July 26, 2012 posted by

When You’re Not Feeling It, Press On…

One of the frustrating facts of training is that getting fitter is not a linear projection. At some point you’ll have a bad patch. If you’re lucky it will only last a few workouts, though it might last a few weeks and if you overtrain it can last months. So while there is strategy to consider when you’re not feeling it the solution, as Scottish climber Dave MacLoed points out in this recent article, is always to press on.

This isn’t something unique to un-fit. In fact it’s the opposite as the fitter you are the more likely it will happen. This is because the closer you are to peak fitness the less margin for error you have when it comes to overtraining, which is why you always hear about athletes struggling to get their training timing right around competitions.

Overtraining is a hard—-and sometimes impossible—-thing to gauge because it’s based on so many factors that you can’t always assess. Things like your mental state, that can cause fluxuations in your hormonal and nervous system function, are always issues that are somewhat out of your control. Pressing on means you don’t want to give up because it’s not working, but continue to trust your training program with an open mind, always evaluating the possibilities for minor tweaks. Here’s a very similar article I wrote on the subject that’s more specific to Beachbody programs. If your training program is solidly-crafted, as I hope ours are given I’m the one that does it, the benefits will come in the end as long as you don’t give up.

MacLoed, one of the world’s best all-around climbers as well as an exercise physiologist, says,

I could go cragging I guess, which might be good for the head. But it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do for some reason. Training feels right, or at least did feel right.

I have been doing my circuits night after night. Some strange things are going on though which I can’t put my finger on. I’m definitely getting less pumped per circuit. I’m even getting a reasonable amount done. Yet for some reason, I don’t ‘feel’ fit.

When warming up I’m feeling rough and starting from a low base. And even once I’m going I feel heavy. I’m guessing it’s just one of those periods you have to go through every so often. So I’ll carry right on, until my body decides to wake up to the message that I need it to get fitter and stronger.

Those of you who follow TSD know I’ve been blogging on this subject using my own training and how nothing seems to be clicking this year. My solution, like Dave’s, is going to be to keep pressing on. As should yours.

vid: for those who don’t know, dave is on a very exclusive list of those who climb near the top of the scale in many disciplines: ice climbing, sport climbing, mega-scary trad climbing, and bouldering.


  • Great stuff Steve. Along the lines of overtraining, I've wanted to ask you a while about the official Asylum hybrids on the back of the Asylum schedule, especially the Insanity-Asylum hybrid. I'm thinking of giving that one a shot, but it seems to me a recipe for overtraining (e.g., Strength-Pure Cardio on the same day). How did you all come up with that one? Thanks! Tim

  • Those hybrids are really just propositions based on progressive overload. I'm not sure if it made it into the copy (hope it did) but they're designed for options ONCE YOUR DONE with the original programs, so they are post-post graduate programs following the "you've done Insanity, done Asylum, want more, try this". So with it in mind that you are adapted to Asylum, yes, Strength and Pure Cardio becomes on option.

  • Now that I'm thinking about it, Asylum launched with a major typo on one of the schedules where something like that day you mentioned got places where a rest day was supposed to be. So if something like that seems off it could be you have an original copy. We FAQ'd this and fixed it in the next printing and I'm sure you'll find in on the Message Boards.

  • That's helpful Steve. Not sure if this is what you're talking about, but on day 16, the workout is a double one with Strength followed by Insanity's Max Interval Circuit. Then day 17 is Max Interval Circuit again. If that's a typo, what should it have been?

  • That's it. Day 14 and 16 are both supposed to be Max Recovery. Kind of a big difference!

  • What? That's why I was kinda questioning that schedule.

  • Hey Steve,Last Spring and Summer I spent 4 months with Asylum, and did both hybrids as printed! I just had an aha moment! Now that I know there's a typo with the Insanity/Asylum hybrid, it makes sense! I am a 45 year old female and I was in the best shape of my life when doing that hybrid. I certainly didn't feel like I was overtraining, but it was a GREAT challenge and I probably could've used a break around the time of the typo, but I just kept going. I have still been training all along (P90X2, Les Mills Pump, etc.), but just started Day 1 of Asylum today and was served!!! 🙂 I'm getting ready for the fall release of Asylum 2 and the Tough Mudder in Oct!! I love being almost 46 and able to do these programs! Thank you for such great articles and inspiration!Kimberly

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