T Nation

Phantom Crappy Day

(C and Ved from my log, which contains exact details of my recent training)

My log: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_log/marrots_log_part_2

Today was absolute shit.

Food’s been on point every single day (600/300/90), and took an off day yesterday. Summer vacation lets me sleep 8+ hours a night with a 90 minute nap after every workout.

After I maxed out on deadlift at 415 about a month ago, I pulled 3x355 a week later. Last week I bumped that up to 3x375.

But I come in today and miss 405. It’s stuck to the floor.

Then I try squats - 135 is a slow ugly grind.

Then I go for a pull-up. Could not do a single one.

Then I see if I can hit a plain old pushup. It feels like I’m pushing the entire Earth. Literally stuck to the floor grinding singles.

I’m considering taking 7-10 days off. This coincides conveniently with upcoming summer vacation. It used to be on days like this I could still go for a good pump with some high rep assistance. But now I can’t even do that.

But then, what if today is just a bad day? Should I bother going in tomorrow? Or do I just need another box of Corn Pops to fuel up on?

Chances are you just had a bad day.

Moments like this are when you to need know where you are in a program and why you are doing what you are doing.

Sometimes training through this is important to forcing your body to get stronger. Other times, it is important to perhaps take a deload.

What you experienced was not, by any means, a “phantom crappy day.” Double-check the big picture of your last few weeks. If I can quote some snippets:

7/27 - "Another shit awful day."
7/25 - "Today was absolute shit."
7/22 - [after setting a PR on dips] "All I did was drive myself into a hole and let myself recover from it."
7/20 - "Didn’t recover from yesterday and I paid for it today; was expecting it."
7/18 - "Felt myself burning out again."
7/17 - "Nothing is concrete but literally four days this week were wasted on ugly little half sessions where I burnt out halfway through."
7/15 - "So another shitty day"
7/13 - "Tried to do pull-ups and dips - another day where I couldn’t even do one of either. … I WANT to train, I’m just running out of gas."
7/12 - "When I went to the gym I tried starting out with some pull-ups - that shit wasn’t happening."
7/9 - "Absolute shit."
7/4 - “I’ve been noticing this trend of sporadically being weaker than normal starting to crop up. For the past two weeks all I needed was an off day. But now I’m having bad days every other day.”

I’m not sure if you’re just honestly evaluating those sessions, if you’re being a little pessimistic/harsh, or a combo of both. But when pretty much every other workout is some version of “shitty” or super-draining, something needs to be corrected ASAP.

If bboy practice is your priority right now (and it seems to be), I think you should consider significantly reducing your lifting volume and/or frequency. Lifting 2 or 3 days a week can be fine with a well-designed program. For example, 5/3/1 has a great 2-day template. Lifting 5 days a week seems to be too much for you, especially the way you’re doing it.

It also looks like you’re going pretty heavy (lots of work in the 1-3 range) for some decent volume (5 to 10+ sets per exercise a lot of the time, several exercises per session). If you want to keep that kind of heavier low rep work, keep the volume per movement pattern to 10-15 total reps. That’s much more in line with “in-season” work for athletes, when skill practice is the priority.

Lastly, you’ve mentioned your sleep and food, but I’d re-examine both of those and make sure you really are recovering maximally. Have a protein-carb shake when you train, keep your sleep on schedule (it does sound like you’re on point with this), and make sure your total calories are on point seven days a week, not necessarily “eating less” on non-training days.

Thanks so much for all the input and especially Chris for taking an objective look at my log. I saw the lifting PRs but I didn’t see how many sessions were being cut short or skipped. I am on vacation now, so gym logistics are shoddy. But I will start up on WS4SB the day I get back.