Fatigue ALWAYS Masks True “Fitness”

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Vladimir Zatsiorsky (a man who is smarter than all of us) summarized the fitness-fatigue theory (or two factor theory) by stating, “The immediate effect after a workout is considered a combination of (a) fitness gain prompted by the workout and (b) fatigue. The summation of positive and negative changes determines the final outcome.”

Fitness-Fatigue Model

Fatigue will always mask your “true” fitness level. Many trainees (myself included) make the mistake of constantly pounding away each and every week, adding more and more volume. Inevitably, performance drops and a whole lot of frustration ensues.

A great analogy I like to use is this: If I were to ask you find your one rep max on the bench press and then told you to go out and run a marathon, do you think you could come back after running 26 miles and still lift that same weight? Um, no.

In general, just learning how to fluctuate your training volume on a weekly basis will go a long way to help prevent fatigue from deterring your progress in the future. I can attest to this. About a year and a half ago I was going through a “funk” and not making much progress in the gym. I just felt really rundown, tired, and weak.

Unfortunately, I continued to pound away each week. I decided to back-off for a week (deload) and low and behold, I came back the following week and broke a personal record (PR) with a 560 pound deadlift.

You can’t expect to set personal records each and every week, and if you’re one of the many who feel that in order to make progress you need to constantly add more and more volume each and every week, then you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. Again, fatigue will always mask fitness. Keep your ego at the door and learn to back-off when needed.

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