EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of Terry Hadlow. Terry got started in Olympic weightlifting in 1970 and is the only Canadian to have competed in senior nationals in five different decades – 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Follow Terry’s journal here to learn about his approach to training and competing.
Athlete Journal Entry 6 – 11/25/2013
Rest week, the necessary evil. The muscular system needs it, and after going from nothing to moderate stress over three weeks, I’m finding myself tired. My nervous system is starting to fire, and I’ve just begun the kick-start process. Now I have to work out a routine that recovers the muscles but doesn’t put my nervous system into hibernation.
The days in the cycle are the same as loading weeks, but I adjust the volume of work to about 60% of loading weeks and keep the overall intensity at about 80%. The strategy is to help recover the muscles but leave the nervous system improving. As an example, on snatch day I cut the reps in half on most sets but add one set with the same number of reps as a loading week, using 80% of the weight. I round up to accommodate the weights we have at the club. That’s a club rule. I forget which number it is in the list of rules, but it states, “Never round down.”
The only day that was a concern was back squat day. My groin was already a little stiff, due to a less deliberate warmup and prep for workouts. This is a side effect of the psychological letdown of rest week. Note to self: I must approach every warmup the same, regardless of where it is in the cycle. This is a problem I have always had.
Things to work on during the next four-week phase:
- After loading workouts, when I have no residual or onset muscle soreness other then the obvious, I tend to skip the evening rolling sessions. I must get back into the routine of rolling every night before bed. Better to be proactive then reactive.
- My eating this past phase was atrocious. I didn’t get into a rhythm and relied on supplements, not food. This must change. I found my blood sugar levels would crash, jeopardizing workouts and everyday activities. When my routine is well-established, that just never happens. Supplements should be just that, and in this phase I relied on them more than I should have. I use Genesis Pure, and although its monthly profile program helps me recover and I appreciate its value, there should be a better relationship between those products and my food consumption. As the phases come and go, the level of stress is going to accelerate and I cannot afford to slip up.
- The inflammation in my joints was non-existent during this phase. I credit my daily use of Mila, which was something I didn’t neglect. Mila is a chia seed complex that contains huge quantities of omega-3s and work wonders for me. I’ve tried other sources but never got the results I get with this product.
- I must be prepared for the effects of poor but improving fitness on the success of high-volume sets. One of the concerns I have is what I call the threshold effect. When a certain weight – let’s say 70kg – is done for six reps and I have to make a jump in weight for the next set, the new weight feels significantly heavier, even if it is a modest jump in weight. A 10kg jump feels like a 40kg jump and the set usually ends in failure. As my leg strength improves, this aggravation should disappear, but in the mean time it can be very discouraging.
With all this evaluated, the next four weeks look exciting and challenging.