The bodies response to stress is the same whether this stress comes from finical worries or a heavy squat session. Think of your ability to handle stress like filling a cup with water, everyone is different, so the cup sizes may vary, but some peoples cups will be already filled quite significantly with life stress, family, work etc. and others will be quite empty.
The closer the water gets to the top of this cup the more your performance will suffer, this is called accumulation of fatigue. This is not a bad thing, it is the process of training and its how you create adaption to greater amounts of stress, leading to super compensation/improvements in performance. But before you can get the super compensation you must remove or reduce the fatigue, this can be done by reducing volume i.e.; reps and/or sets, intensity weight on the bar or application of force (working at lower velocities as in sprinting).
But even with the best laid programs, you will hit a wall or not be able to achieve the numbers that are set out. This is because a program is only a suggestion of loads that were achievable in a given moment in time. And depending on the level of athlete, there may be marginal room for any other stress besides the training stress. Especially when in competition preparation periods. As we described with the filling of the cup, the accumulation of fatigue is not just from the training and the effect on performance, it is generally not to do with the program but the life stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and hydration.
I see this all the time people get upset when they miss weights that they should of hit, but its nothing to get upset about. Its just what happens, it’s an indicator of fatigue. You don’t get weaker or lose fitness by training hard, as long as you are still eating a respectable amount of food, drinking some water and getting a few hours sleep. The only thing is you’re not able to display the fruits of your labor because they are covered by the blanket of fatigue….
This is the basis of periodization and the reason you should manipulate volume and intensity of workloads to peak at the right time.
But take into consideration if you are sticking to a program and the stars are not aligning, then take a look at your current situation, how high is the work/home/financial stress? Is your fluid intake the same? Are you hitting the same amount of calories and or macronutrient balance you were previously? How’s your sleep?
You may not be able to fix all of these things but you definitely can fix some.. And how well you do that is going to be dependent on how important your goal is to you. Hydration can be fixed no excuses there drink some fucking fluid…. Food should also be a non issue, unless you are dieting then you just need to suck it up.. You may not be able to get rid of your spouse or your boss right away but if they affect your life that much its something you may want to consider.
The biggest one of all is SLEEP!! The more stressed you are the more you are going to need. On the weekend (saturday and sunday), You can sleep in on these days, get and extra two power naps in, and go to bed earlier on both nights.