T Nation

Training Based on How You Feel

As anyone trained using their “gut feeling” before? What kind of results did you see?

I have been training using this method since I am dieting down (lost about 15 to 16lbs btw) and have found that I am (surprisingly) gaining strength even though some weeks I might only hit the gym twice a week. It goes something like this:

  1. Ignore the weight, work up to a set that “feels” difficult but not so taxing that it cant be done for 5 sets of 3.
  2. The goal is to lift more weight the next week or lift the same weight as the week before without as much fatigue
  3. If I have gut feeling that tells me don’t lift (usually accompanied by fatigue and a bad mood) I simply don’t go to the gym. I usually end up sleeping and feel well rested for the next workout. I attribute this to not missing a lift in the last 2 months.

Don’t most of us do this to some extent?

Altering your daily working weight to be appropriate to your level of performance at a given time isn’t a new principle: it’s auto-regulation.

If I go to the gym and feel like absolute crap, I usually just do a bro workout. Get a nice upper body pump, maybe do some pre-hab and/or cardio, and GTFO of the gym.

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Iľ address the third point: Ive been working out 4 days straight. Today I didnt get enough sleep, didnt get my meals but i rly wanted to go to the gym to get my exercise, since ill be gone for the weekend snd thats two days of not working out, whichI hate. Long story short, I told myself ISYMFS and went. Got a good workout, numbers went up despite the less than ideal conditions. As soon as I got home my body started aching as fuck, head is hurting, stomach doesnt want any food, all I can do is lay kn my bed. Should have listened to my body, today. Overmotivation can be a bitch.

well done on your weight loss so far

I call it “thinking on your feet”. Its by far my favorite way to train. Its just more fun. Just understand different progressions. Like reps, sets, weight or time. Heck sometimes i will even deload so to speak because i’m not feeling it but i don’t plan anything. Of course no harm in planning a deload.

SDT - Single, double, triple - progression article on the ground up strength website is a really good read on progressions.

Edit: I never totally understood your post! I definitely keep a keen eye on numbers. But i don’t follow strict percentage based programs. Its boring. And i believe most people on this board would feel the sameway. Anyone that has any interest in programming…

One thing i learnt since i was a teenage training is its WAY more fun if you think on your feet each session and not follow some mindless numbers you have on a piece of paper - think 5/3/1. Your mental energy is better spent in the gym then looking for the perfect program online somewhere. Some people love set programs however. Whatever floats your boat. :slight_smile:

I follow the program (531 now) but I look at each session in two parts: essential (531 sets) and important (the rest). If I’m feeling like crap I’ll do the essential but reduce or leave out the important.

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I’ve always done best on templates that allow for a lot of leeway. Strictly programmed linear programs lead to boredom and overuse injuries for me.

RPE training is pretty powerful, especially when you get a handle on the fatigue aspects.


I agree. I really like RPE-based training. I think you have to get to the point where you have a very good understanding about your body and are honest with yourself, which can take some time, before you start to see benefits from it though.