Auto-Regulation and Managing Fatigue

By Coach Ravi

For long term progression, injury prevention and overall well-being, it is important that we pay attention to how our body feels day to day. We can pay attention to how we’re feeling by noticing our energy, stress, soreness, and mood levels. In addition, at Paragon, we utilize the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale to adjust the workout accordingly.

By following the prescribed RPE, a heavy squat at RPE 9 may vary 10-20lbs depending on how rested and recovered we are prior to the session. This is especially important to note for advanced lifters and those who have been training for a while. When we first start weight training, we can often add weight or reps to our lifts from week to week or even workout to workout. But, anyone who has been training longer than three months knows this phase soon comes to an end and progress is a slower process.

A great way to see how you are feeling that day is during the warm-up and circuit A. Sometimes we can feel sluggish prior to the workout, but once we get moving things start to click and we often feel strong and capable to give a good effort. Other times after warming up, we may still feel tired and that would be a time to back off a bit. For example, I had planned to do three sets of five reps at 225lbs on the squat. During warm-ups my knee was slightly sore from a previous run I went on so instead I do three sets of five at 185-205lbs or less reps at 225lbs. There are a million ways to auto-regulate intensity for workouts and the most important thing is that we listen to our body and make the necessary changes. You don’t need to add weight or reps to every workout to make it a successful one and sometimes dialing it back is the best move you can make.

This is not to say that every single time we are tired or feel a little pain that we have to completely back off or sandbag the whole workout all together. That is a very easy trap to fall into and before you know it, months will have gone by and you will have made no progress at all. There is a fine line of knowing when to push it and when to let up on the gas. Not getting attached to lifting a certain amount of weight on exercises and rather getting attached to giving your smartest effort each workout is what will get you the best progress. When we say smartest effort, you can think of aiming for your situational best. This means we are accepting our current situation and aiming for the best we can in that given scenario. Over time with this method, you will most certainly get stronger and build muscle. 

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