Do You Need To Quit Your Job For Optimal Performance?

Is it just me or does your employment get in the way of optimal strength and hypertrophy gains? I mean, wouldn’t it be that much easier if all you had to do was meal plan, get in two workouts a day, and never have to worry about getting other work done. 

This Is Easier Said Than Done.

We all have responsibilities to attend to. Whether it is our employment, children at home, or even other time-consuming duties around the house. Learning how to balance all of these is not simple and the stressors n our life certainly impact our performance and if we even get to a workout. What if there was a way to understand this and reduce its impact on our health and exercise goals?

How Does Mental Stress Or Prolonged Cognitive Activities Effect Performance?

A recent study was conducted to examine the effects of “prolonged cognitive activity” on exercise performance. Before we get to the findings, my guess is we have all encountered instances like this and found ourselves losing motivation after a long day at work. But let’s face it, work is not our only stressor as many other strenuous mental activities do exist. I know I want to be at my best for my workouts so let’s take a look at what the research told us

The Findings

  1. Mental fatigue did have an impact when participants trained to failure on 70% of their 1RM. Across the board, performance was reduced by ~15% when there was pre-mental fatigue.
  2. There have been other studies that have tested skill performance, after strenuous mental activity, but there is still much to learn.
  3. Vertical Jump and the first maximal set in this study did not show decreases in performance. However, the additional 2nd and 3rd sets were impacted with a reduction in the number of reps performed. 
  4. There are some solutions to mitigate mental fatigue before your workouts and I have listed a few below.

What Are Some Realistic Strategies To Implement

Now that we know mental fatigue prior to our workouts can affect our performance, what can we do about it?

  • Moving your workouts to the morning. Hopefully, you’re not waking up already with mental fatigue. Starting your workout before all other activities could have your brain as fresh as possible.
  • Moving your workout prior to work, for those with unusual work schedules, could also help. 
  • Complete less strenuous mental activities a couple of hours before your workout. Get the hard stuff done first and move to easier activities at the end of the day. No more 1:1’s with your boss just before leaving work!
  • Don’t train to failure and leave some RIR when you feel mentally fatigued. This could be a good practice whether you are mentally fatigued or not. In fact, training to failure is not always necessary.

If you want to know the details about the tests that were used, reference the study attached above.

While I am not recommending you quit your job, mental fatigue can have an impact on your performance. The good news is there are strategies that can be implemented to mitigate these effects. if you are always finding yourself mentally fatigued at work, maybe it’s time for a change.

Don’t quit your job, just be a Renegade!

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