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Hard workouts push your limits above the normal effort, either in peak effort, or in a substantially higher level of performance for a longer time. Such workouts are critical to making gains in power and endurance.
A hard workout could be:
- A time trial or interval workout at high levels of effort.
- A ride 50% longer than usual but at the same or higher effort level than usual.
- Resuming weight training with an activity like squats (use the Olympic bar if at all possible).
- Shopping with your wife or girlfriend for clothes or bedding (such exhausting workouts should not be performed more than once every 3 months).
Body weight spike after hard workout
For a “shock to the system”, the body might take on 2-3 pounds of extra fluid by the next day, as part of its recovery process. So don’t be dismayed to see body weight spike after a workout that burned a lot of calories!
If your legs are sore from weight training, there is a good chance you’ll see this spike in body weight, which is due to increased fluid, some of which is blood volume, which can paradoxically mean improved results the next day!
Based on personal results, I have an inkling that resuming weight lifting can trigger old neural pathways that unlocks past potential (assuming one has old skills to draw on).
Repeating a hard workout the next day
Paradoxically, a moderately hard workout can results in even higher performance the next day: increased body fluid and some other unknown effects can tweak performance even higher. But risking a 3rd day is generally a very bad idea in my experience— dial it well back and recover for days 3/4.