As much as we want to continue to make progress with training and nutrition, these are not at the top of our list of priorities in life. Other responsibilities and social events take precedence, but these need not be at the expense of gains.
Let’s first explore the fitness-fatigue model in order to give us some pretext.
As we bring fitness down, we also bring fatigue down which allows us to be better prepared for the next training session. So, the difference between fitness and fatigue gives us preparedness. Ideally, we would like fatigue to be dissipated for training to take place again.
Well-managed training achieves preparedness and consequently, adaptation. Managing rest and recovery is important, especially if we want to enjoy life outside of the gym. Accountability always prevails.
When life events begin to come into play, our level of fatigue is bound to take a hit. So, we must adjust.
“I want to train but I’ve had such a long day and it’s getting late.”
There’s nothing wrong with simply not training for a day. It won’t undo your progress and you can make up for that day by training on another day. Manage your fatigue, remain accountable and set yourself up to win.
“It’s lower body strength day but I had a bad night’s sleep and a stressful day. I want to go to the gym to blow off some steam.”
Having a flexible program is key if your lifestyle calls for one. If you are not prepared for that day, then choose a lesser demanding workout. For example, if you aren’t up to the demands of a strength training day then opt for a hypertrophy based equivalent. Auto regulation is a tool we can use to allow us to remain accountable and continue with progress.
“I’m on holiday and I want to go to the gym.”
Give yourself a break and enjoy your holiday. If you want to train, then try out a local gym or do some outdoor training and enjoy the scenery. You can get back to killing it in the gym when the holiday is over.
“I play football on Sunday’s for a local team, but I want to keep training.”
Simple, manage your fatigue and allow yourself time to recover and be prepared for Sunday. And watch what you do in the days following as well. For example, having a lower body session the day before isn’t the smartest idea. If you do train, why not have a less demanding upper body the day before and rest the day following? Also, training volume for the week would need to be considered.
As stated previously, accountability is key. Being realistic with your expectations will ultimately set you up for making progress as well as remaining flexible when it comes to training.
If all else fails, follow this flow chart.