T Nation

Mind Says Yes, Body Says No

Hi CT,

As the title suggests, my desire to workout at the moment is huge, but more often than not, my workouts just don’t feel very productive (except for squats, oddly enough) and I have some nagging lower back pain that seems to be going nowhere with my current routine.

I’m well aware that sometimes you just need to take a step back for a week or so to recharge, but whenever I take even one or two days off, the guilt hits hard and I end up going to the gym. I’m in the best shape of my life and I guess I’m a little paranoid that I’ll “lose all my gains” if I don’t workout. I’m starting to feel like I’m actually addicted to working out, and it’s actually reversing my progress.

Currently I’m lifting weights five days per week, and sprinting one day per week. With difficulty, I force myself to take one rest day per week.

Weights sessions last around 2 hours, including warming up and cooling down, and are quite intense. I focus on squats (front and back), overhead press, deadlifts (strength has dropped enormously), power cleans, full cleans, snatch high pulls, weighted push ups, pull ups, Pendlay rows, various abs and core exercises, and some direct work for arms and shoulders.

Sprint sessions consist of a warm up, followed by 8-10 100 metre sprints at around 90% intensity (13 seconds approx), with 2 minutes rest between each run. Technique is my main focus at the moment as I haven’t sprinted regularly for years.

Diet is well rounded, although I am not currently tracking calories or macros. I know from years of daily tracking that I am not currently undernourished. My reason for thinking this is that my energy levels are through the roof, and I sleep soundly for 7-9 hours.

My main problem is that I seem unable to take enough time off to allow my muscles and joints to recover, so each workout feels progressively less productive (again, except for squats… wtf?).

Part of me feels stupid for even posting this, as I know the solution to my injuries is simply to take some time off from heavy lifting - a few weeks or longer if necessary - and focus on active recovery like walking, yoga, massage, etc., but I just cannot stay away from the gym.

Do you have any suggestions?