I usually wait for my training. My workouts are my time to focus and get out of my head. I enjoy one time and the opportunity to work on goals that excite me. While some people are afraid of their workouts, my workouts are usually the main thing of my day.
But for some reason all week I caught myself trying to dissuade myself from training. In fact, I didn’t want to do anything at all. I haven’t felt this unmotivated in a long time.
I tried all the tricks.
I planned my workouts in advance so I didn’t have to think and make decisions during the actual workout.
I started each workout slowly, not rushing right away with anything complicated. I allowed myself to do more fun skills (for me it means martial arts, handstand and strength training) than to do such difficult things as sprinting, pull-ups and plyometrics. I shot at the hoops instead of running away; go on a slow bike ride or swim instead of doing a structured HIIT workout. I’m focused on maintaining more than achieving, pretty good, than perfection.
All week I was reminded of my long-term goals and a deeper “why” of why I train. Chief among these is my desire to continue to learn and grow throughout life and to inspire others to do the same. Others – mood stability, brain health and optimization, long-term physical and mental health and the feeling that I am working on my potential as an athlete and a person.
Despite my attempts to fool myself into a great workout, this week it just didn’t happen. My body felt heavy, muscles tense. My mind, usually completely focused on training, won’t stop wandering no matter how many times I try to get it back into focus.
Of course, it is unrealistic to think that we can crush every workout. Of course, some days will feel weird. On days when you’re like me, you feel incessantly on top of the world.
Other days will feel just mediocre. You may still be trying hard, but know what you could do better. You are far from feeling in the zone.
And some days will feel really bad. You may feel awkward and focused like I have all week. More than one bad day in a row can make you frustrated and stuck, as if you are going back instead of moving forward.
Olympic runner Alexi Papas talks about it up and down in his book Brevi, simplifying the process to what her coach calls a third-party rule:
“If you’re pursuing a big goal, you have to feel good a third of the time, a good third of the time and a third of the time bad. If the ratio is off and you feel good all the time, then you are not putting enough pressure on yourself. Similarly, if you feel bad all the time, you may be tired and you will need to dial things back. ”
Rebuilding the process in this way helps remind you that bad days don’t really happen bad in the long run. Good days, bad days are part of the process. They mean you are pushing yourself to grow. Learn to wait for them and don’t be intimidated when they happen.
What really matters is not what you feel like crushing every workout, but what you keep showing up for, even on days when you don’t want to.