Turning Failure Into Success

Last week was basically one big Fail.

I wasn’t sleeping well. I was continuously dehydrated (my own fault for not keeping up with my H2O intake when I get busy at work), I was craving sugar like Cray-Cray (Hello, symptoms of sleep deprivation!) and I had an Epic Fail in the weight room on Tuesday.

I went in for a heavy squat day, did my warm up sets, and then went ahead with my work sets. That’s when my body started to cry. I have been stuck at 145 for at least a month (probably more like 6 weeks by now?) but had been able to complete 3×5 at 145 for each of my last couple of heavy squat days. Last week, however, was a different story. I got to rep #3 on my first set and hit failure.


Ok, Not quite that bad, but you get the idea.

That was just the beginning. Once I realized that my squats were going to be totally craptastic for the day, I lowered the weight and proceeded with a lower weight, low volume leg day. It wasn’t scheduled to be a de-load week (this week was), but the way I was feeling, I knew I had to listen to my body and give myself some slack. I kept the rest of the week pretty very low volume, but still felt tired, sluggish, and unmotivated. Friday’s leg day was one that would normally be super light, even on a de-load week, but I ended up being sore from it through Sunday.

Not only was I tired, sluggish, and unmotivated, but my hamstring flared up again as well. It hasn’t gone back to 100% since I first started feeling it, but last week it got a little bit more angry than it had been lately.

My body was in fail mode. However, I wasn’t my usual moronic self who would just push through because I wasn’t “scheduled” for a de-load, and I actually listened to my screaming, pleading body. Looking back, I probably should have just stayed away from the gym totally, but hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? And I can’t change that now anyway.

But you know what? My light week did WONDERS. I came into the gym this Monday, following a glorious 9 hours of sleep Sunday night, and hit 150×3 on my back squats. WOOP!

Moral of the story is: I was able to turn my failed lift one week into a new PR in the next. The combination of sleep, stress reduction, and general rest is a powerful thing, especially if you find yourself in a rut or having a generally sub-par workout.Ā  After giving myself the time off that my body so clearly required, I have been sleeping much better this week, my workouts have felt much better, and I’m not the irritable B*tch who showed up towards the tail end of last week.

To this I say: Success!

*Note: I was reading an old issue of Shape magazine this morning, where Molly Sims was talking about working out for 30 days straight. It made me want to cry just thinking about it… Give your body a break, people!

Have you ever had to change your de-load week or rest days because of outside stress? Do you take de-load weeks or scheduled time off from working out? Do you notice how much stress or sleep deprivation can effect your workouts?

Happy Friday, Happy People!

11 thoughts on “Turning Failure Into Success

  1. YAY (kind of) for unscheduled deload weeks!! Or the results they get ya, anyway =) I’ve definitely had to modify workouts because I hit the figurative wall – not so much now that I have deloads worked into my schedule every ~4 weeks, but failing waaaaayyyy earlier than I should? OH yeah. Been there, done that.

  2. Awesome job on the PR!! Don’t you just love it when you have a gym session that totally defies how you thought it would be?! So glad you were able to conquer the funk and get back to normal! šŸ™‚

    1. Thanks girl! Yes, it felt so great to get in there and get those reps…Onward! šŸ™‚

  3. Oh god, my biggest fear is failing a squat! Yikes. But I can definitely relate to your story. A few months ago I was trying for a deadlift PR and I couldn’t even get the bar off the ground! So I listened to my body and did a lighter workout. The next week I beat the PR I was trying to make! Just goes to show how important resting is. And 30 days straight? No thanks.

    1. Right? 30 days straight makes me hurt just thinking about it!

  4. i dealt with real serious overtraining syndrome for a year before realizing exactly what it was and how to handle it. it was the worst – i felt sick all the time and i wasn’t sleeping. ironically though my performance in the gym wasn’t really suffering significantly so i wasn’t 100% sure i was REALLY overtraining….but everything else was a disaster! it took a long time to get better but now i take full weeks completely away from the gym, and more rest days in between work outs and i feel stronger and better than ever. i don’t usually schedule deload weeks, i just listen to my body and also try to plan around holidays/stressful times. my goals are slightly different though – i really only do max strength cycles 1-2x per year… & with those, i will plan the deload a bit more and try to stick to it. GOOD WORK on that PR though!! and take care of that hammie!!

    1. It really is amazing how much your body can be affected by overtraining, and not just in the gym! And I’m trying to take care of the hammie… it’s a nagging little bugger that’s just more annoying than anything!

  5. whenever i have a CRAP workout or run, i always have to remind myself (once i’m done being pissed ad/or pouting, of course!) that crappy days are what make those killer, PR days so much sweeter! rock on, girl.

    1. Very true Jenn, after such a crappy week, the PR the next week was even better!

  6. Timmy Jones Johnson May 18, 2012 — 2:45 pm

    I totally agree. I remember in college when I was always pumping iron with Rondeau at the gym. I would come back from a week or sometimes even a month and my weights wouldn’t have dropped and I sometimes even increased weight from the rest! Good post

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