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  1. #1
    The Big L's Avatar
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    Muscles of LEAD

    Not steel, LEAD.

    This is what I felt like on my last WOD (Monday). I had taken the weekend off, with my last WOD on Friday. All I did on the weekend was some pretty light/moderate gardening. Some shoveling of mulch and dirt, but nothing too heavy duty.

    But for some reason, as soon as I started my work out on Monday, I knew something wasn't right. My body was screaming at me to stop, from the first pull up. Absolutely no energy, and I just had that "dead weight" feeling, kind of like when you're closing in on the finish line in a long race, and you just can't make your jelly legs move any faster. I struggled mightily to complete a single set of pull up reps (maxing out at maybe 75% of my usual capacity for 1 set), and decided to call it a day.

    Why does this sort of thing happen -- any ideas? The only thing I'm aware of changing is that I started consuming about 30% more calories per day over the last week or so. My appetite just naturally jumped after kicking up the intensity of my workouts, and most of the additional calories have come from protein. I'm still getting 75-125g of carbs per day, mostly fruits, veggies, milk, and sweet potatoes.

    Other than the increase in calories, I can't think of a single thing that changed. I hate not knowing why I was progressing measurably from workout to workout (2-3 per week), while feeling better and stronger each time, and then suddenly, BAM! I hit a brick wall.

    When I aborted Monday's work out, I told myself I'd try again on Wednesday (today). Here I am on Wednesday, and you know what? I still feel sluggish and my limbs still feel heavy. I can't imagine I'd need more than 5 days to recover from some push ups and pull ups...could I?

  2. #2
    BarbeyGirl's Avatar
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    You're still pretty new to primal, right? I felt like that for 6 weeks before I adjusted -- and that was at 125-150g carbs per day. Eek! I powered through it on sheer will and came out the other side feeling strong again.

    There's nothing wrong with taking an extra recovery day or two. Just don't let it become ten or twenty.

    Have you tried a miniature carb boost, like a banana or sweet potato about 2 hours pre-workout?
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  3. #3
    The Big L's Avatar
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    Hi BarbeyGirl -

    Quote Originally Posted by BarbeyGirl View Post
    You're still pretty new to primal, right? I felt like that for 6 weeks before I adjusted -- and that was at 125-150g carbs per day. Eek! I powered through it on sheer will and came out the other side feeling strong again.
    I've been eating primal for...wow, I guess it's been 10 weeks now! I feel like my body has pretty well adjusted to lower carb and higher fat/protein. Though maybe it hasn't adjusted to the recent increase in protein.

    I hadn't been following a regular strength training program until just a few weeks ago though. Maybe I just need to give my body a chance to get used to all the changes, and not push my self too hard/fast at the beginning. Or, maybe work out days will just occasionally suck no matter what.

    There's nothing wrong with taking an extra recovery day or two. Just don't let it become ten or twenty.
    Yeah, I'm not going to beat myself up over putting off my workout day until I feel ready. And I'm too impatient to let that become a ten or twenty day delay.

    Have you tried a miniature carb boost, like a banana or sweet potato about 2 hours pre-workout?
    I hadn't tried that with carbs per se. On my failed workout day, I did have a small meal an hour or two before getting started. Now I don't remember exactly what it was, but chances are it was bacon, whole milk, and an apple. I might try something carb-specific next time around. However, I had my "make up" workout tonight, and it went great. Set a new PR for chinup reps, and started doing my pushups on an incline. This time I hadn't had anything to eat for 4 hours prior to starting, though I did have a glass of wine about 2 hours prior.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice! Hopefully that one tough workout day was just a fluke.

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    Timothy's Avatar
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    Heya Big L, not sure if this is too late, but I wanted to toss out a couple of ideas. Is it possible you might have been fighting off a sickness? Or perhaps your sleep was disturbed? Another thing I've noticed is that the body doesn't like our mental ideal of better, stronger, leaner every day. Sometimes it wants to shut down and consolidate for a day or two, and sometimes it even wants to take your weight several pounds higher before dropping it again. In any case, you're totally right to hold off on your workout until your body sends you the all-clear.

    Hope you're feeling better already and back to the strength training, where you want to be!

  5. #5
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    Sometimes, I'll push myself just a little harder when I don't feel like working out. If I haven't slept well or something I won't do it, but if I'm just not feeling strong maybe it's a cloudy day or something, I'll will push hard. I somehow think that if I can push hard when I'm not feeling it then I'll be able to push even harder when I do feel strong and great. My mental dialog goes something like this "I'm feeling week.......Do you want this?..... Yes, I do....Then get in there and do as good as you can".

