How we often think
We often base our daily plans on how we ‘feel’. As a long haul pilot I mainly do long flights, often during the night where I only get 1-2 hours of sleep within 24 hours. I also fly through multiple time zones, which disrupts the circadian rhythm. That causes an excess of fatigue, due to the lack of effective sleep you get from it. Because of this, I’m always vigilant about my rest and sleep. I would never workout on flying days, because I ‘felt’ fatigued. I would mainly focus on resting on my off days and base training days on how I ‘felt’. Which would result in training twice a week sometimes.
How we feel doesn’t matter
Since two months ago I’m being coached by a ‘Starting Strength’ coach, who is specialised in working with people with a traveling lifestyle. He actually told me that ‘how I feel’, doesn’t always reflect on how I’ll perform. Regardless of my flight schedule, he put me on a really high volume training program and told me to even workout when I feel like absolute shit e.g. to work out even after a night flight where I slept for a maximum of 1-2 hours. I just had to make sure I’d hit the weekly training volume. Yes I felt like shit initially, but I found out during the training that It’s all okay. It’s not the end of the world, the training is actually going great. Sometimes I even hit great numbers on days that I’ve just done a long night shift. On the other hand I’ve had days where I’ve slept great, long and felt fantastic, but my workout just sucked ass!
Bottom line, how you feel doesn’t always reflect on how you will perform. it’s fine to train when you’re super tired, or feeling under the weather. It could even be beneficial. Staying consistent is the key. Want to get better at playing the piano, you should practice playing the piano on a consistent basis. The same applies to training. If you want to get stronger, lose fat, you should train consistently. Even if you have to squeeze it in for 20 minutes or have to use lighter weights than you’ve planned that day for whatever reason. Training is always better than not training.