Monitoring Fatigue

When it comes to training, we expect to accrue some level of fatigue during the process. We lift, we stress the body, we get fatigued at times. However, excessive fatigue is not a good thing.

When you think about training you need to think about it in terms of balancing the body’s ability to adapt relative to the given stressor (workout) you are about to do. So, if we make the assumption that fatigue and adaptability are related to each other, excessive fatigue means low reserves to potentially adapt. So, if we can monitor our levels of fatigue, we potentially have a better idea of what kind of workout and stress our body can actually handle that day. Doing more than necessary is wasting time. Being strategic with balancing fatigue and training will allow you to get more optimal workouts, ideally leading to optimal adaptation.

The moral of the story is that fatigue is expected and natural. But creating unnecessary fatigue can be detrimental to your progress. There is a fine line between periods of planned overreaching (increasing volume, load, or frequency to create a larger stimulus) versus overtraining (too much of an increase in training volume and/or intensity that leads to a ton of health issues and sets you back).

All in all, monitoring fatigue allows you to get a better understanding of how hard you should train on a given day. Objective and subjective information like RHR (resting heart rate), HRV (heart rate variability), RPE (rating of perceived exertion) during a workout, how you feel when you wake up, etc can all be helpful in determining when to push harder and when to pull back a little bit. Listen to your body and the signs it is giving you!

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