Two weekends ago, we celebrated my wife’s 32nd birthday. My wife loves her birthday, and we usually celebrate for a few days. This year, her birthday weekend consisted of a night out with friends at a local brewery that we really enjoy on Friday evening. Saturday, we had dinner with some other friends at a restaurant we frequent and then drove out to Buffalo for a concert. And on Sunday, she had a relaxing day at the casino, and I helped my brother with some kitchen renovations at his house.

On Monday, I tried to do my regularly scheduled strength training. Mondays, I will typically squat, and this particular Monday, programming called for 3 sets of 6 reps with a Relative Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8. The week before, it was 3×6 with an RPE of 7, which I was able to do successfully. So, I bumped weight a little bit and went for it. What a mistake that was.

I was able to hit my first set of 6 which actually felt like a RPE of 10 rather than an 8. I almost crashed the weight on my second rep but was able to save it and finish the set. The second set, again, felt like a RPE of 10. I only hit 5 reps and a 6th probably would have ended in disaster. I lowered the weight back to what I had done the previous week for my last set and even that felt horrible. I hit 6 reps but what a sad excuse for a training day it had become. And squats are my first programmed exercise following a warm-up. I felt slow and sluggish, not a whole lot of power output, and was dreading the remainder of my lifts.

What a beautiful reminder of how important proper hydration, nutrition, and adequate sleep are when it comes to recovery and performance. A night of drinks followed by weekend of unhealthy eating, compounded by poor sleep is a recipe that does not lead to good outcomes. I was really fortunate that I did not wind up hurting myself as I have done that too many times to count in the past. This past weekend was significantly more conducive to having a positive squat day. I was able hydrate fairly well, ate much better, and slept pretty well for the most part. I definitely do not want to have a repeat of what happened last week. So here’s to drinking plenty of water, eating enough quality food, and getting proper sleep for a successful squat session this week!