I have been feeling fatigued for the past two weeks, and especially so since two days ago, after I was able to increase my 5X5 squats to another personal record (110kg). I felt this fatigue has been building up as I felt I’ve been pounding my body to submission in the pursuit of increases in my squat numbers. My left hip has been feeling especially sore too in some positions (not that the rest of my body, especially my whole back, wasn’t sore).
Since yesterday, in between my scheduled meals every three hours, I’ve been spending a lot of my time sleeping in the afternoons in order to hasten my recovery. I’ve also been reading the books I’ve bought and reviewed the StrongLifts 5X5 beginners strength training program. In it I read that once you approach squatting 1.5 times bodyweight on the program, it can get very difficult both mentally and physically, and so Mehdi (the program’s author) says that I can either deload to 3X5 or take a rest week. I’ve exceeded the 1.5 times bodyweight benchmark on Day 147, almost three weeks ago, and have been soldiering on through the fatigue.
I also read a bit more of Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength and found that in that program recommends a periodized approach where very heavy workouts are followed by lighter workouts to aid recovery. I also read Chad Waterbury’s book, Men’s Health Huge In A Hurry, wherein he recommends stopping the set once the reps slow down significantly. I realized that I have been getting my 5X5s in on the squat, but the last reps on the last two to three sets were getting really slow as I tried to push through my sticking points (and getting my form somewhat compromised in the process).
My mind said I must keep my workout today, but my brain was getting afraid that my fatigued state might lead to injury if I try to push the weight envelope again today. So instead of increasing my squat target to 112.5kg, I opted to deload a bit to 100kg, and go for speed of execution instead of weight. I still did my foam rolling at home before going to the gym (while watching a DVD with family), then my mobility exercises at the gym before I did my squats. I did progressively heavier warmup reps, and then did my squats at 100kg, focusing on speed and proper form. It was still quite heavy, but it felt different; it took a lot of concentration to push through as fast as possible while keeping form, but I also felt that my muscles were being stressed in a new way!
The rest of my workouts followed the Stronglifts program: 5X5 barbell bench press at 77.5kg (a new PR for me), 5X5 power cleans (from the floor now, not from a hang position) at 62.5kg (another PR), and 3X5 weighted pushups (32.5kg). I was very glad to have a spotter on my bench press to help me get through the last rep on the last set, as I was starting to stall, but then I got just enough spotting (two fingers!) to get me through. I finished my workout with Flatten Your Abs exercises, just as the gym was almost about to close for the night at 8:50PM.
Nutrition was almost all clean today, but a little out of schedule.
On a side note, as I was taking my daily pictures after arriving from my workout, my brothers had me measure my bodyfat again using our Omron handheld body fat analyser. It’s been a while since I used this method (I use my calipers). I was pleasantly surprised to get measured at 7.6%! This corresponds closely to my last caliper measurement last week of 8%, so it looks like I’m getting my caliper technique right.
I’m looking forward to the rest and recovery I’ll get over the weekend!
Eat right, train hard, and expect success!