Muscle Talk - By International Protein

How To Deal With Fatigue

June 16, 2021 International Protein Season 4 Episode 6
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
How To Deal With Fatigue
Chapters
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
How To Deal With Fatigue
Jun 16, 2021 Season 4 Episode 6
International Protein

In this episode, we talk about techniques of how to manage fatigue.
What to do when you feel fatigued and strategies to avoid it in the first place.


  • Lower your weights or rest?
  • It's different when you’re competing.
  • Listen to your body
  • Change your routine
  • Use your rest-days 
  • De-Loading 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk about techniques of how to manage fatigue.
What to do when you feel fatigued and strategies to avoid it in the first place.


  • Lower your weights or rest?
  • It's different when you’re competing.
  • Listen to your body
  • Change your routine
  • Use your rest-days 
  • De-Loading 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Ash Horton:
Welcome to Muscle Talk, where you'll get world champion advice about nutrition and stacking on muscle. Our host, Christine Envall, she's a three-time World Champion Bodybuilder, an IFBB professional, a food scientist, and a founding co-owner of our podcast sponsor International Protein.

Ash Horton:
In this episode, we talk about techniques of how to manage fatigue, what to do when you feel fatigued, and strategies to avoid it in the first place.

Ash Horton:
Okay Christine, today I want to talk about if you've hit a fatiguing point, like maybe you've, I don't know, been working out too hard and you just feel low after that. Or perhaps you're a little bit sick. Or for whatever reason that might be, you're just fatigued. And this is for a duration that's longer than just one day. It might sort of last a week or two or something like that. How do you get through that? Is it that you lower your weights but keep going? Or are you better to actually rest? Or what's your advice?

Christine Envall:
Okay. There are actually a lot of different ways that you can handle it. And it's like everything, there's never a simple answer, Ash, and you know that there's always going to be a lot of questions that come behind that. And it would also depend, like if you're getting ready for a competition, for example, and I know you've asked this question and you're not, but I'm going to use this as an example because a lot of people are in that situation where they feel fatigued but they've got maybe still eight weeks to go for a competition. You'd handle it a little bit differently when it's competition. And a little bit of it is you do have to just kind of push through because you have an end date, versus if you're just training, and how you handle fatigue. And also how long you've been training, and also your maturity of how you would approach things.

Christine Envall:
So there's a lot of different things here to look at. So let's just say that, as you said, the fatigue's been going along, you're not getting ready for a competition, and you haven't had a break for a while. Then absolutely you need to have a break. But again, there's different ways that you can do that. And there isn't really a right or a wrong way. It's what suits you and what suits your end goal. Because it's different for everybody.

Christine Envall:
In the example where a lot of people use the gym for their mental release and their escape and it's that thing that they do, then for them, taking a week off, even if they are fatigued, is often kind of like even more of a freak out or a scary thought than just having the week off. Whereas somebody else taking a week off and recouping and recovering is like, "Oh yeah, I love it. I want to get out and do other things." So depends on the personality a little bit. So in the instance that you're a person that doesn't want to actually give up the gym, stop the gym-

Ash Horton:
Let's say you don't want to lose your momentum of muscle growth.

Christine Envall:
Well, the thing is, you're not going to lose the momentum of muscle growth. In fact, you've probably already lost it by the fact that you're in that fatigue and you actually need to do this to get it back again.

Ash Horton:
Right.

Christine Envall:
So that's really the simple answer there, that if you're in that state of fatigue, then there's a chance that you're either already experiencing it or about to experience a drop off in your strength, or your recovery is not working properly, you're not sleeping properly, or you've hit some kind of a plateau.

Christine Envall:
So what you're talking about is what they call deloading. And the best way to really approach it is to actually schedule it into your program. So don't just leave it to the point where you're like, "Oh, I'm feeling fatigued now." People, as they get more into training, and particularly the more experienced that you are, a lot of people, it could be anywhere from every 12 weeks, some people every four weeks, and anything in between that range, where they actually schedule in a week of what they call lighter training.

