T Nation

Exhaustion - The Road to Recovery?


I've been living my life a whisper away from exhaustion for the past few months.
Been sleeping 8+ hours a night, eating 4-5000 cals a day, taking my supplements etc etc.
But I'm constantly getting 'overtrained/exhausted' which makes me feel like a zombie for days, then going back to the gym and within a week or so getting run down again.

I was an idiot and didn't take deload weeks.
Just did a competetion 5 days ago. Was feeling fresh in week leading up to meet, after doing a taper. Did meet after only getting 4 hours sleep and hit the weights I expected to, including a 22lb PR on deadlift (360, 200, 535).
Have felt like shit ever since; super zombie mode.

Question: Do I wait til I feel better probably beginning of next week, then return to the gym, do everything right with deloads (do 3-5-1 where the 5 week is only the allotted reps, so kind of a mini-deload), foam rolling, blood flow work with bands etc.


Do I take a month off and return to the gym on 1st Jan with percentages adjusted 10% downwards?


This is one of those circumstances that can be different for everyone. I myself would take more time than a week off. A month? Maybe. Listen to your body. Go back when you feel like you are properly recovered and refreshed.


I don't think I could take a month off... I'd lose everything. Maybe take a month of lighter training while throwing in some neural charge workouts (see CT on that). Maybe have an upper, lower, and easy full body day each week... add in some walking and neural charge work. Make time to stretch and foam roll. I'd perhaps take it easy for a while, but not just stop. I think CT would be a good person to ask on this one.

Maybe have a goal of maintaining as much strength as possible until the new year without exhausting yourself ever, up recovery efforts (neural charge, walk, stretch, foam roll), and just enjoy the month. Eat well, sleep well, and train smart.


I know there's a lot of people on here who would dismiss this with 'overtraining's for pussies'
but everything seems to be going downhill at the moment and it's affecting my work


What's the rep range and percentages for maintaining strength?

Something like 75% for 5?


If you're using 5/3/1, I would jump back into the program but stay very conservative. You may reset your training max down if you had been struggling to get target reps in your training prior to the meet. Also do the absolute minimum for the program and don't go above the minimum reps for anything for one whole cycle. For example:
SQ 5/3/1
back raise 2 sets
abs 2-3 sets

BP 5/3/1
rows 2-3 sets

DL 5/3/1
leg curls 2 sets
abs 2 sets

OHP 5/3/1
chins 2-4 sets

This should allow you to train without taxing your recovery ability much at all. Of course makes sure your other lifestyle factors (diet, stress, sleep, rest, etc...) are in order as well.


Based on how you have been feeling, I would take two weeks off from lifting, and then follow with at least two weeks of easy lifting (nothing over 65% 1RM and very low volume). At my old job we used to have our football players take it easy for a month after the end of the season. They were in six straight NCAA tournaments. Our hockey coach believed rest made you weak. They crashed and burned almost every post season.


best thing for you would be taking 2 weeks off training for sure and then switch ur training to either light weight or olympic lifting or bodybuilding trianing but everything done with moderate weight.

this will help you to recover from the exhaustion, and also will keep you in the game where you will maintain your muscle stimulation.

this is my way of doing things


Machine only training, stopping 2 reps short of failure for a week or two. After couple of these workouts you should start feeling pretty good.


Everyone is different. I read an article about a hammer thrower that broke a world record and didnt completely recover from it for 2 weeks. One throw took two weeks to recover from both emotionally and physically.

So my advice, stop being a dumbass and take some time off. Your body is telling you something. I believe either the meet took a big emotional toll on you because you were jacked up about hitting some new pr's or your conditioning level is a shade lower that total dog shit. Either way, rest up. Take your own advice and wait till you feel better. In the meantime, do all the blood flow and mobility work you want to as long as you arent going nuts on the volume.

If I were you, I wouldnt even look at a barbell until you start getting some motivation back.