“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” –Viktor Frankl
We’ve all had those days before. You walk in to the gym and just aren’t feeling like yourself. Maybe it was a tough day at work, not enough sleep the night before, or countless other things. It’s a miracle you showed up today. You’re dreading the warm-up – never mind the workout. So you get started and everything feels AWFUL.
No matter what, you’re going to power through and hit every rep and set you’re supposed to because that’s what you (or the gym) have programmed today. Who cares if you don’t feel like being here. You have a workout to do, and that’s that.
But, maybe there’s another way to approach those days. There’s something to be said for pushing through the bad days. It takes a certain amount of mental fortitude to get better. However, you won’t be able to do this all the time. Sometimes all you need to do is show up and get something productive done. Maybe it’s not as heavy as planned but you’re still putting a brick in the wall.
The attitude you bring to your workouts can be more important than even the program you’re doing. Feeling confident about what you’re doing, being aware of what’s in your control and putting in a great effort each time your there will lead to progress. So, on those days you aren’t feeling the best, it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t always control how you feel, only your attitude in putting forth the effort. Also, taking the long term approach to training will help keep you on an even keel. If you have 100 workouts in a training cycle how big of an impact does one sub-par session have? Not much.
Let’s say the programming has you going for 75%x5x5 but you know that’s not possible today. You know what that should feel like so you just work up to it slowly and find a weight that feels about right. Sure, it’s not as heavy as you were supposed to go, but in the end you got the work done. That makes it a productive day.
As a coach I can generally tell when someone is “off” that day. Everything about them is different. There’s no bounce in their step. No smile of their face. You can just tell they are dreading that days workout. So, I’ll make sure to keep an eye on them to see if they perk up at all after their warm-up. As soon I get the chance I’ll hop over and talk to them. Inevitably, they let me know they just aren’t feeling great today. The next words out of my mouth are almost always the same.
“We all have good days and bad. Life affects us all when we come in here. The important thing is not hitting your all time best, but giving the best effort you can today. Don’t get caught up in the numbers. Take what’s there and make today productive. That’s what matters.”
Guest Post By: Andrew Carnovale, @ithakastrength