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Thread: Limited Time

  1. #1
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    Default Limited Time

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    Hi Rip,

    I recently started to do the Starting Strength Program, but I'm concerned about something.

    Sleep. I eat well, but between school, 12-hour work shifts, and family time, I can only really get to the gym at 4 am - 5-5:30 am. I usually get to bed by 10 pm. What's your advice for a novice lifter wanting to do the program but limited on sleeping time (or time in general)? I typically get a decent amount on weekends. I know you say this has a pretty big impact on the stress/recovery/adaptation cycle, and I'm just wondering what you would do in my shoes. (28 year old male)

    Thanks in advance,

    Jared

  2. #2
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    The novice effect, especially at younger ages, can outstrip low sleep for a little while, but it's a losing game in the long term. You can't outprogram poor recovery.

    Do you have anywhere you can fit in naps?

    How long do you expect to be in this state of affairs?

  3. #3
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    Tell your family to fuck off.

    I'm (mostly) kidding. Try to find any little bits and pieces of sleep you can: naps count. Make sure to sleep in on the weekends. If you're pinched in sleep, it means there is no room for error on diet. Eat plenty.

    Sleep is really important. Not just for strength training but in general. Whatever you need to be in your waking hours, you will be a better version of that if you sleep well. I know there are lots of pressures against it, but find a way to structure your life to prioritize it.

    It only gets harder as you get older. When you're an old man who can only sleep 6 hours a night, no matter how much time you have, you're going to miss being 28.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Donaldson View Post
    The novice effect, especially at younger ages, can outstrip low sleep for a little while, but it's a losing game in the long term. You can't outprogram poor recovery.

    Do you have anywhere you can fit in naps?

    How long do you expect to be in this state of affairs?
    - In terms of naps thereís not much I can do

    - The second question has a couple answers:

    1. Until I finish school which will be about 3 years from now

    2. Until Iím in a place where I can reduce my hours. I think working 8 hour days could be achievable but I am just trying to finance my schooling and also save for a down payment for a house.

    I do have the opportunity to get a decent amount of sleep Saturdays/Sundays. I do however have the opportunity to really clean up the diet - Iím assuming this would be hitting a high quality protein target and ensuring good quality carbs/fats?

    I do understand thereís only so much you can do before itís just not feasible - I just either want to do the exact program or the closest thing

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaredwassink View Post
    - In terms of naps thereís not much I can do

    - The second question has a couple answers:

    1. Until I finish school which will be about 3 years from now

    2. Until Iím in a place where I can reduce my hours. I think working 8 hour days could be achievable but I am just trying to finance my schooling and also save for a down payment for a house.

    I do have the opportunity to get a decent amount of sleep Saturdays/Sundays. I do however have the opportunity to really clean up the diet - Iím assuming this would be hitting a high quality protein target and ensuring good quality carbs/fats?

    I do understand thereís only so much you can do before itís just not feasible - I just either want to do the exact program or the closest thing
    Hardly anyone does the exact program, as life always presents challenges to doing so. Treat learning to overcome these challenges as a sort of linear progression of its own. Make incremental improvements on what you can, like protecting your bedtime, good sleep hygiene, proper nutrition, optimizing your study time and class selection, et al.

    Leaving school with minimal/no debt and a down payment for a house are excellent goals. Getting stronger now is of great value, and should be attainable (albeit more slowly) along with what you're doing. Getting optimally strong, however, is not going to work with those other goals and their current demands. Maybe you can't/won't wait longer on the degree and the house - and that's fine. In three years, that can change, and pursuing optimal strength at 31 is not that different than pursuing it at 28, in the grand scheme of things.

    The less you can do on rest, the tighter you have to get on everything else - if you can optimize nutrition, then it's even more important now. That said, what's your height and weight, how long have you been doing this, where did your lifts start, and where are they now? For folks here to advise you on what optimizing nutrition looks like for you will depend on these factors.

    Of course, maybe you're a genetic freak, and will get brutally strong in record time with 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Either way, doing the program as closely as you can will be how you find out.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaredwassink View Post
    I do understand thereís only so much you can do before itís just not feasible - I just either want to do the exact program or the closest thing
    Jared, it's good that you're acknowledging the nature of your recovery predicament. The word I want you to remember is "sustainable." Doing the true NLP on a compromised recovery ability is not sustainable. I loved the format of Texas Method as an early intermediate, but it took me a long time to accept that I wasn't progressing with it, because my recovery was insufficient. Training hard is great, but we need to recover from it to grow. Now I run HLM and I'm much happier.

    The program must be commensurate with your recovery ability. That encompasses all facets, including the ones you described.

    I don't know how long you can run the traditional NLP. Be SMART about your training and instead of selecting your ideal program, pick a practical program for your situation. Not to mention that it's not so safe grinding out near-failure reps at 4am with poor sleep, yes? Maybe try to schedule this so that you're training hard when you are most well rested.

    Regards,

  7. #7
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    Alright Iíll keep this in mind. I donít really have the opportunity for naps during the day currently. I am sort of hoping itís a temporary situation while I try to get through school. I do really prioritize extra sleep Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

    Do you think itís possible to run out novice linear progression and end it early if I hit an early ceiling?

    I understand itís suboptimal - just trying to piece together the best solution

  8. #8
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    I've heard eating more when you can't sleep helps minimize the damage to recovery.

  9. #9
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    Definitely no genetic freak here!

    Iím 6.2 and weigh 205.

    Iíve been lifting since 2017 but my numbers arenít anything to really speak much about -

    My last ďmock meetĒ was November 2023 and my squat was 285, bench 260, and deadlift 355.

    When I first started in 2016 I weighed 145 and those lifts were squat 95lbs, bench 85lbs, deadlift 165lbs

    In the past I probably could have had time to do this program if I have the knowledge, but live and learn I suppose!

    Anyway this is all helpful information for sure

    --------------------------------------------

    Thank you for the info - yes 4am did bring some unexpected issues with it when I was squatting/deadlifting heavy (or at least what was heavy for me)

    Iíve considered switching my study hours to the early morning and lifting to evening so that Iím more alert. Your comment might be the one that pushes me over the edge to do just that.

    ----------------------------------

    Thank you - this seems to be a theme on this thread and I never really thought about it like that. I definitely think Iíll clean up the diet more and prioritize some good Whole Foods and extra protein as well

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    The lack of sleep is going to show up as a reason you get stuck. So when you fail a lift, that's the reason. You will be able to run it to a point. Address the failure when it happens.

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