I, for one, was not ready for the intensity of HCT-12. I thought with my lengthy but limited experience that I could handle a few lifts done four days a week. But the intensity of HCT-12 really bit me in the butt. For starters, I'm old (47 next month) and I'm kind of a hardgainer, which means nothing more than it takes me a little longer to build size and strength. Because of those two factors, I really need to regulate the intensity, frequency, and volume of my workouts.
I started out doing pretty well, lifting decent amounts of weight and getting a little stronger from workout to workout. As the weeks went on i noticed that even the warm up weights were feeling heavy and I was really struggling to lift the amount of weight that I used the session before. After a few more days I noticed my appetite was decreasing, my sleep patterns were messed up, and I had a very nervous and restless feeling about me. I knew right away that I was overly fatigued and heading towards over training mode. This is why it's important to know your own body and keep an accurate journal of all your lifts.
So what did I do about it? I knew I needed more rest so I could recover more completely between workouts. So, the first thing I did was re-read Daniel's articles and I decided that the three day (upper/ lower split) would work better for my recovery needs. I then lowered the weights I was using and inserted a few extra rest days into my schedule, taking two or three days off between workouts until the weights started feeling light again. I also made sure that my nutrition was back on target and I was getting good uninterrupted sleep every night. Lastly, I swapped out a couple of lifts for new ones to increase my enthusiasm again.
It took a very short time for me to get back on track and now I'm back to lifting heavy (for me) again. This time I'm making sure to keep a couple of extra reps in the tank and not lift to failure, and keep an eye on any signs of fatigue. Let's face it, we all get excited about a new routine and tend to "go for it" in the beginning. Make sure you are listening to your bodies and keeping accurate records of your lifts and diets. Last but not least, know how to adjust when things don't go perfectly.