T Nation

How to Correct When You're Doing Too Much?

Personal circumstances at the minute have me trying my best to escape being in the house for too long which is having me training at the gym more to get out of the way which is ruining my rest/recovery. Fortunately this has only been going on for about 3 weeks and before that I was usually doing 1-2 days training continuously before 1-2 days rest with 4 days total training days, maybe 5 at a push.

Today I bottomed out on the BP with weight I’ve done more of in the past. My TM is set at 85kg for the BP which I know is weight I can shift for a good solid 6-8 reps as I previously did 77.5kg for 13 and I’m well into the 15-20 rep mark for 75kg. I did 10 reps at 77.5kg today and then went on to see where I was at with my TM and so did 2 jokers, 5% increments, 80kg 3/3 reps, 85kg 2/3 reps (fail) and then obviously stopped due to not completing this set. This was actually my 100% TM and I only managed 2 reps when I know I could have hammered out at least 6 and on a good day maybe 7 or 8. If I did 6 reps this would put my estimated 1RM at 100kg. 85% of 100 is 85, that’s where I’m at now with my TM, so it all adds up yet I’m currently unable to pull off sufficient reps to have my TM where it’s currently at. It p*ssed me right off as I’m 12 weeks into my training, 4 cycles in. Results have been great, body is transforming, all the signs of dedication paying off…

I know most of my concerns are anxiety fuelled and I understand anxiety is not always rational. We are evolved chimps after all, right? Who said we were creatures gifted with a perfect existence? My question is basically how to get back on course. I don’t want to flat line my training and take a week off. I don’t want to sabotage anything. I could gladly simply take more days off but considering I’ve been at it now having sometimes as little as 1 days off a week for 3 weeks or so, should I do this intelligently and back off gradually? Is there a set way of doing this?

I’m on week 2 out of the 3 prescribed weeks in the cycle, next cycle is deload week. My heaviest lift will be next on the BP specifically as I’ve never reguarly lifted 80kg for reps before. I don’t want to end up digging myself into a bad training schedule knowing I’m now playing with weight that personally I’ve never played with without doing less than 2-3 reps before.

Any suggestions for a decent way to back off without doing too little and/or too much?

  1. Stop training more than 4 days a week.

  2. If your current circumstances are affecting your performance and you can’t change your circumstances, calculate a “shitty circumstances one rep max” and use 85% of that as your training max.

By the way, whats your goal? Getting stronger, or exercising?

Training is what you do to achieve a goal. It is methodical and rational. Exercise on the other hand is what you do to feel good, work out the stress, keep in shape, get some sweat going, pass the time, satisfy masochistic need to beat yourself up and prove you’re tough, etc. Nothing wrong with exercising, it just isn’t training, that’s all.

If you want to get stronger, do the things you need to do to get stronger, and don’t do the things that make you weaker. When shit happens, you need to improvise, adapt, overcome (pick whatever problem solving metaphor sounds cool to you).

Alternatively, it might be worth “exercising” for a while until you’re mentally ready to get back to training. I don’t mean this in a degrading way at all. Just do whatever you feel like until you’re ready to do what you should do. Worst case scenario, you maintain strength. Progress is not always about moving forward. Often, “progress” is being able to hold ground when things are shit.


This is good advice, and more of us should follow it from time to time. Sometimes, just doing some type of activity each day without the mental and physical rigors of training is a great break, and can actually lead to improved longterm results.

Yeah, I’ve seen Jim repeated recommend no more than 4 days a week of lifting. I tend to agree. Before I got into 531 I’d often train 5-6 days a week, and it was counterproductive. Cut lifting back to 3 days or so and spend the other days you want to exercise biking or walking with a weight vest on,etc.

You could try to find something else you love. I personally lost track when I was younger and crossed the line between training and exercise many times.

Now I train 3 days a week (hit a main lift once every 9 days) and go boxing 2/3 days a week. That’s the thing I love about 531, be sensible and keep progressing even if you’re doing other things as well.