I feel like a bitch.


I have been doing this so long that I can predict exactly how long it will take between starting an off-season, balls out, growth phase and when I will start to struggle with recovery.  For me, it is always within that 2 to 3 week window and it has hit full force.  I feel like I have been hit by a truck.


Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing so if that is the impression you are getting, that isn't what I want to convey.  It is just that this happens to everyone at some point after they start an intense, new training protocol.  I figured I would give anyone reading this a heads-up so that when you run into this situation, you know what it is and how to handle it.


In a nutshell, I feel overtrained.  I am not just sore from training, but I feel "tender" when I go back to train a body part again and during my work sets the working muscles burns like hellfire.  In addition, my joints ache a little (not bad) and tendons are slightly inflamed.  I am just not fresh when I go back to hit a muscle group again.


The reason it isn't technically overtraining is because I still have a strong appetite, I am getting bigger and stronger by the day and I feel great outside of the gym.  Actually, as much as I still feel tender when I go to train a muscle group again, the overall soreness from training is actually starting to decrease.   This is a strong indication that I am actually moving through this phase and should come out of it in another couple of weeks.


The best way to explain what is going on is adaptation.  My body is not used to training this hard and training this frequently.  Eg:  I might train 12 working sets of chest and 15 working sets of back on Monday and come back on Thursday and hit the same volume again - with a few sets being either rest pause sets or drop sets, etc..  I could slow down at this point and that would seem to be the logical thing to do but ... if I do that, I won't move through this adaptive phase as quickly and my recovery would likely continue to suffer.   By forging on and making sure that my rest and nutrition is adequate, my body will adjust and adapt and within a couple of weeks I will be recovering perfectly from these workouts.


My main objective right now while in this phase is to train my ass off but also not to increase my volume or intensity any higher than it already is so that I simply don't push past my ability to recover and end up in a situation where either my immune system is compromised or even end up with an injury.   It is crucial that I understand the difference between a signal that my body is giving me that might indicate a potential injury vs. the aches and pains of simply busting my ass.  How do I know the difference?  I am not sure that I can explain that.  After training as long as I have, I just know and I tend to make intuitive decisions in the gym.  I can pass on nutrition and training knowledge to others but I can't explain intuition.  It is just something you acquire after years and years of doing something.


During this phase I simply refuse to miss meals or to miss out on sleep and I am even making a huge attempt to keep my stress levels down.  I am making sure that I get as much food as I need during my Skiploads, too.  The more efficient I am right now in aiding my recovery and making it more efficient, the quicker I can move out of this phase.


And though the gains have already started, the gains will flow that much more in this next phase of my off season.



In the meantime, damn do I ache EVERYWHERE.