As weight trainees, we’re always told the key to growth is to fatigue the muscle fibres, and we make it our goal to do just that. In the days that follow, our muscles may ache and be very weak from a combination of fatigue and lactic acid leftovers.
That’s normal. It’s expected – and it’s proof positive that we’ve done our job in the gym.
But, sometimes, it goes beyond that. At times, I’ve woken up after a particularly gruelling lifting session and I’ve felt muggy, tired, and completely out of it. It wasn’t just about the muscles. It was my body and my mind.
Sometimes it’s that bad that I feel tired the entire day, and my mind struggles with even the most rudimentary tasks. Such fatigue is beyond mere muscle and extends to the central nervous system. After all, nerve involvement is what makes everything possible, from lifting to growing.
And sometimes… your central nervous system simply gets overwhelmed and shuts down a little.
This is a sign of either overtraining or under eating (or both).
Obviously, you need food to feed the muscles, but it’s not just the muscles. You need food to help provide energy for nerve regeneration, and brain function… in fact every process in your body. If you’ve been giving your body a hammering in the gym, you can reach the point where your entire system hits a downturn. When you feel like this, you need to not only examine your diet and see whether you are eating enough, but you may need to consider taking a week or two off from lifting because you are overtraining.
And, if you feel like this regularly, then its imperative you do so, now!
I know what you’re thinking: “WTF! 1-2 weeks off? I’ll lose all my muscle!” Well, don’t be ridiculous, basically. Your body is crying out for rest and recuperation and it’s patently obvious that you haven’t been giving it enough. Continue with your diet (in fact, eat more) then come back 1-2 weeks later. It’s odds on that you’ll not only feel much better in yourself, but, you’ll be much stronger (and possibly even bigger.)