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Thread: How to modify program to fix insomnia

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2024


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    Quote Originally Posted by BenpMelton View Post
    Hello all:
    I need help figuring out how to modify my training. I'm dealing with some pretty gnarly insomnia, and it's become basically a nightly thing. I wake up typically around 3, and can't get back to sleep for over an hour. I am fairly convinced that it relates to the intensity of my training/the stress of how much extra I'm eating, specifically the added carbs. The reason I assume this is because the last time I felt this shitty was the was the last time I was running the program and eating this way.
    My sleep hygiene is excellent, I've tried all the supplements you can imagine, and I'm even talking to a doc about a prescription drug.

    I have nearly daily headaches now, joint aches and pains all over especially in my low back, brain fog, and not much of an appetite despite smashing what feels like an insane amount of food on a daily basis to try and gain weight.

    I'm a little over a month into my re-starting my NLP. I ran it for about 3-4 months less than a year ago, and took a few months off due to the problems that I'm currently experiencing. Within a few weeks of starting the program again, my disturbed sleep and chronic pains returned like clockwork.

    I need some help on scaling things back to find a dose of exercise I can recover from. I've already added a light squat day on wednesday and switched to 1x week heavy deadlift, and that still isn't fixing it. I'm fairly sure the squat is what wrecks me the most, as my low back hurts after the bounce out of the bottom, and I feel the most run down after doing it, the way I don't after other lifts. And no, the solution isn't "just eat more." I'm already eating more than I can comfortably hold and dealing with bloat and discomfort as a result.

    I'm 36 years old, 5'11 and 180lbs (i started at 165). My lifts aren't great but here they are:
    Squat 225, Deadlift 295, Press 105, Bench 180

    Thanks everybody - sorry for the lengthy post
    How much caffeine and/or alcohol do you consume on a daily basis?

    Does your diet include a lot of processed sugar?

    You mention that squats make you feel run down. This used to happen to me until I fixed my squat form, in particular: (1) valsalva breathing, (2) descending in a controlled manner and bounding fast (I used to descend fast and it hurt my lower back), (3) using hip drive to get out of the hole (see Mark Rippetoe's youtube video on squat form). So my question is, are you applying all of these things?

    Have you had your testosterone checked?

    Regarding sleep, you need to clarify what your insomnia looks like. Is it trouble getting to sleep or just waking up at 3am and finding it hard to sleep again? If it's the latter it is most likely due to a cortisol spike, which would make sense given the other information in your post. There are supplements that help with this (melatonin, valerian, ashwagandha, magnesium glycinate) but the underlying problem needs to be fixed.

    How much red meat do you consume? I think that for anyone who trains regularly and has any form of stimulant on a regular basis, 1lb of red meat/day is the minimum.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2023


    It is extremely unlikely that the "stress of eating" is causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Does eating without training produce this effect?

    What exactly ARE you eating? It really shouldn't be that hard to gain a few pounds at your bodyweight. You're not trying to dol this with like, potatoes and chicken breast are you?

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2018


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Santana View Post
    Spread the intensity out over a longer timeline. You basically treat yourself the way you would an advanced lifter or old man. The problem is similar in that recovery is the limiting factor. So try to set a new PR over a longer timeline and see if that works. You do need to address the insomnia though because it's very likely that it will catch up with you and you won't be able to progress in a meaningful way.
    I could not agree more. To the OP: put your EMPHASIS on this.

    Don't try to train hard if you haven't solved your nighttime insomnia.

    In other words: Don't put the cart before the horse (as we Argentines say).

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2020


    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by BenpMelton View Post
    Iím loosely tracking, meaning every once in a while Iíll plug everything in just to make sure I know where Iím at. If I work hard, I can hit 3k calories with minimal ďjunkĒ food in there.
    Hardly any booze, and I finish dinner about 2-3 hours before bed.
    Something isnít adding up. I do weigh & measure & track 5-6 days per week, and itís easy to hit 2200-2400 calories per day without coming close to feeling overly full. Thatís about 160 P, 50 F, 300 C.

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