T Nation

Sleep or Lift?

I was just woken up at my desk by a coworker. Needless to say, I’m a little tired. Between the kids, Halo 2, new girlfriend and work, good sleep has been rather lacking over the last month (year). I was intending to work out tonight (after I get the kids to bed). But figured I’d pose a question first:

Should I make sure to get a good 8+ hours sleep tonight and do my workout tomorrow (thank God for weekends), or chug back a couple coffees, cut the excuses, and just do the workout?

Thoughts? Opinions?


I think this is going to be a question only you can really answer yourself, because you are going to get alot of differing opinions. I will tell you what I do in this situation, maybe it will help. If I knew I had time to train the next day and I thought it would be a more productive workout than if I did it the night before then I would do it the next day.

When I was in my early 20’s I served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine. We would spend a month in port getting the boat ready for a 72 day patrol. Those 30 days were spent working just about around the clock in hot conditions. We used to work a full day, then stand watch, then maybe sleep for 1-2 hours if we were lucky. The next day we would work until about 8pm or so, then, if we were lucky, have some time off until 5:30am the next day. I can recall showering, changing and riding the base bus up to the gym, while power chugging Mountain Dews. I would arrive at the gym and do about a 45 minute workout, often falling asleep between sets. I would then shower change, get back on the bus and get back to the boat to get a decent (5-6 hours a sleep) which would often be interupted by a drill or two. I am now 40, have 5 kids, including two baby twins and have a full work schedule and probably average 4 hours a night sleep. so my advice to you is to train-short, brief and intense-you will get better sleep and it will keep you on course-even if you are doing only 3-4 sets in a 10 minute period. Back in those days, I never WANTED to go lift, but I always HAD to go lift, once I got there and got going I never regretted it. One of my parameters of when to train and when not to is this-if I arrived at the gym and it was closed, would I go home or would I find anothe gym (or break in the first one)

Stay in the game