How's everyone's exercise tolerance/genetics?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by sakfjgadsyukgf, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. sakfjgadsyukgf

    sakfjgadsyukgf Yellow Belt

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    Just curious, I feel like the level of individual variation here doesn't get discussed enough when people are designing lifting routines. I seem to be particularly ungifted in this regard, 5/3/1 is about the max intensity level for squats and deadlifts that I can tolerate and consistently grow stronger doing. If I go to failure (say, a 9.5 or 10 on the RPS system) doing squats or deadlifts for more than a couple of weeks in a row, my body simply can't handle it and I stop getting stronger. (I also get insanely sore, especially from squats, for days and days after a max intensity lift). I basically always have to leave at least one rep in the tank doing squats or deadlifts. (Does not seem to be true for assistance exercises or smaller muscle groups, where I can go to failure week after week without issues).

    Just kind of interesting how genetics for exercise tolerance works. When I was younger I worked on commercial fishing boats in Alaska for a time and regularly put in 100+ hour weeks of hard labor, and actually felt OK doing it for the most part. But, my body apparently can't tolerate just a few minutes of squats to total failure lol. Seems inconsistent. Yes I'm older now, but even in my 20s failure in the gym was too much for me. But- some people with superior genetics can easily crank out failure sets week in and week out, and consistently get stronger. Maybe I'm not doing enough 'supplements' lol.

    I seem to be mostly slow-twitch muscle, if that helps. Yes I eat sufficiently and take creatine and protein powder daily, it's not like I'm not eating enough.

    Would be interested to hear perspectives from smart science-based people like @Sano @Uchi Mata etc.
     
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  2. wufabufa

    wufabufa Brown Belt

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    My tolerance to increased workload/volume always goes up when my nutrition and sleep are on point. Eating "sufficiently" doesn't mean much if you aren't 100% accountable for every macro and micro nutrient you're consuming.
     
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  3. Ilk

    Ilk Green Belt

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    I can train every day. But strength training really burns me out mentally and physically. So I try to do short strength periods of 6-8 weeks every now and then.

    I figured 5x5 lifts work best for me as 3 reps is just way too much and I cant tolerate such training. To be honest I do not care too much for my strength.
     
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  4. nicapica

    nicapica Blue Belt

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    honestly somedays i feel like my diet is too clean. the only sugars i really consume are honey, but when im with my gf or just not caring about my diet my workouts are way better. maybe i need some time off.
     
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  5. dissectingaorticaneurysm

    dissectingaorticaneurysm Night King Top Team

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    how do you consume the honey? Do you eat it for health reasons or taste?
     
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  6. nicapica

    nicapica Blue Belt

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    glycogen restore. i drink it straight or on my sandwich.
     
  7. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Recovery and work capacity both have huge genetic and attenuation components. The more you train, the less you'll get sore even when you go to failure (though going to failure intentionally, basically ever, is dumb. The only time you'd do it is to test your limits to set baselines). But for some people, that's going to be 15 hard reps a week, for others it'll be 50. You can see this variation within programming too. The Juggernaut guys for example are huge on accumulating volume, but for many people who try their programs it ends up just making them feel beat down all the time. Other people who are also very science based like Greg Nuckols or the Barbell Medicine crew tend to use much less volume. Wendler likes volume at much lower weights (Boring but Big 5/3/1). So I don't think there's consensus on what combination of volume and intensity is correct, which just reflects what's worked for various coaches due to their own and their athletes' genetic variation.

    Age also has an enormous effect on recovery, and genetics are going to determine how much and how rapidly you fall off as you age. I don't know how old you are, but if you were working boats in your early 20s and now you're in your mid to late 30s...you're not the same guy. Speaking for myself as a 37 year old who still trains pretty hard, the falloff in my ability to recover from hard workouts is way, way less than it was in my 20s even though my work capacity when I'm fresh is about the same.

    Steroids would also make a huge difference obviously. I've always thought the boosts to recovery were the real reason steroids are so great for athletes rather than the increased ceiling for muscular size and strength. There's a reason even smaller weight class athletes juice.

    When you say you're 'eating sufficiently' what does that mean? Because you need to eat enough to satisfy your basal metabolic rate + exercise energy expenditure + surplus of several hundred calories per day if you're looking to put on muscle. You also need to be eating the right foods. Are you tracking macros? Generally speaking, if you aren't and you start you'll probably find some imbalance that might be affecting recovery (often it's eating too few carbs). How well and how much do you sleep? That's a huge factor lots of people ignore. How about drinking? Kills recovery and really hurts sleep.
     
