The Struggle is Real…
I think one of the questions I get asked most often by members (or other people in my life) is, “how many times do you work out a week?” And, typically, my standard answer is usually 3 but sometimes 4 or 5 days if I am working on something specific.
But, like everything else, the truth is so much more complicated than a simple number.
It may surprise you (or it might not) that I am sometimes terrible at working out. There are some days, weeks, and even (in a rare instance) months that I am shooting lightning out of my B-Hole and can get after it with the best of them. But there are times when my idea of working out is shimmying in front of the room while I coach classes or more on par with this lady here.
And, ya know what, that is absolutely fine…or at least it is now. Once upon a time this caused me a significant amount of stress and inner turmoil. I, as a personal trainer, should love to work out each and every day, right? I should live, eat, and breathe fitness, right? I should always have perfect work outs, right?
I can’t help but look back at my anxiety ridden self and say, oh you sweet summer child.
Of course, this hasn’t been an easy road. But I’ve put together a few ideas to help you fight off the brain weasels and get back on track when you get derailed.
Looking for some guidance and help to feel less stuck? We got you, boo.
1) Embrace that shiz!
Sometimes you just have to let those feelings ride and sit in the fact that you just don’t wanna. It doesn’t make you a bad person, and it won’t derail all of your hard earned progress. Chances are if you sit in the feelings and really noodle on it, you can get to the root of why.
But it’s still ok if you never get to the why of your workout malaise.
Our bodies and brains are, sometimes, really good at telling us what we need. And, sometimes, that need is to rest and reset. There is a great power in rest and in my opinion many people don’t prioritize it as part of their training. We can’t be all go all the time and in a strange way that sort of thinking sets us up for failure. If we approach fitness as an all or nothing game, we are bound to lose.
So, if you’ve got yourself a case of the “fitness blahs,” treat yo self and take a break for a day or two.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Angelo, that is unacceptable. I need to be moving in order to feel alive! No worries, I got you…
2) Find ways to move that make you feel good!
So, you’ve embraced the fact that you don’t have the mental/physical capacity to devote to an entire workout. Now is the time to ask yourself, “is there a way I can move that will feel good?” The best part about this question is that there are no wrong answers!
For me that sometimes takes the shape of getting outside and walking, doing some yoga or mobility work, dancing around the studio while lip synching to music, or some time on the assault bike. All are perfectly good ways of getting some movement in without feeling like I am doing “nothing.” My brain/body are appeased by this “palatable” movement and my feelings of guilt are staved off for another day.
Somedays it’s great to “embrace the suck” or “push through the pain” (both very problematic phrases). But, I don’t know about you, but I like to feel successful. If I can find a way to move that doesn’t suck or feel painful, no matter what it is, I feel successful and that is a win in my book.
It helps to remember that this feeling isn’t permanent and will pass!
3) Get a buddy.
If the idea of rest and/or limited movement send you up a wall, despair not! My last bit of wisdom will work when the other two are failing.
I’ve found it incredibly useful to have a workout buddy/exercise partner/co-lifter or whatever innuendo laden code word that you want to use. When I first started on my fitness journey, that partner was the hubs. We kept each other motivated and accountable (even when we didn't want to be). Eventually I found people in the classes I was taking to be that person when the hubs was not there. We motivated each other and since our schedules were consistent we became work out buddies.
Let me tell you, it was great to go to classes and look forward to seeing people, catching up, celebrating achievements, and giving sweaty high fives. If you’re slightly introverted, try going at the same time every time, get to know those people and before you know it, you’ll have your own little fitness posse.
4) Game the system.
When all else fails, make a game out of it!
I love video games. They are something I’ve loved ever since I could hold an Atari joystick. I love exploring, learning new abilities, and getting shiny new objects (insert Legend of Zelda noise here). The coolest thing is that I can take that love and translate it to my fitness journey.
Think of each class or semi-private training session as its own little adventure. You are Link (or Zelda, she’s pretty badass too) and in that hour you are tasked with learning one new ability that is going to take you to the next level. It may not be as exciting as a boomerang or a master sword, but upgrading from a perfect deadlift to swings is a level up moment. If you get enough points, reward yourself (whatever that means to you) for your high score and soon you’ll be wanting to rack up all the points in the world.
You’re the hero of your own story. It’s up to you to dictate how that hero will behave and if they will languish at level one or get all the way to the final boss.
You’re not alone
So there you have it. I may be a personal trainer, but I am also a fallible human. My big secret is out. But, I hope that sharing my struggles and how I cope with them make yours a bit more bearable. So, even if you don’t wanna, get yo self out there and figure out how to get moving. Put aside that all or nothing mindset because that almost always means nothing. Let’s face it, any movement in any way is good for ya!
You got this!
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Angelo is the AF Membership Happiness Director, strength coach, and full time badass. His background is outside of the fitness realm and from his past lives in arts and academia, he brings a love of human connections, sharing stories, diversity, and inclusion that he hopes to bring to the fitness industry in a positive way. As someone who has only recently hopped over the fence to join the circus, he brings a great understanding of the journey to both new and veteran Members. Follow Angelo’s adventures on instagram @queernpresentdanger