As a Personal Trainer, it is generally accepted that one of my responsibilities would be to push clients to their limit each time. However, that is not the case and trainers who follow that mantra for every session could be forcing their clients to regress.
Remember, your body reacts, grows or develops when you recover not when working out.
Therefore, you should always be looking to do the most work that you can optimally recover from. If you are in a depleted or fatigued state, your ability to recover is compromised, so you cannot put as much stress on your system and expect to develop. Not only that, but your form is likely to suffer making you more susceptible to injuries.
So, if I’m training a client, often my role is to rein them in and protect them from their own enthusiasm.
If their fatigue levels are particularly bad, I’ll look to change the workout entirely and do more of an activation workout to try and stimulate their CNS. Frequently this is enough to spark their intensity to a level allowing a phenomenal training session. Other times it will energize them enough to get through the rest of the day and promote a good night’s sleep. This, in turn, generates a much better intensity for the next session.
However, being too tired is never an excuse to do nothing.
You can always do some kind of workout. As I said above, it can often lead to a great training session or, at the very least, stimulate a better workout next time.
You should remember that improvement is not about individual workouts. As I stated in the article Lose Weight Fast – Playing The Long Game you should be looking for the cumulative effect of everything you do. So even if a day is not optimal, it is still a point on your development and should be considered as part of your overall progress rather than a day off.
So, next time you think you are too tired to train, just remember, you made a commitment, you made an appointment with yourself (you should have this appointment in your diary, it is as important as any other meeting). Remember that goal you set yourself, remember why you set it, re-connect with the emotion then go get started.
Listen to your body as you go.
Use your emotional connection with your result to push you to work as hard as you can, but if your focus is poor or you form is suffering, change up what you are doing. Look to use some plyometric training, some explosive work or, at the very least, go for a jog and get some oxygen flowing through your lungs. Then re-assess.