T Nation

Squat Depression

Why is it that after a hard leg day I feel drained and depressed and irritated for days, even a week later? Is it taxing my system too much? Anyone else experience this?

I sometimes get that way if I do a really high-volume workout. Do you do high-rep stuff (10+)? If so, try heavy triples instead. You’ll feel invigorated and you’ll get stronger, faster. Remember all the safety precautions, of course.

Rotate the lifts and rep-set-tempo perimeters. Your nervous system will thank you. Also if you lift heavy legs at night it will make you real wired and you will be up at 1:30am on some bodybuilding forum…

Sounds like a little bit of overtraining ? Remember to get plenty of rest and eat good and clean. Also sometimes you may need to eat extra calories or cut back on any extra outside activities. Plus you may have to high of a volume , maybe cut back on some of the sets ? Ian King suggests no more than 12-15 working sets per workout for a regular working class individual. Hope this helps.

Are you overly restricting your carbs in your diet? If your low-carbing for more than a couple of weeks, that might do it.
Also, be sure to give yourself a sufficient, post-workout recovery meal containing protein and simple (high glycemic) carbs (sugars). Something similar to at least 1/2 gram protein and 1 gram simple carbs for every kilogram of bodyweight immediately after the workout (take it with you to the gym), followed by another meal 1-2 hours later. The post-workout recovery meal is a great time to have a sweet treat reward-type food, following the protein shake, of course, for the desired glycogen replacement and insulin kick. The higher the leg workout volume, the more you should eat.
Good luck.

Just to bring in a little science but studies have shown that mood is severly affected by resistance training and that that post workout mood drops significantly, not to jump to conclusions but being a psyche major maybe you have a predisposition toward depression and this dropping you into a funk.

Thanks guys…even if I was predisposed to depression I wouldn’t stop training, so besides supplementing my diet with some Neurogain (ooooops, uh, I mean Power Drive!)I had another idea. Don’t know if it is smart but if I am down after a hard ‘leg day’ maybe I should restrict my leg training to twice a month? Just let the cardio take care of the definition and then maybe if I train legs hard don’t plan on doing any lifting at all for like 3 or 4 days? What do ya think???

I would agree with some of the others that it has to do with over taxing the nervous system. I personally feel great after a killing leg workout. Am I tired? Hell yeah! I could barely walk! But, it gives me an incredible feeling of satisfaction, definately not depressed. FWIW, I have at least 50 grams of protein post leg workout with about 100-120 grams of carbs, combined with my creatine and my antioxidant pack. Hopefully it’ll work for you too. When I train another bodypart after my leg day, then I can’t sleep the next night. I can feel the overtraining syndrome kicking in.

It sounds like you’re just generally overtrained which could be caused by volume of training, of course, but also diet, life stress, lack of sleep, genetics, etc… I’d still train legs at least once every 7 days. How often do you work out? How many sets per workout? What kind of load? Volume? How long per workout? What do you eat? Lots of possibilities here.

When I train legs I first warm up with a light set of leg extensions, followed by 5 sets of squats, 12-10-8-6-4 being my rep pattern. My last set is supersetted with a leg extension set. Then I do about 3-4 sets of leg curls, and 4 sets of calf raises. Ok, my diet lately: been experimenting with the Warrior Diet, and maybe that could be affecting me too, but I’ve had this problem no matter what my macronutrient intake was, my eating pattern, calories, etc. (Although I have to admit that eating lots of carbs helps me feel better, but then I get fat damn it!!) And yes, my life is pretty stressful right now (very stressfull) so I think that may be a factor…but I think it has more to do with perhaps a poor recovery ability (nervous system?)

On your Neurogain idea, I don’t know what’s in it, but some “neurofoods” that I have found to have a feel good effect are :
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DMAE, Melatonin, GABA, Tyrosine.
Hyperican (or St.Johnnie’s wart) is bad and interfere’s with everything.
I reckon a lot of the Bogus supplements were the ones that were popular cause they made people feel good.
Might be worth getting your vitamins checked, or taking superextra B’s.
The last thing you should be thinking about after a heavy leg workout is dieting. You’ve burnt enough to deserve ONE really good meal afterwards. Could make all the difference.
I take it you do eat way more on leg days than others?
A longer cardio cool down, to get all the post training toxins and shit out of your system could help.
Paul McKenna does a killer hypnosis CD for sports that picks me up.
You should also try breathing and posture control. Big fatigue in your hip and lower back tends to leave you slouching which make you feel worse.
Given all of that, You should feel pretty bad after legs at the best of times.
A few ideas for you anyway.

In regards to Acetyl L-carnitine, I’ve heard that it is helpful, have you taken it and how much???

You could try splitting your leg training in two. Leave hams and calves for another day. They might get a better workout then too.

You may want to use a couple of recovery supplements. I have found the Methoxy7 and a small amount of 19 nor 17 4 diol to help increase my recovery. Legs use to take me 4 days to recover from. Like you I found that I was burnt out and grumpy. If that doesn’t work find other alternatives like heavy stretching or go as far as to have someone who is skilled in deep tissue work help break down the lactic acid that build ups in the legs. This acid is makes walking hurt when your in day 2 of post leg work out recovery. I hope this helps! Good luck.

Interesting point to make is this. 6 weeks ago I began Ian’s killer leg workout. Now I have slow recovery so I work legs every 5 days. 1st day is quad dominant and 2nd is hams dominant. I am totally f*****d after both of these, but in a really pleasant sleepy sort of way. Like I know I’ve done a good job. Unfortunately I do these on alternate fridays and go dancing about 5 hours later. Try that one some time. Boy is it riugh. I use no supplements whatsoever. JR