Whenever that clock at the gym sounds the 3 2 1 for the start of a workout you know its go-time. You know that its time to work hard, push your limits and maybe hurt a little. Every workout you want to put in the best performance you are physically capable of, sometimes you do and sometimes you just cant. Sometimes you are on, motivated to the moon and back, sometimes you just aren’t there mentally and sometimes you make mistakes. Why does this happen? Why can’t we always put in colossal efforts? Well, lets use my training as an example to try and identify why sometimes I can smash workouts and then sometimes they smash me.
When it comes to doing your best in a workout people are motivated in different ways. Some are motivated by the performance of their peers, some by achieving personal goals and others simply by wanting to finish the required work. There are many motivators, but for myself personally the motivation comes from within.
I am at my proudest during a workout when I know my body is hurting all over, my lungs are burning, my mind is playing tricks on me willing me to stop, and somehow I manage to pull my shit together and keep moving. The opposite to this feeling of triumph is when I am being attacked on all fronts by these factors and I choose to slow down, break a set or worse, give up. This is what goes through my head each and every workout.
Achieving these proud moments is what motivates me to do my best, knowing that I have entered the ring against my mind, body and soul and scored a knockout victory. If only this was the case every workout. The reality is (as you well know) it’s damn hard to push through that wall of mental and physical pain when it shows it’s ugly face. When you do however manage to push through it and achieve something you never thought you could or would, that feeling this gives you will most definitely drive your training forward.
So why don’t you always do your best in workouts? Well, for me there are a few errors I often make in my approach that maybe you could relate to as well.
Mistake No. 1: Not listening to my body.
This is a big mistake I often make. Sometimes I turn up for class just because I see a workout that I like but I’m sore all over, everything’s tight and I might have a niggly injury that wont go away. How can I possibly think to do my best in this condition? I won’t and don’t. I’ll get to the end of these classes and realise I’ve hit everything at 75% and got zero of the desired stimulus the workouts were created for. Other times, I will just completely forget how good I feel training after a rest day and keep pushing my body to the limit over a four to six day period. This is generally the catalyst for those little injuries that creep in which in turn don’t help my workouts or training in the slightest.
Solution: Easy. Listen to your body, schedule breaks when needed.
Mistake No. 2: Going ham.
I am getting better at not doing this but it is still a mistake that happens more often than I would like. Hitting things as fast and as hard as possible and then burning out in the back end of a workout. Although I strongly believe there are still a lot of benefits in increasing your red line capacity by training at that intensity often, hitting that redline inside the first minute of a twenty minute AMRAP will do me no good. I may be all right for the first ten minutes but minutes fifteen to twenty will be a complete nightmare. Another good example can be seen when I am confronted with a short workout (maybe three to eight minutes in length) and I over estimate how strong I am and underestimate how much a movement will tax me. Go ham on it and then I’m completely humbled in no time thinking I was going to destroy the workout and instead it has destroyed me.
Solution: Use your head and think about workouts before attempting them.
Mistake No.3: Expectations on myself
This is a mistake I often make where I set my expectations too high and then fall well short of them giving myself the impression that I have failed. A good example is when I completed D.T. (5 Rounds For Time, 12 Deadlifts, 9 Hang Power Cleans, 6 Push Jerks all at 70kg) the other day. Going into the workout I felt as though I could get the work done in seven minutes give or take. Ten minutes into the workout I’m staring at the barbell completely wrecked and thinking about giving up. I still managed to complete the work but nowhere near as fast as I wanted to. These are the hardest ones to take, where I have put myself in the position where I believe I have failed but in reality I could not have done much better if I had tried.
Solution: Be humble. Suck it up. Be more realistic and accept your weaknesses.
There are a lot more little tweaks I could do in my approach to training to help me get better results. These are just the few that are glaringly obvious and that that definitely hold me back from always doing my best. Slowly but surely I am employing these solutions into my training and therefore making these proud moments I feel during workouts a little more frequent.
We all want to do the best that we can all the time. The more consistent we are at doing this the more positivity will flow from our training.
So. What’s my point? To tell you all about how I work? No. If I knew anyone better than myself I would preferably have used their training as an example but unfortunately I don’t. My point is, maybe it’s time for you to take a step back and look at your training as a whole. Figure out how you can get the best results in each workout and figure out what really drives your training forward. Go and identify exactly what is holding your training back, what hasn’t worked for you in the past or mistakes you have made or are making in your approach to each workout. We all want to do the best that we can all the time. The more consistent we are at doing this the more positivity will flow from our training. At the end of the day you need to enjoy what you are doing and by knowing you are consistently putting your best foot forward is a great way to make this happen.
No matter where you are with your training whether its going well or nowhere fast, if you are hitting workouts with vigour or just making up numbers, one thing will never change. Every time the clock sounds 3 2 1 at the gym you know its go time, its time to work hard, push your limits and maybe hurt a little. All we need to do is try and put our best foot forward.