now and I am still nowhere motivated enough to get back in, even though my desire is to…


#5

Believe me, I understand. When life gets so crazy, the motivation is hard to get it done, even when you really want to. My schedule is Friday: Big 3, Sunday: Full Body Instinctive Hypertrophy, then I leave Monday-Thursday open to any type of training I feel like doing. Some weeks, when work is absolutely crazy, I might not get much of a chance to do anything at all…but at least I know I have Friday and Sunday committed, so that makes it somewhat easier to digest. If I am fatigued/stressed during the week, and I have the time, I might do a 10 minute blast only, could be a specific bodypart, or more functional training. Or, I might go to my son’s soccer game, and do 5-10 sprint sessions while there. This seemed to help me heal fairly quickly. Stick with it…your motivation will come back.


#6

I am nearly your age, with kids, and a full time job with lots of responsibility. I have kept up training for many years, but have learned not to force it. What’s kept me motivated is trying completely different things. You can get in shape/be active by:

  1. taking up a new sport (plenty of rec leagues around)
  2. taking yoga classes
  3. training for a race
  4. taking gymnastics, boxing, etc…
  5. hiking
  6. focus on bodyweight only, skill exercise

If you feel like you MUST get into the gym and stick to a program, that itself can zap your energy and motivation. Put that aside awhile, and train only when you feel like it while learning or experiences something new.

Another note, I would back off on the multiple supplements in an attempt to mask the problem. If you have to slam back 14 pills to get motivated to work out, that should tell you something’s not right with your approach.


#7

Thanks guys, I hear what you are saying…don’y sweat it, just do something…

Anitquity, yep, slamming pills to mask the problem might not be the best idea, and probably indicative of a whole bunch of ignorance, but, that is just about how desperate I am. Although, I do draw the line at eating placenta or stirring a rat turd into my protein shake :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I am thinking of at least trying out a NCW series as per CT and will play it by ear to see how often and how long, at least until CT chimes in.

Will see what I can do and keep you guys up to date…


#8

Hi again, so I’ve been reading up more about the NCT and whilst I understand the duration of it all (20 mins), and to drop an exercise if performance in that exercise falters, what I have not be able to ascertain is the loading parameters to be used???

What should I base that figure off of? Go by feel I suspect? Also, can I perform it everyday or should I rather go for EOD? I was thinking that this would, in the beginning, allow my body to rest whilst allowing my CNS to stay “amped up” as I have read that CT prefers not to take two off days in a row…my thinking was that this would allow my recovery ability to improve and move to daily NCT workouts and then go on to CT’s bodybuilder / athlete program.

Yes, yes I know analysis paralysis is around the corner but I would like to avoid making another mess of myself.

K


#9

I’m familiar with CT’s NCT, and have used it myself. As I understand it or think about it, it’s similar to priming yourself with explosive moves to prepare for a workout, with the main objective being to make sure you’re not fatiguing yourself. You might do 3-4 jumps, rest, 3-4 throws, rest, 3-4 plyo push ups, rest, etc… You should not be winded or lose explosiveness at all, or feel like you are racing from one exercise to the next.

I might suggest also doing the well known Agile 8 warmup. Jim Wendler, in some of his programs, recommends doing this on days you don’t workout as well as using it to get ready for a workout. For example, you could do the Agile 8 (takes less than 10 min), then do about 10 min of NCT. Basically, you’re getting yourself physically and mentally ready to do a workout without doing one.

Good luck. I have dealt with lulls, but not to the extent it sounds like you’re in. If CT chimes in, I’d be interested to hear his thoughts.


#10

This sounds like a crash in dopamine levels from training. If dopamine levels crash and serotonin levels are higher then you will suffer from central fatigue.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Do 2 neural charge workouts for every regular workout. Neural charge workouts should last around 25 min., only use explosive exercises done without any significant accumulation of fatigue.

  2. Keep reps per set between 3 and 5 on your regular lifting workouts. THIS DOES NOT MEAN USING MAXIMUM WEIGHTS. Use a weight that is heavy enough for you to feel but not so heavy that it is a strain. 75-80% is about right.

  3. Keep a fast training pace so that workouts last at the top 45 min

  4. Start each regular workout with a neural charge exercise to amp up the CNS and increase dopamine levels.

  5. Use an alternating exercises system (pair two exercises together and alternate on each set… A1 … A2 … A1 … A2, etc.)

  6. Go with a high protein/high fat/low carbs diet … important, fats have to be around 40-50% of caloric intake mostly from olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, MCT oil, avocados, almonds

  7. Consume green veggies with every meal

  8. Avoid Alpha-GPC. I suggest HALF a Brain Candy with an added 1000mg of tyrosine

  9. For pre-workout, for now, I suggest 1 serving of MAG-10 with an additional 10g of BCAA pre-workout and the same post-workout


#11

Coach, many, many, many thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it :+1:

I will implement all your suggestions bar the MAG-10 simply because it is not available here in RSA.

I find point 8 really, really interesting…I will drop the Alpha-GPC but keep the 1000mg of tyrosine in my supplement regime.

I will also implement your diet recommendations as a matter of course.

To be honest, I am not going to be able to exercise for a couple of weeks now anyway due to having to focus what little CNS resources I have left at the moment for deadlines at month end and for preparing for exams. But on the other hand perhaps that might be a good thing.

Regardless, I will keep all up to date after I have started training again.

Thanks again.

K


#12

HI there, any guidance on the loads that I should be using for the NCT workouts? I cant seem to find any info on that…

Thanks.


#13

Most of the neural charge exercises shouldn’t be lifting exercises. Jumps, upper body plyo, med ball throws, striking a sledge hammer, battle rope, etc.

You can use lifting exercise but load is NOT important/ What is important is SPEED and NOT creating any fatigue… somethin like 60% for 3-5 reps FAST


#14

Great, thanks coach, as usual, you came through. MUCH appreciated…