So you had a bad day…

Posted: December 12, 2010 in ATTITUDE, GENERAL

One of the most common reasons for people not wanting to work out at the gym is lack of motivation.  I think this problem is most common with those who are new to the gym floor.  Newbies join the gym ready to go and after a few weeks the newness wears off and reality sets it.  All of a sudden these newbies start having those days when they just don’t feel like working out.  Or, no matter what they do they can’t seem to get into their workout.  If this is you, let me guess.  You start to beat yourself up for not meeting your goal for the day or not being able to complete a workout.  Exhausted and frustrated you look around you at the gym and see the gym rat next to you running with ease and the bodybuilder behind you benching twice his bodyweight.  You think what is wrong with me?  Why can’t I be them?  Or, how come they can do it and I can’t?  The negative thoughts start to swarm around like vultures circling above a dead animal. Defeated, you decide the best thing is to just give up and go home.  The next day these memories are still lurking and you begin to think why bother.  It becomes harder and harder to get to the gym and your motivation continues to dwindle.  Sound familiar? How did I know?  I’ve been there.  Though I am fit now, very few people know, I was once 200 pounds at 5’6″ and couldn’t lift a weight to save my life.  Though that was long ago, I haven’t forgotten.

Now, if none of this sounds familiar, wonderful!!!!  You’ve already moved past or perhaps were never in this stage.  Congratulations.  Read no further.  For those still with me, this secret is for you.  What you probably don’t know about gym rats, personal trainers and athletes that you are so envious of is that WE FAIL TOO.  Yes that’s right! We have our days when we don’t want to go to the gym.  We have our days when we think why bother with working out today.  We have those moments when we feel inadequate and insecure.  There are days when we don’t meet out goals or get through our workouts.  There are days when we cheat our diets or perhaps don’t do a full rep or two to make it easier for us.    So, first please know that you are not alone at all.  I am definitely a gym rat – I live and breathe fitness and am now working as a floor trainer at a gym.  I can tell you I have these days.  I know for a fact that other trainers struggle with this as do elite athletes.  Remember, we are all humans and we battle with the same emotions and stresses that you face.  So stop being so hard on yourself! It’s not that strange to have a hard day.  It’s how you deal with it that matters – more on that in a bit.  At any rate, I hope it provides some relief to know that you are not alone. But wait – as they say on those annoying infomercials – there’s more 🙂

I think what separates the experienced person (for lack of a better term) from the beginner (again for lack of a better word) is that we KNOW that it’s ok to have an off day or two and that it is really ok to not ALWAYS be successful.  We may have our moments but we do our best to keep it to a moment.  We try to begin the next workout fresh and leave that bad workout in the dust.  Try to adopt the same logic.   In other words, you may not be at the athletic level that you wish you were.  That’s fine.  But self-loathing behavior doesn’t help at all.  Indeed, it hurts your progress.  One, if you allow it to, it can keep you from continuing on your journey.  Two,  when you are stressed, your body realizes a hormone called cortisol which prevents weight loss and can actually cause weight gain.  So, while we can’t change our circumstances, we CAN absolutely change how we deal with them.  The next time you have a defeating day start the next day fresh without carrying yesterday into the present.  It takes practice but it is quite effective when used often.  Here’s some help.  When you feel the stress creeping in, remember the magic word “RELAX” and follow it with “So what!”   Ok so you ran three instead of four miles and you freaking out.  Now, take a couple of breaths – that’s the relax part – and follow with so what!  I’ll run four and half miles tomorrow.  Trust me – It works!  Apply carefully.

Another critical point is that on the days when experienced people don’t feel like going for it – we do it anyway.  Think about it – would you skip brushing your teeth, eating, using the bathroom as opposed to a diaper because you didn’t feel like getting up?  Probably not – at least I hope not.  My point is that people that are committed to fitness think about it as a necessity no less important than any other necessity.  So on those “off” days we just do the best we can to get through the workout.  Granted, it may not end up to be a workout for the record books but it WILL be a workout and that is still a win in the game of life.  The take away here is just do your best on those days.  Try to get in 20 minutes instead of that hour.  Just do something!  You will feel less guilty AND what often happens is once you start moving you realize that you actually can get through the workout. You only get one body so you might as well be as good to it as you can.

Ok folks so that’s it for me.  If you take anyway anything from this, let it be these three things:

1.  Everyone struggles once and awhile.

2.  Leave bad days in the past.  Live in the present.  Remember, relax and so what – they are some of the most powerful words in the English language.

3.  If you don’t want to, do it anyway.  Take care of you.  If you don’t, who will?

I want to end here with a few quotes that I look to when I need inspiration. I’m going to add them here with the hope that someone else will find some inspiration in them:

Unless you puke, faint or die, DON’T stop.  -Jillian Michaels

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,You feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you And get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face.-Lyrics from ‘Til I Collapse – Eminem

Do or do not.  There is no try.  – Yoda.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind – 2 Timothy 1:7

Failure isn’t falling down, failure is not getting back up. – Proverb

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  – Another proverb

Pain is weakness leaving the body – Tony Horton

Til next time everyone!! Take care of you.

  1. michelle says:

    This was a great post – very uplifting and puts thing into perspective! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s