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  What Training Does

Before we really get into unfucking your programming, and how to schedule your training over the long term, we need to understand what happens in the short term -- that is, each time you train. To understand that, we need to understand general adaptation syndrome.

Here’s the jist of it: every time you go hard in the gym, your body freaks out a little (that’s called a training response). You might feel sore, tired, or sleepy for a day after lifting heavy or even for a week or more after competing. During this time, your body is in what’s known as the alarm phase, and during this time, your body is weaker than it was before you trained. If you train again while your body is in the alarm phase and push too hard, you make things worse. Your body can't recover, and you start down the road to overtraining. This is why, when you have a bad workout, it's important to back off and not keep pushing yourself even harder. Even though it might make you feel better mentally to persevere, it's only going to hurt your progress.

The good news is, eventually the alarm phase passes, when your body adjusts for the stress you put it through. The really cool thing is that your body doesn’t just recover – it supercompensates, and you end up stronger than you were before your trained in the first place. If you train again during this phase, you’ll be able to lift more weight – sending your body back into the alarm phase, but hopefully after hitting some PRs. This is the whole goal of training: to string together as many supercompensation phases as possible so that you can get stronger and stronger.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. Here’s why.