You felt fine, maybe a little zoned out, but fine generally. Then you stepped on the treadmill, did about 6 minutes, walked around, picked up a dumbbell, and had to leave. Why is it sometimes we just have those kind of days where the gym’s just not doing it for us?
Here are some tips on how to deal with an unsuccessful gym day.
- First of all, forgive yourself. It’s not the end of the world. Moods heavily affect our workouts and sometimes we’re in a weird state or affected by our environment. You can go tomorrow.
- Try mixing it up and going for a walk or run outside instead if it is a nice day. A good ray of sunshine is what we all need (especially during winter). Long walks in nature are so, so important for vitamin D and are a general mood-lifter.
- If you’re heavily focused on losing or gaining, simply slightly tweak your calorie intake for the day and you will not see any change in your health or fitness.
- Set yourself some new short-term goals so you don’t lose motivation. Like running a 10k, or lifting slightly heavier weights than you are used to.
- Anticipate it if you know it can happen. I usually have one disappointing workout day about every fortnight. So if I know it is going to be there at some point, I don’t feel so bad when it does rear its ugly head.
Remember that there also may be a reason for it. A few times when I have had a bad workout, I have gotten sick the following day. It could be you may be a bit run down or need a complete mental health break. As mentioned, walking in the sun is an incredible mood lifter and will help make you completely forget about any goals you may not have reached.
Motivation ebbs and flows. Some days we may feel like nothing can stop us, but other days we have to push ourselves harder, the fittest men and women out there are pushing themselves beyond their natural level of motivation and drive. It is often created and rarely comes naturally, but the more you push it to your advantage, the more motivation you will have.
You also may be completely burnt out and need more rest than you initially thought. If Uni or work has been particularly stressful, give yourself time to breathe, read a book, sit in silence or put some meditative music on. Rest is just as important as the workout itself.
This happens to everyone. Giving your mind the equivalent of a few bouts in the ring is not going to help your self improvement. Figure out the underlying reason why you were feeling like this (sometimes there is no real answer and a restart is all you can do) and move on from there.
If bad workouts start stacking up, there may actually be a definite reason. Check in with yourself, are your food and dietary requirements being met? A simple deficiency or low-level of a vitamin or mineral may be sucking your energy away, check your intake and identify what you’re lacking. This could be either through a check with the doctor or tracking your food using an app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer . You may also have an allergy or aversion to a certain ingredient that may be making you feel lethargic (eg if I eat a lot of processed sugar I always feel terrible).
Above all else, clear your head and relax the rest of the day. It can sometimes seep in that we are not good enough or that we have failed, but this is all rubbish and could be because of mental health issues like anxiety, or simply a strict upbringing still taking its toll.
One day will not destroy your routine, but it can be difficult to get over in the short-term. What about all the amazing workouts you did before that day? Usually we have had so many more better workouts than bad ones. Focus on the positive.
By being able to move past a day that did not go quite as planned you are nurturing your mental strength alongside your physical strength. Reflect on all the good work you have done so far, and recharge for your next workout!