T Nation

Struggling at Start of New Phase


So, in January, I hit an all-time PR for leanness. It was a long haul, 10 months of the strictest diet and programming I have attempted,. My wife said she could see my “six pack” for the first time. She was being generous, but it was still an awesome feeling. To end the plan, I took ten days off for our anniversary trip.

Been two weeks back, I’ve done 6 lifting sessions, all garbage. I expected to feel fresh eating more, but everything sucked. No pop, no rush, hard to even get warm.

Being totally honest with myself, the thing keeping me tentative is the pain. I realized that my time off had been the first pain-free week in a long time, maybe years. Full nights of sleep, energized, peaceful. But, now I am back to grunting from soreness when I move, waking halfway through the night and having to stretch out so I can eek out another hour of sleep. After a solid week of relief, I am struggling to face the daily pain that comes from training with purpose, even just to maintain some leanness (I’m in my mid 40’s, been lifting 25+ years).

Anyone else here hit that spot? Any ideas for breaking through?


I can understand the pain situation, especially if you’ve been lifting for 25+ years! Very impressive to maintain that kind of consistency. If training consistently currently makes you that sore, without knowing much about your program, I’d recommend backing off of volume and/or frequency and/or intensity. If you can post the details of your program, it would be easier to provide some more specific feedback on what adjustments might be helpful :slight_smile:


Consistency is all relative. My 70yo father was just telling me he gave up on CT’s “Best Damn” natty program after 3mo because he couldn’t recover from doing legs 6d a week. He went back to 5/3/1.

I really appreciate your comment about checking total load. I also run a variant of 5/3/1 although Wendler would likely disavow any connection with what I am doing. I realized looking in my logs that I was 201lbs when I last tested myself for a training max (now 184). I’ve just been adding 5-10lbs every 4 weeks.

I work best when I print a chart with a few months of lifts, hang it on the wall of my home gym, and tick off the days as I knock them out. Over-think is the enemy, and all that. I’ll retest my TM’s next week, and then reset.

I also need to face facts that when I limit my food intake to a specific list, I feel better. Unfortunately, wheat, sugar, and beer are not on that list. My lean-out odyssey began last winter with an elimination diet (Whole30). That was a keyhole moment for learning how to eat for muscle preservation during a deficit. Looking at my food log, I am making up the difference between deficit and maintenance with mostly foods I had cut out. Perhaps that is not a good plan.

Plan the work. Work the plan.