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  8. Halge

    Halge Silver Belt

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    Exercise volume tolerance/work capacity: Pretty high, but I've worked on it (I do a bastardised version of JTS, and like the poster above mentioned they are pretty big on accumulating volume). Besides, my body has learned how to compensate- usually by making me sleep ten hours a night. And anything outside of my routine tires me disproportionately.

    Genetics: Meh, ok I guess. I can put on weight quite easily, and I have theoretically good proportions for common compound exercises like deadlift and squat. Which I guess might make them less strenuous. I dunno.

    I don't think individual differences is much of a thing (for basic strength/endurance training), excluding certain outliers. You just get good at whatever you train, and then you can handle it better. I think a lot of psychological factors play into it as well. Comfort eating helps when you feel worn out, for example, which I don't think has much to do with actual nutritional needs. Guys who deprive themselves of chocolate ice cream will feel more worn out and recover slower.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  9. sakfjgadsyukgf

    sakfjgadsyukgf Yellow Belt

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    Interesting, thanks for the response man. I do think my personal failures are more genetic than anything else. If I do squats to failure in the evening, come home, eat a nutritious dinner & protein shake, go to bed and wake up absurdly sore- I guess I don't really see where I'm not eating enough in that picture. There was only time for one meal there, and I had as much as I can physically fit in my belly. Yes I'm older, but I had basically the same experience 10 years ago. I think Occam's Razor is that I'm not particularly gifted in terms of exercise tolerance (and I already know that I'm not particularly gifted in literally any physical or athletic trait other than sheer endurance).

    I do find individual variation around exercise tolerance to be really interesting, and understudied. Some people find running a few times a week to be too much, some people are Navy SEALs. Was just rewatching a documentary on BUDS, which reminded me how much of an outlier some people are in the exercise tolerance/injuryproof department. (According to a little Google-fu there was a 36 year old who passed BUDS, and a 49 year old who passed Ranger School! Good Lord).

    I've noticed quite a bit of resistance in US culture to talking about genetics as it relates to athleticism, and a lot of belief in 'if you just work hard enough....'
     
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  10. deckingdutchman

    deckingdutchman Orange Belt

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    I definitely think work capacity can be trained. Not sure how genetic it is.

    When I was 18ish I was in decent shape (weighlifting/fitness wise), and training Muay Thai three times a week. I started working a fairly easy (mostly sanding, marine restoration) manual job. The first 3 months I had a hard time finding the energy to go to Muay Thai after work after using my arms and standing all day.

    After that I went to dive school, and working on the Gulf of Mexico as an oil field diver for 5 years. Very heavy manual labor, 12-18 hours a day with no days off for up to 90 days. Got used to that pretty quick, and me and a couple of the guys I worked with were always dicking around weightlifting random shit after shifts on boat.

    Now I work on marine hydraulics for a living, and am physically active all day. I weight lift 4 days a week no problem.

    From my experience, you can definitely train work capacity. Do more and your body will adapt.
     
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  11. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT Platinum Member

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    If you're looking for an excuse, you will always find one. But if you were able to work 100+ hour weeks of manual labor in your youth, I think your genetics are fine for putting on muscle.

    Not sure how old you are, but I'm 44 and have been lifting weights and training since 15. Although I competed in several sports, wrestling, boxing, Judo and distance running, the only physical advantage I had was good endurance and "skinny" genetics. For as often and hard as I trained, my explosion was terrible and my strength was only a little above average for my bodyweight, with weight training 5 to 6 days/week.

    I always thought I just had poor genetics for gaining muscle and peaked around age 21 at 5'9" 162 lbs at around 10% bf. That's what I stayed for the next 20 years +/- 3 lbs until age 40. I was always trying to gain muscle but couldn't. I did tons of cardio and all the major lifts: bench, weighted pull-ups, bent over rows, squats, deads and lots of assistance exercises like dumbbell curls, skull crushers, cable rows, etc. with every set to failure and I figured if I wasn't sore the next day, I'd wasted my time in the gym.