Christine Envall:
Now it might be that they do just lighter weights across the board, but do the same workout. I particularly don't necessarily like that as far as dropping the weights a lot because that's to me where I lose my momentum. What I like to do is drop off a couple of reps.

Ash Horton:
Right.

Christine Envall:
So if something... I'm doing, say, for eight or 10 reps on a particular weight, but I know that at six reps it's still super easy for me, because essentially like you hit that point where, "Good, good, ugh," and then you hit that rep that isn't so good. And that's just my style of training. So I might drop my rep range. Or maybe do one less set, but still try to go for my max for the third set. Or still use the same weight, but just not as many reps so I don't get the opportunity to fatigue.

Christine Envall:
Somebody else might drop off an entire exercise and still try to do everything else the same, but just reduce the volume that they're training. Somebody else might keep that same volume, but just change the number of sets, change the actual reps. That's a couple of different systems of doing that. And other people will take a full whole time off.

Christine Envall:
But if you want to stay in the gym, I think the best way really is to create a new routine. And it can be either a combination of those things. Like you might have certain exercises where you want to still do the same, but a couple of other, those really core compound exercises, where you want to do that but you find that any of the machines you're okay to keep on doing what you've been doing. Or somebody else might just want to go, "Okay, I'm going to do 20 reps and halve my weight." And that's what I'm going to do. And that's, that's essentially giving my joints arrest because obviously the weight is related to joint fatigue.

Christine Envall:
So it's going to depend probably on the type of fatigue that you're feeling. And that again takes a little bit of experience to know and to recognize what it is that you're feeling. So-

Ash Horton:
I guess the danger of stopping is that you lose the momentum or the habit of going to the gym. I mean it-

Christine Envall:
No, well that's why I was saying I'm not a fan of taking that whole week off. Because one, yes, you do get out of the cycle of it. And two, I like being in the gym. So that you don't get out of the momentum of it because you're still going and you're still essentially following a framework, it's just a slightly modified framework of what you're doing on a normal basis. Whereas for some other people, if it's scheduled in... And it's a different mindset if you know that that's that thing and you've got things that you want to do instead of that. And it can be a holiday.

Christine Envall:
I didn't ever used to do this type of training when I was competing. But the last week before a competition was essentially like that. Whilst you didn't stop training, you did definitely trained somewhat different. Normally when you were traveling, you were in a totally different gym. Everything was different. And then you obviously stop say on the Wednesday for a Saturday or Sunday competition. So your week is shorter. Then you might have a day or two after the competition. So you essentially get about five or six days where you're not lifting a weight. So every time you compete, you get that break. And whilst you're doing other things, it's... But then you're like straight back into it because that's planned and scheduled.

Christine Envall:
So I think that difference between if you're feeling a little bit fatigued and you've got to that point of feeling that that's more of a danger than actually scheduling it into your program. And so some people they might use that as the signal for the end of a program, and then when they come back, they're starting a fresh program or changing something up. So you've got that to look forward to when you come back to it. Other people maybe have a holiday or an event or something that they're going to that takes them away from their normal routine. So they can't be in that normal routine. So they utilize that as an opportunity to schedule that particular break from their training.

Christine Envall:
So I think the key thing is if you're scheduling it and it's planned, it's less of a risk of dropping out of that momentum. If you're getting fatigued and you don't address it and you don't try to take some kind of a break there, that's when that, "Oh, I'll just take today off because I'm a bit sore," suddenly becomes that you've taking two days a week where you're not training, and now you're only training two days. And then suddenly it becomes three days a week where you're not training and you're training one or two days. That's where you slip into that if you don't fix the problem, address it, and then come back fresh to go and keep on training. If you just start taking random days.

Christine Envall:
Now, that's where earlier I talked about the maturity, because for some people that works really, really well. But you have to have a certain level of maturity with your training, where the overall momentum keeps going. And I'm going to use Brandon Ray, our former sponsored athlete, as a really good example of this. If he feels fatigued and he knows he's not going to have his ultimate workout, he will take a day off.