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    The Big L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy View Post
    Heya Big L, not sure if this is too late, but I wanted to toss out a couple of ideas. Is it possible you might have been fighting off a sickness? Or perhaps your sleep was disturbed?
    Good thought re: fighting off illness. The rest of my family has had a cold for the past week, so it's certainly possible that is what was going on. Lack of sleep is always a possibility too, especially since I do my workouts late at night. I'll try to be mindful of getting a good night of sleep the night before my workout days.

    Another thing I've noticed is that the body doesn't like our mental ideal of better, stronger, leaner every day.
    You said it! I think our bodies really are the best barometer of what we need or can tolerate, both for exercise and nutrition. We just need to learn to listen carefully. And for some of us, we need to make sure not to let our intellectual desires override our bodies' needs.

    Hope you're feeling better already and back to the strength training, where you want to be!
    Thanks. Workout was great last night, and most of my upper body feels deliciously fatigued and just slightly sore today.

  7. #7
    The Big L's Avatar
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    Alright, 1 week after my "muscles of lead" workout attempt, I completely obliterated my previous PR for pull ups. I've been hovering around 5 dead-hang pull ups in my first set, and then 5, 4, or 3 in subsequent sets. To my surprise, I did 6 rather easily in my first set. No idea why I stopped -- probably because I wasn't anticipating going beyond 5. I hit 6 in my second set without too much trouble either. Then, inexplicably, I got 7 in my third set. 4th and 5th sets were 6 each, just barely making the last rep while keeping good form.

    The main difference between my diet today and last Monday was that I had half an acorn squash a couple hours before my workout. I'm really not sure if that could account for such a big bump in performance. I think I'm going to chalk up the difference to something I read in the PB book:

    "On the other hand, if you feel energized and ready to ramp it up a notch, go for it!; push yourself beyond your typical routine to achieve a fitness breakthrough."
    My only concern is that I'll fail to live up to this level the next time I do pull ups (probably next Monday, as I'm planning to do chin ups on Weds and neutral-grip pull-ups on Fri). The good news is I only need to wait a week to find out.

  8. #8
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    Wow, Big L, congratulations! Sounds like your body was just gearing up for the next charge. Breaking through resistance is a truly wonderful feeling. Pull-ups in particular seem to be a milestone exercise -- for the longest time you'll struggle to do one or a few, and then you'll very quickly be able to stack them on. Keep on listening to your body and I'm sure it will take you further still!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy View Post
    Wow, Big L, congratulations! Sounds like your body was just gearing up for the next charge. Breaking through resistance is a truly wonderful feeling. Pull-ups in particular seem to be a milestone exercise -- for the longest time you'll struggle to do one or a few, and then you'll very quickly be able to stack them on. Keep on listening to your body and I'm sure it will take you further still!
    Thanks Timothy. Yeah, it was exhilarating to smash my previous record.

    I neglected to mention one thing about my last workout. On the very last rep of my last set, I heard a loud crack somewhere in my right shoulder or upper arm. It wasn't accompanied by any immediate pain, and later on my shoulder just felt "kinda strange." I didn't give it much thought because my body makes all kinds of weird crackling and popping sounds when I'm doing pull ups.

    Today I started my chin up workout, and I knew after a few reps that something wasn't right. I completed one set, then called it a night. I've been researching online trying to diagnose what could be wrong with my shoulder. At first I was worried that I tore something in my rotator cuff. That still could be the case, but I have full range of motion in my shoulder without any serious pain. There's a very dull pain, almost numbness, somewhere beneath my middle deltoid. And that area is just ever so slightly tender to the touch.

    I'm hoping it's just a mild muscle strain. I'm going to skip a couple workouts in a row and try again next week. I think I'm also going to back off from my 5 sets of pull ups and just go with 3 for a while. I'm eager to make progress, but even more eager to not injure myself.

  10. #10
    worthc's Avatar
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    Funny, I had the same thing happen to my workout last night. I felt kind of weak all day, went home and did some yard work, and then on to my workout. It was pitiful. I ended up just going through the motions and cutting a set out of each lift. I have been 90% primal for the past year and usually kill it on my workouts. This phenomenon has happened a few times. This time I think it had to do with eating 1/2lbs of a 1lb pound cake my pregnant wife made on Monday. Besides the pound cake incident, I think sometimes the body and the mind just don't connect and it is ok not to have a great workout. On Monday I had a personal best deadlift, so I know I am not getting weaker. I guess it is just the way it goes sometimes.

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