T Nation

Muscles Feel Different Day to Day


Sorry if this isn't projected as clearly as it is in my head. Basically my program revolves around heavy compound weights days and sprint days, aiming for a controlled 'bulk' while maintaining speed and conditioning for sports.

We're all pretty self-aware of how our bodies feel, in terms of muscle size, fullness, definition etc. I don't know if it's something that I'm imagining or not, but I feel like the mornings after sprint training my muscles feel smaller and less hard. Then the mornings after weights days they feel hard, larger and full again. Is it right to be concnered that the sprint days, although short (30 mins), might actually be un-doing all the progress I make on the weights days? Is it even possible for this noticeable, cyclic muscle disparity to occur?

If it's helpful, my weights are continually rising on the weights sessions, so I don't think I can physically be losing muscle, but none the less I'm a little confused.


Your body feels different when you do different things. You are either infected by some muscle eating bacteria that is only activated by sprinting, or you're overreacting to a non-problem.


Probably combination between muscle glycogen and pump, do you eat more carbs/cals around workout days, and less around cardio days? The more glycogen the muscles are storing (due to diet mainly), the bigger they appear (and generally you feel more pumped with a good carb load). Glycogen draining = lower carbs (and/calories) and cardio/higher rep training (usually done with less weight).


I think I know that this is a psychological issue, but I must admit it concerns me at the time- who wants to be pouring hard work into gruelling sprint sessions only to feel like it's actually taking you further away from the ultimate goal of strength and size?


Hmm contrast between your screen-name and thread title. Just Shut up and squat. :stuck_out_tongue:

Serious: I think it's just natural. After weight training you have lot of waste in your muscles, you probably eat more, thus your muscles should feel more "tensed", "swollen" etc. You shouldn't worry about such things as long as you're making the progress you want. If not, eat more.


Have you ever watched a football game? Huge, freak athletes SPRINTING all over the field. They seem to be keeping their muscle mass just fine.


The real answer is yes, sprinting several times a week for 30min at a haul could possibly cause you to lose some muscle mass. Cardio is NOT bodybuilder friendly at high intensity unless in short bursts keeping it largely anaerobic. This is why you see so many do low intensity or "moderate" longer duration cardio which may only be walking on an incline or using the stair stepper.

I only throw it in when necessary because I know from experience I lose more muscle with it than without it...even when doing HIIT.

You could also just be losing more water weight due to the activity and yes, that will also be coming from muscle tissue as well.


Yeah, but they have a whole off season to gain back what they lose.

I have actually avoided a lot of cardio in dropping weight the last couple of months.


Even without sprinting or other conditioning work, the fullness of your muscles will vary a bit depending on the time since the last training session and carbohydrate/water intake. The leaner you are, the more it will be noticed. From flat to full. It is the way of things.


That's true. I would just think that if he's eating enough to gain, accounting for the extra energy burned through the cardio, that it wouldn't really matter.