Ash Horton:
Right.

Christine Envall:
But his cycle basically continues. So the next day he doesn't skip that body part and go on to whatever it was meant to be next. So if he was meant to do back and he felt too tired, he will push back till the next day, and then just continue on with his program. So he may only train four days some weeks, but it might be five on other weeks. So he has his training schedule, and it just keeps on rolling. But he feels like, "Okay, now I'm going to probably hurt myself, or have a sub-optimal workout," he won't do it. He'll, in preference, take that day of rest. And it absolutely has been to his advantage to do that. He doesn't have any injuries, he's continuing to grow, and that works really, really well for him.

Christine Envall:
For some other people to not be in that routine, that would possibly not work for them. And that one day might become two days that they take off. And then before they know it, they're not really training that hard. And especially if it doesn't fix the problem. That's also a situation where if you do a deloading week and you come back and you're still feeling that fatigue, then you'd probably have to look a little bit further as to what's causing that.

Ash Horton:
Like your nutrition and sleep.

Christine Envall:
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And your hydration.

Ash Horton:
Yes.

Christine Envall:
So your sleep, hydration, nutrition, and even your hormone balance. Because again, depending on your age, depending on various things, your hormone levels can affect how fatigued you feel and how tired you feel. Could be that you've got other stuff going on at work. So you might need to stop and look at what potentially is causing that. Or is just your overall routine not right? Like is it the time of day that you're training, does that not suit you anymore? Is it what time you're eating your meals? All kind of things, but you need to do a bit of an audit on your life and find out what's happening, if that doesn't fix it.

Christine Envall:
But essentially there's a couple of ways. Obviously, if it's just a really today, "Oh my God, I'm just tired." And I had an example a couple of weeks ago where I just for some reason slept right through my alarm and missed my 4:30 class, which is basically my body saying to me, "No, you needed to sleep." Because I would have woken up otherwise. But I slept right through the alarm. That was my body saying I wanted a break today. It was too much. And I missed that one day and obviously back into it like I never skipped a beat. But I think if I had have tried to force myself or woken up and gone, then potentially I would have created some kind of a imbalance problem, just compounded that fatigue.

Christine Envall:
If you are at a mature enough level to be able to do that, then that'd be a great system to do. If you know you're one of those people who one day becomes two becomes three, then you really need to set that schedule where you say, "Okay, no, this week," and it might be once every eight weeks where you take a whole week and just change your training around. I have a friend of mine who does a lot of more heavy powerlifting type training, and him and his training partner will go and use basically like bands and really, really light stuff for a week about every six weeks or something. Because just to change up their load. Now-

Ash Horton:
It's got to be good for your nervous system just to take that load away.

Christine Envall:
If you're training in the kind of training where you're... Particularly on a super heavy training or a lot of, what do you call it? Time under tension, where it is very, very much hitting your central nervous system and fatiguing that, then... And that's where, for me, that's why just taking off those couple of reps off my heavier sets seems to just take away that central nervous system stress. And that's refreshing enough. And also, as I said, it depends on whether it's your joints that are fatigued or whether it's like mental fatigue or just overall feeling tired.

Christine Envall:
But those are the basic ways that you can do it. And it really comes down to you in terms of what suits, but it's also the structuring of it, because structure is always the basis of everything and that helps to keep you on track. So if you know that that's coming up, if you are feeling a little bit tired, maybe two weeks out from that. And again, that's maybe your signal, "Yeah, I need this." Or maybe if it's happening regularly, say two weeks before your break, then maybe you need to address when you're putting that break, because it is a thing where it's going to be always changing. And some people, they need that every four weeks, other people it's every 12 weeks.

Ash Horton:
So listen to your body.

