We all have off days, but nothing can crush your soul worse than walking into the gym and not being able to put up the numbers you usually do. The body is a funny thing and it has ups and downs, but how can it be that you are drastically weaker from one day to the next? It may have nothing to do with your strength.

1) You're not properly fueling your workouts

Food is fuel for your workouts, plain and simple. If you're running out of gas halfway through, you might not be filling your tank properly. The goal of preworkout nutrition is to provide adequate energy for your workout, along with the nutrients needed to lessen the severity of muscle breakdown so you can last longer in the gym.

The macronutrient responsible for providing energy is carbohydrates, so you want to make sure you are consuming both the right quantity and type. In general, you want to consume 50 percent of your daily carbohydrate intake in both your pre- and post-workout meal. Aim to consume these carbs from relatively quick-digesting sources, like white rice, red potatoes, and baked potatoes so they are ready to use during your workout. Protein plays a smaller part in performance, but is still important in energy levels, as well as providing your body the nutrients it needs to sustain existing muscle tissue, while making growth possible. You can split your protein up evenly throughout your meals, but do consume some pre-workout and keep your sources very lean, like chicken breasts, white fish, or egg whites as fat slows down digestion which can effect how quickly you can access your carbs, not to mention it may cause stomach discomfort. 

2) You aren't getting enough rest: 

Overtraining occurs when you put so much physical demand on the body it causes your survival mechanisms to kick in to protect itself. Your body will slow everything down in an effort to get you to stop and rest. This will not only effect your physical strength, but you'll experience other side effects like things like low energy, insomnia, depression and lack of motivation.

3) You mentally aren't in the game. 

You can't be 100% all of the time, and that's perfectly OK. You;re human, cut yourself some slack. It's your brain that tells your muscles when to contract and how hard, so if your brain isn't in it, you can't recruit the muscles the way you want. Be it work stress, a breakup, money troubles, or an exciting upcoming life change, being distracted can detract from the task at hand. If your strength and form just aren't there, and your thoughts are somewhere else, opt for cardio or a tough circuit you don't have to concentrate so hard on, while burning off all your extra stress- be it positive or negative.

You also want to be sure to rule out any potentially serious health issues. Chronic weakness and fatigue are symptoms of a lot of major medical issues, including thyroid disorders, anemia, diabetes, and depression. If your weakness persists, consider seeing your doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on behind the scenes that could be to blame.

by Alex Mosner

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