T Nation

Seeking Perspective

Everyone experiences varying levels of performance in the gym. Otherwise we’d all be achieving a new PR each time we lift. I’ve kept a fairly detailed log of my performance over the last year including my diet, sleep, stress levels and performance in the gym.

I rate my performance in the gym 1-4 where 1 is poor performance; little to no pump; poor strength etc. 4 = phenomenal pump; PR strength etc. One pattern seems to be consistent over the last year: My performance cycles consistently.

It typically goes from 2’s and 3’s for a few weeks. Followed by a week or two in a row of 4’s. If I have two weeks in a row of 4’s for a particular workout (i.e. chest/tris) then it is commonly followed by a poor workout (what I would consider a ‘1’).

What I’m looking for is some perspective.

Do others generally experience this cyclical performance?

Does anyone have suggestions or insight into what causes the low-points in these cycles?

Is it as simple as I need more recovery time? And increase my food intake?

I’ve also noticed that my stomach feels like it produces more acid during these times and my sweat smells a little like ammonia. I’ve read some articles indicating this might be a lack of water and/or carbohydrates.

Thanks in advance for any insights. Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this post. I guess the mods will move it if they see fit.

Maybe it’s all the rating your workouts and stress levels and lifts that’s stressing you out? JK

I understand what you mean, I generally find that I have a few good weeks of training, often followed by some rather mediocre ones, then back to good ones, etc.

The only think that I can say is that I have noticed it’s mental for the most part for me. It’s hard for me to always feel great when I go to the gym. Sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s not enough sleep or recovery, sometimes I just feel like shit that day or am distracted.

I feel like I’m having less sub-par days as I go on, and I think the key is just making sure I’m prepared the best I can be for the session, and busting my balls once I get there no matter what.

[quote]The Bambino wrote:
Maybe it’s all the rating your workouts and stress levels and lifts that’s stressing you out? JK
[/quote]

lol… there might be something to that though. I actually made a mental note that I had two fantastic lifts in-a-row and wondered if the typical poor workout performance would repeat. And it did…

Feels like I’m on a f**king rollercoaster sometimes. BOO HOO!!! Poor me. :slight_smile:

[quote]ignignokt wrote:
Everyone experiences varying levels of performance in the gym. Otherwise we’d all be achieving a new PR each time we lift. I’ve kept a fairly detailed log of my performance over the last year including my diet, sleep, stress levels and performance in the gym.

I rate my performance in the gym 1-4 where 1 is poor performance; little to no pump; poor strength etc. 4 = phenomenal pump; PR strength etc. One pattern seems to be consistent over the last year: My performance cycles consistently.

It typically goes from 2’s and 3’s for a few weeks. Followed by a week or two in a row of 4’s. If I have two weeks in a row of 4’s for a particular workout (i.e. chest/tris) then it is commonly followed by a poor workout (what I would consider a ‘1’).

What I’m looking for is some perspective.

Do others generally experience this cyclical performance?

Does anyone have suggestions or insight into what causes the low-points in these cycles?

Is it as simple as I need more recovery time? And increase my food intake?

I’ve also noticed that my stomach feels like it produces more acid during these times and my sweat smells a little like ammonia. I’ve read some articles indicating this might be a lack of water and/or carbohydrates.

Thanks in advance for any insights. Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this post. I guess the mods will move it if they see fit.[/quote]

The ammonia breath could be a sign of Ketosis which is caused by a restricted carb diet. Many people on the Atkins diet suffer from it. Your body needs glucose for energy and healthy brain function, when it doesn’t have enough it starts to break down muscle for energy, the ammonia breath is a symptom, but it could be something else. I’d just google ketosis on the net and see if you feel you’re suffering from it.

As for workouts. Although I do not take notes as you do I find I alway go through periods of decent progress, rapid progress, then poor progress. When I start to hit that range of poor prgress, I change my diet and training up, and then the cycle repeats.

no clue what causes it , but I’ve noticed it . I’ll sometimes have piss-poor days after an above average performance .

but think about this…

if you’re able to elevate your performance to an above-average level for several consecutive weeks , does that elevated level of performance then become average/mediocre ?

[quote]marlboroman wrote:
no clue what causes it , but I’ve noticed it . I’ll sometimes have piss-poor days after an above average performance .

but think about this…

if you’re able to elevate your performance to an above-average level for several consecutive weeks , does that elevated level of performance then become average/mediocre ?[/quote]

I think it does after the piss-poor workout(s). In my case it is a definitely a physical regression. On these piss-poor days I’m actually weaker than I was before the above average days. Then I start to ramp up again.

I’ll look into Ketosis too – thanks for the replies