Training When You Don’t Feel Like Training

Two days in a row? What is this malarky? Basically sorcery, as far as I’m concerned.

Today, I want to get into the topic of training and going to the gym when you don’t feel like it. I consider myself incredibly lucky, as I don’t typically lack the motivation to workout. It is something I genuinely not only enjoy, but look forward to doing; however, I know that this is not the case for a lot of people.

This morning was a different story. I am helping to coach our current 6-week challenge class (essentially an onboarding class to CrossFit) on Tuesday & Thursday mornings, which means I get tot he gym at 7AM to do that. I have from 8am-9am to do my workout, and then around 9 or 9:10, I need to start getting ready for work to be there by 10. This morning’s class was great, and I hung around a bit more than I should have; before I knew it, it was 8:15, leaving me only 45 minutes to do my stuff. I hummed and hawed for awhile, and started the negative thought train, which consisted of the following internal monologue:

“It’s already late, I only have 45 minutes to get this done, I should probably just come back tonight and do it so I have more time, I don’t feel like doing anything right now, by the time I warm up I’ll hardly have any time, it won’t be worth it, I’m hungry, my body doesn’t feel great, etc etc.”

I wandered into the office where my boyfriend was sitting, and when he asked me what I was doing that day, I sort of gave him an abbreviated version of my internal monologue. He looked at me and said “do it anyway, you’ll be glad you did.”

While that wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear, it was definitely the answer I needed to hear. You see, I wasn’t especially sore, it wasn’t a rest day for me, and really I didn’t have a great excuse. I looked at the clock and saw I had 40 minutes to make this happen, so I put on my lifting shoes and got started. I ended the negative talk with myself by saying, “do what you can. Something is better than nothing, and you’ll be glad you did this afterwards.”

I ended up doing my strength work, which was to establish a heavy clean + hang clean + front squat. I worked up to 115 lbs, or about 80% of my 1RM. While things probably would have felt better if I’d given myself more time, I was actually pleased with how it went. And, yes, at the end, I was very happy I sucked it up and did it, despite my initial feelings of not wanting to.

No, I’m not perfect at this stuff. I have a lot of room for improvement, but I’ve also got to give myself credit because I have put in a lot of work to get to this point. You don’t get better at the things you don’t do, and not every day is going to be the bst day. You are going to have days where you just don’t feel like working out, or days you don’t feel as strong, and that’s ok. It’s incredibly important to still put in the effort on those days, because that will develop mental toughness. Being mentally strong is going to get you through 90% of the shit you do every day…there have been so many workouts in CrossFit where it sucks so bad while I’m doing it, but being mentally tough has gotten me through. You have to keep moving, and you have to believe that you can do it. It might take you 30 minutes to accomplish a workout that takes others 9 minutes, but just the fact that you’ve finished it is an enormous feat.

Training on the shitty days makes you stronger, tougher, and more resilient. Getting there is half the battle, so even if you just get to the gym and commit to doing 30 minutes of something, you’re already winning. Not everyday is going to be great – you won’t PR everyday, you won’t feel 100% everyday, and that’s ok – it’s normal. I went heavier today than I thought I could, and I walked out of the gym really pleased with my strength work. Did I run out of time and have to skip my conditioning? Yes, I did. Did the world stop spinning and did all my muscles melt away because of that? No. Do I plan on going back tonight to do said conditioning and some other accessory/technique work? Absolutely.

Sometimes, you really just have to suck it up and grind away. You need to develop the discipline for yourself if you want to be good at anything; nobody can do that for you. That’s all you. I don’t have any “tips, tricks or cheats” to help you develop mental toughness or discipline – there are none. That comes down to you, your attitude, and you being responsible for yourself. But what I can tell you is that everyone goes through it, but that’s what separates people who achieve their goals from those who don’t – they give it their best effort every time, even if they feel like shit.

So, happy Thursday – get our there, kick some ass, and enjoy yourself.



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