    With hindsight, I was an idiot. I was way overtraining and undereating. After trying a lot of different routines, I saw 5x5 stronglifts in a google search:

    https://stronglifts.com/5x5/#gref

    This is hands down the best program to gain muscle mass I've found. If you do this as per the routine with nothing but rest on off days, I promise you will gain muscle. I tried it at 40 and gained 18 lbs in 3 months to be 180 lbs, the heaviest I'd ever been. For sure some was fat but I was also stronger than I'd ever been. In case you're wondering, I've never done any PEDs other than creatine and protein powder.

    I had always known, as it sounds like you do, that you have to do squats/deadlifts to gain significant muscle but I would do them maybe once a week and use the heaviest weight I could do which would make me sore the next day. Because I was focused on doing the most amount of weight, my form was terrible and I got stuck at very low weights. 205 lbs for maybe 2 or 3 sets of 6 reps, which is pathetic.

    To gain muscle, you have to lift heavier weight. To lift heavier weight, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CLEAN FORM. The great thing about 5x5 is you start out with light weight. I started the program doing squats with 155 lbs. The first workout should be very easy and you will finish it thinking "WTF did I just waste my time with that?" But it's supposed to be easy because it's building muscle memory around correct form in the major lifts, particularly the squat. And the only way to do that is by starting out with light weights that your body is not struggling to lift.

    As the weights get heavier, YOU WILL BE HUNGRY. The body needs caloric surplus to put on muscle. I switched to whole milk and ate meat every day. Just put on a pot of boiled roast and kept it for leftovers and ate whenever I felt hungry and even when I wasn't.

    Recovery days are also essential. I used to do tons of cardio on non-lifting days so of course I never put on muscle.

    4 years later I'm still doing 5x5 mostly as maintenance. Because I also train BJJ, I found my cardio was garbage at 180 lbs so I ate less and am down to 170 lbs around 10% bf which to me is a happy medium. But if I only wanted to gain muscle, I have no doubt I could get well above 180 lbs with corresponding strength increase simply by lifting heavier weights, eating more and training like a powerlifter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  12. Oliver Rupcic

    Oliver Rupcic Orange Belt

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    Accountable ?

    How much do you weigh, what is your bf % ?

    What is your goal
     
  13. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    There's definitely a lot of factors that contribute to your exercise tolerance. Most have been mentioned here already, like diet, sleep, age, training history and so on. One aspect that hasn't yet though, is stress levels, work and social life. Stress triggers a lot of the same pathways that overtraining does, and hence recovery will be a lot harder. The psychosomatic benefits of being relaxed, happy and having good relationships does wonders for your ability to adapt to training.

    They all matter, but usually the main thing is consistency and building up the tolerance. You might have to do it more gradually than others, and you might have to push your limits more rarely. When you get sore and wiped out from going heavy, how has your workload looked for the last few weeks prior? Have you consistently done the exercise at a lower weight a few times a week?
     
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  14. wufabufa

    wufabufa Brown Belt

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    6'6" 270lbs 8% body fat. My goal is to dominate you and the rest of the world.
     
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  15. maximus__

    maximus__ Blue Belt

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    If I stay within the 3-5 x 3-5 rep range for heavy lifting I recover very well regardless of intensity. I will maintain or slowly increase my strength a little. Anytime I push my reps up (8+) I struggle, but respond very well. Multiple sets of 8-10 do more for my strength than the lower reps. I have worked in that 3-5 rep range for so long (10+years) that my body deals with it well. I guess you could call that a form of exercise tolerance.

    I also recover extremely well from heavy singles. I recover better from high intensity, low volume training, however I don't really make any drastic improvements.
     
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  16. Oliver Rupcic

    Oliver Rupcic Orange Belt

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    Gotta be accountable for carbohydrates when you wanna dominate the whole world
     
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  17. boingyman

    boingyman If can, can. If no can, no can.

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    Stop making excuses and stop overthinking things. Maybe find a coach that can help you and let them do the thinking for you. Better yet find a powerlifting team you can train with. I was fortunate that when I started powerlifting I had a team of strong and experienced powerlifters to train with and get coaching. You'll be surprised how a teammate can awaken you and turn that so called RPE of 9.5 on your previous set to then feel like a RPE of 7 on the next from the intensity and cueing/immiediate feedback they can provide.

    Also maybe take a break (deload) and find other programming that may work better for you in addition to optimizing your nutrition/recovery.
     

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