Christine Envall:
Absolutely. Listen to your body. But that's when you're training along just in a normal routine. When you're getting ready for a competition, it's a little bit different because there's the... I think the method here would be a little bit more like if you absolutely felt so fatigued, maybe just take that day, and push through the rest of your program. It would take a little bit of experience again, and experimenting with it as to whether or not coming into your competition you try that type of cyclic training.

Christine Envall:
Most people's comp preps would be anywhere from say 12 to 24 weeks. So there potentially is in the middle there to put a break and change up your training for that period of time and see how that goes. But that's something, again, that's when you have an absolute deadline and you have to be doing a certain thing, it can be very challenging to just go and put that rest in. But then at the same time, it could be the difference between you getting to the show looking absolutely amazing because you had that little break and then continued on with it. But that's something that you'll only know from trying it and you might try it and go, "Oh my God, that was the worst thing that I could've done. I really shouldn't have done that break right there." But until you try it, you're not going to know whether it was going to work better for you or not work better for you.

Christine Envall:
So that's all I can say around that because every person is going to react differently to how that is. And I think in your head, you think, "Oh my God, this day is just going to send me backwards and I'm going to lose all of this muscle size." And all of the studies are showing that people who took that kind of a break and did a deloading were not worse off for doing it. They didn't say they were better off either, but they definitely didn't go backwards. So I think there can be confidence around that one day here, if it's just that day, or a week done as a deloading phase where even if you're completely taking that whole week off, is not going to negatively affect your overall result in terms of your strength gain. But if you were doing a competition, you would probably want to allow for that in your prep time. So that's one part of it.

Christine Envall:
And I am just going to have a little bit of a closeout note around that, around the same thing with dieting and that, where if someone is dieting for a show, then potentially having a cyclic diet so that they are coming back up to maintenance and then going back down again. One, has been shown to help preserve metabolism. So obviously as people diet, their metabolism can get suppressed. But that can also work around with having a bit of a stress release. Because obviously when you're dieting, your cortisol's raised from being in that negative calorie position.

Christine Envall:
So potentially that's another part, where if you're feeling that fatigue and it's a combination of everything, to stop you from going out and potentially breaking and having a cheat meal and just going totally off the rails, then scheduling in a week where you're bringing the calories back up to closer to maintenance and then bringing them back down again can have a potentially refreshing effect. And then you go at it harder.

Christine Envall:
And I'm going to liken this back to anyone who does interval training and you get the temptation to continue to work through your rest break because it's only 15 seconds. So you think what's the big deal? You find that your overall performance comes down rather than going... Like the name says, high-intensity, you do a higher spurt and then you get that little break. It's just that little break, and it's just enough to refresh you to be able to go back higher. Whereas if you try to maintain at that level, it is a lot harder.

Christine Envall:
So you often find that you'll get better performance from having that break, taking that break, not trying to be a hero and push through and say, "Oh no, I can't have days off." That's why in your actual schedule, you should be having days off anyway. Even if it's one day a week, two days a week. You can't weight train seven days a week and think that you're performing at your optimal. Try having that day off and then see how much better you are by having that day off.

Christine Envall:
So you got to look at the overall structure on everything, but if you're just feeling fatigued, it's not gone away, try either of those methods. One of them or more is going to resonate with you. You're going to try that. As I said, I like to just drop some reps, maybe drop a set off on an exercise, not on every single one. That seems to be enough for me. I'm obviously going to address that as I go, as I get older and as different things crop up. See what works, but definitely don't ignore it.

Ash Horton:
Excellent. Well that definitely a few possibilities for people to try. So thank you very much. I'm sure that it's going to help a lot of people.

Christine Envall:
No worries. Did it help you Ash?

Ash Horton:
It did.

Christine Envall:
Good

Ash Horton:
Words of wisdom. If you like what you've heard, leave us a review and recognize that these bodybuilding tips from International Protein are free. So show your support by becoming a loyal International Protein customer. The best supplements money can buy. So jump online, hunt down our product, and hit that Buy Now button.