As a coach I spend my days doing my best to make people better and encouraging them to stay positive when things sometimes don’t go the way they had hoped. I’m constantly reminding people that PR’s (personal records) aren’t going to be achieved every time they enter the gym, no matter how bad they want it and that it’s ok if they didn’t get quite as many reps as last time or that sometimes the weight is just going to feel heavier than it did last week. Recently I had bad day training. I was aware that I was getting down on myself and I tried not to but nothing was going right. I was frustrated and it showed. That’s right, I turned into a whining little baby. That same day I had a conversation with a member about this very topic, as well as with another member just this week. It reminded me of something I had written down on a sheet of paper a few months ago that said, “Consistency will be your tipping point. Not just one training session or day of training”. So what can you do when you have a frustrating day at the gym?
Realize that no day is a complete waste: I firmly believe this. For many of us just moving is going to keep us from being 6 feet under. That’s a good thing. From a less morbid perspective if you stuck it out through the rest of your training session, chances are you did enough to elicit some sort of training effect. You got your heart rate up, you lifted something that was heavy enough to challenge you and make you better. You are now one step closer to reaching that goal setting that new personal record.
Stick with it: Sometimes just sticking with something a little bit longer will help you feel a better about things. That could mean dropping the weight back down and building yourself back up (provide you have the time). Or, doing a couple extra sets with a similar weight to try and make them better than the previous sets. No matter which you choose, you will likely be left with a better perspective than things just simply being a bust.
Move on and do your best to finish strong. Don’t let it ruin your day: If something doesn’t go your way just push it out of your head and focus on the next task/lift. If you don’t let it bother you too much you might just surprise yourself with your performance. Focus on finishing well and leave on a positive note. If it’s at the end of your training session focus on all of the positive that came previously in the session. In the instance I’m referring to, after a few hours I was over it and gladly moved on with my life. As frustrated as I was earlier in the day I just smiled thinking about it later that night knowing that I was still a good person and confident that I could do a better job the next time.
If you can put it behind you, you might just trick yourself into crushing it next time: I‘ve met some people that are great at this on a set to set basis. No matter what they can just get back under that weight with no fear and change a negative into a positive right away. Although I have done that a few times, it’s always been tough for me. So even if you can’t do it immediately, like I said in the previous point, move on today and come back with a good attitude the next time, whenever that may be.
Share a laugh: Training should be fun on some level. It’s even better being around people that you enjoy. If you can, just share a laugh while you’re still in the gym and lighten things up a little.
Just remember, it’s a journey. Be consistent. Tomorrow is a new day to be better. Like Billy Bob Thornton says to the little kid in Bad Santa, “Well they can’t all be winners, can they?”.
– Mike Baltren