Originally Posted by Andy Robinson
A question concerning limited sleep and working out: When should a person consider it counter productive to push through a workout on very little sleep? I am asking this as a firefighter that works 24 hour shifts and who sometimes gets little or no sleep on a shift. I know that this elevates cortisol levels, as does exercise. When coupled together do these factors become more of a anchor on progress in strength training/gpp, or should I suck it up, work out, and repeat the mantra "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger"? In short, I feel like a pussy skipping a workout because I'm tired, but I not sure if pushing it is always the best idea...thoughts?
I don't think this is a question that necessarily depends upon whether one works 24 hour shifts or not but can instead be generalized to a much wider degree.
This is one of those questions that is answered by "it depends". If working out is done on little sleep continuously then it can only result in bad results, either getting over trained or even sick. I only have to look at myself to see the latter. After deciding, on little sleep, to keep up my work out schedule, along with attending to school, family, and work I became over tired and then sick around the end of November. Still have a bad cold at this point and it will likely be until after the holidays that I'm back in trim. I've relearned a valuable lesson: When you've got a lot on your plate its best to scale things back a bit in order to keep it all in balance.
On the other hand, there are times when it is good, even necessary, to push things really hard. But for how long? There do seem to be people who can push themselves quite a bit harder that most for longer periods than others can. For most it is quite a balancing act and things can get out of whack quicker than we realize.
I realize that this is all a bit general but a general answer is all one can really expect since what results from your situation may be widely different from my, or anyone else's experience.