Just the kind of mood I am in today, I feel like I want to be Mr Motivator… but I can’t find my spandex… naked will have to do!
When I first started coaching, I used to try to distance myself from my clients, insisting that personal life and “feelings” should be left outside the gym: we’re here to train obviously, not be on a soap opera. The problem that started to jump out at me though was people weren’t making consistent progress all the time. Like, what the hell? My programming is perfect, second to none, immaculate! Obviously it must be everyone else’s fault.
What was I missing? Well, to put it simply people are delicate little snowflakes, and I do include myself in that – I’ll explain more in a moment. It became apparent to me that not everyone likes their job, is happy in their relationship, has an awesome work/life balance or plenty of holidays and massages. We all become so worked up with having to afford expensive stuff that we don’t need, that we sell our time for very little cash… did I just quote Fight Club slightly?
People are stupid, myself included, I don’t think I have ever met anyone that didn’t have some element of self-destruction about them.
This is another aspect of my Why strength programs are useless blog. I pointed out how if people aren’t moving well, they are just loading bad patterns. Another aspect is if you aren’t feeling MENTALLY well, you’re not going to be able to perform well, your head just won’t be in it. Specifically in strength training, this is not good: you will get hurt.
So, what do you do?
Unfortunately, most people elect to just take time off training, and that is probably the absolute worst thing you can do. The longer your “time off” lasts the more your head starts to tell you it’ll be too hard to start back at it, and you’ll start justifying that you don’t need strength or fitness in your life, and you’ll convince yourself you never really enjoyed it that much anyway. People are stupid, myself included, I don’t think I have ever met anyone that didn’t have some element of self-destruction about them. It sometimes seems to be a generalisation that it’s okay to not do that well, and that you shouldn’t be disheartened if you don’t reach your goals. F**k that.
Last year I was working two jobs, probably 60+ hours a week, was struggling to keep my eyes open every day, honestly didn’t feel like motivating anyone (one of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling down in the dumps). I was sore all the time, pissed off at my own fitness so just started training by myself all the time (made me worse). I didn’t have a coach, felt like no one was listening to me. I was being a complete dick at home and even started smoking again for a few months. I didn’t post that on Facebook.
So what helps me and many of my friends when you inevitability lose focus, get injured, have a shit time of it?
Time off will do nothing for you other than reinforce your pissy mood. You will have to alter your training, especially if you are a high functioning athlete. Picking something with higher rep ranges and lighter weights will be pretty safe to go for. If you do CrossFit then yeah, scale your weights back a bit and try and finish all your workouts unbroken, that high at the end of a hard push can help your mood significantly! Take your focus away from your performance, if you don’t perform well you’ll be even more negative about yourself.
You have to remember that first off, training is for your enjoyment, if you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself then you’re being detrimental to your health and wellbeing, shift your focus to having fun again and that hour being YOUR hour, not your coaches.
But most importantly, talk to your coach. What I have come to realise is that it is part of my job description, and sometimes just saying something out loud to someone and getting it off your chest could be all it takes for you to get over a slump.
Apart from me being a Sex God, we are all human, and sometimes we have to stick together to get stuff done. Don’t pause your consistency because your brain says so; adapt and get stronger for it.