I just spent a week sick as a dog. It hit when I was peaking my heavy training cycle, one week before a virtual meet and two before a live one I've been planning on for ten months. Some virus put me down with a sore throat, congestion, aches, a malfunctioning digestion system, and utter fatigue. What terrible timing.
I fought through it - called in sick, hit the couch each day and the bed each night. Took cold medicine, drank thick orange juice and protein drinks, ate oatmeal and eggs and yams through a fizzling appetite. Doubled dosages on my vitamin and mineral supplements, added zinc. It finally faded away and my health came back.
The first day I started to feel better, I was really excited about it. I went into the gym for an exploratory lift to see how much I'd lost, careful not to overdo it. I performed at about 50 percent. Two days later, I had a nearly full lift.
I couldn't be more surprised. Not only did I not lose much strength progress at all, I've made some gains. I gained a couple of solid pounds. My strength is still very good. I can feel my potential to reach my peak volumes is still easily within reach. I felt a hit to my aerobic capacity, but not near the level I'd expected.
This is major: I figured out what adjustments I need to make in order to continue lifting. Because all my aches and pains had subsided, I had a blank slate to work with to figure out what moves in my work outs have been hurting my shoulder*. When you become accustomed to harboring various pains and working through them in the rigors of training, the pain spreads, becoming more generalized, making it difficult for you to analyze the problems. Are the aches from my bed? My shoes? My grip? My path of motion? It blurs. When nothing hurts, as soon as you do something aggravating, it's very clear.
I feel deeply... rested. This is vastly different from taking a week off training but still carrying on work and everything else. I feel bigger, stronger, more solid. I'm energized about going into the gym. And the work outs - Yee haw!
I've long believed in taking a week off from training here and there, and I do cycle my training and prioritize my sleep. But the quality of recovery I feel after a week of the complete sedentary life has come like an epiphany. I'm ready to preach this gospel and block out pre-competition couch potato spells, full of naps and movie rentals.
I did miss the virtual meet, but the live meet is this Saturday. And I plan on bringing it.
* [The corrections I've made: When lowering the bar from overhead to my shoulders in a rack position, on my troubled shoulder side, I unwrap my thumb from the bar and turn my wrist-to-shoulder path in, for more internal shoulder rotation. Also, on dumbbell bench presses, I lower the path of the bells to over my sternum throughout the movements, so my shoulders are at less than 90 degrees and the lats are more engaged.]