T Nation

What Causes a Bad Workout?

Today was supposed to be deadlift day. I got my reps with 260 last week (building back up after wrenching my back during a fall–that cost me a few weeks). So I went to 270 today. I did some body weight squats and bar RDLs then a set of 8 with 135 as warm ups, then did 2 with 225…then loaded the bar to 270. And I couldn’t break it off the ground after 3 tries. I dropped the weight 20 pounds, and STILL couldn’t break it.

I wound up doing some good mornings with the bar (and even they hurt like hell) and a couple sets of body weight lunges, but seriously, what causes that? I had a rough Friday/Saturday (had to take hte kid to the hospital Friday pm cause he was sick and the regular clinics were closed) but yesterday’s OHP session went OK. I’ve been eating at a minimum 180 grams of protein every day since I started keeping a food log Feb 21st (excluding Friday–I was feeling crappy in the AM and then spent from about 7p-10:30pm at the hospital). So what the hell can cause something like that? I didn’t feel bad going in even; a little stiff maybe but that was it.

For me, stress, quality and quantity of food intake, and most important for me sleep.

A few things ive noticed personally that hurt my workouts:

If i go more than a day or so without doing something physically taxing its always a little rough getting back in.

Sitting too much worsens my posture and ability to do certain exercises with good technique.

Playing video games for too long i get overstimulated and stressed out.

Feeling physically bad and/or performing poorly at various hobbies , gym, or work decreases my sex drive. Sex drive and test levels are obviously related.

I think it’s impossible to predict really. I mean obviously if you’ve eaten like crap and haven’t slept well then that’ll take it’s toll, but there’s been times when some of my best workouts have been on days when I almost skipped the gym because I felt like shit, and other days I get to the gym feeling like the baddest motherfucker on earth and almost get stapled by my warm up weights.

It’s just all part of the game. If you are noticeably weaker one day then just get your reps in. You can’t expect to hit a PR every time you’re in the gym or we’d all have 400k bench presses.

Don’t obsess over numbers. If you come out of the gym having done the best and smartest thing you could have done given the particular circumstances of the day, it was a good workout.