Sometimes, life walks in while you're in the middle of giving it to your training. I mean, you're really going at it, humming along, and firing on all cylinders. Them...BAM! In walks life. You make eye contact as you're balls deep in your training. Then things just get all kinds of weird.
It's going to happen. Like death, taxes, and [insert something witty here]...you can't avoid it.
I've just gone through one of these encounters. As I'm sure you have noticed, its been a few months since I've posted on here...and sadly, also a few months since I've trained in any organized fashion.
I'm flabbier, weaker, and slower than I was in August. It sucks. But it's the reality and it's something I have control over. I'm not about to run away from it.
You've probably been through something like this before too. Work suddenly ramps up and you can't get to the gym. Or you get sent someplace that doesn't physically have a gym. Or, you have an issue with your family and you need to adjust your priorities.
It's all good. There is no shame in adjusting your priorities. But, there comes a time when you need to get back on track and build back what you've lost.
Why did the break happen?
This is one of the hardest questions to ask yourself in a situation like this.
It's not hard because it takes a team of detectives to find out the reason. It's hard because the answer is right in front of your face, you know it's there, but just don't want to admit it.
It's like admitting you don't know what a boob feels like after talking up all the "poon" you got on Spring Break. You've been lying to yourself, and frankly, it hurts.
Here's what you do though...man the fuck up.
Be honest with yourself about why you fell off the wagon. I mean 100% brutally honest.
Was it out of your control or were you just lazy?
This is the hardest question...if the answer happens to be that you were just plain lazy. As long as you can see that, and admit it, you'll be ok though.
This is exactly what happened to me.
After 4 weeks at a school that had me going from 5am to 830pm (that was a "light day" mind you) I hadn't set foot in a gym. Or on the track. Or even had the time to go through any sort of organized workout.
The last two weeks were spent operating in the woods, so there was at least some type physical strain to satisfy some of my urge to train. But besides that, there was a full 4 weeks of zero planned workouts. That was a complete change from what I was used to.
After that I spent a few days at home before heading back out to the woods to train with the 82nd Airborne Division. These days were pure laziness. I had the time. I had the ability. I didn't have the mental toughness to sack up and do what I knew I needed to do.
This laziness carried over into the training too. Half of the time I was on a compound that at least had pull-up bars. This time was spent mostly sleeping and reading. Nothing wrong with those two, but my lack of ability to get myself off my cot to go work out was 100% pure laziness.
Is it because you’re goal isn’t motivating enough for you?
Sometimes whatever goal your training for just isn't motivating enough for you. That's fine, as long as you can identify that.
You do have a goal right?
Having a goal to reach for when you're down, or looming over your head when you're just not feeling like doing the work, is a sure-fire way to get your ass in gear. It's one thing to be prepared as best as you can but still fail, it's another (and very embarrassing) thing to show up at anything less than 100%.
Here's how you fix this...
Simple. Pick a goal that you ACTUALLY care about and then attack that fucker like your life depends on it.
Even though it's simple, it's not exactly easy. Everyone who trains wants to be "healthier" and "look better" and "feel better". Those are all bullshit answers if you ask me. Of course you want to be the epitome of health and look phenomenal when you're butt nekkid.
But does that fire you up? Do you get a burning desire to beat the shit out of anyone who will stand in your way of those? I doubt it.
When I told people I was training for Bobsled team the most common reaction was "huh? SERIOUSLY?!?" But every single day for six months I woke up with a purpose. If it wasn't getting me closer to making the team then it wasn't for me.
So here is what you do...ask yourself "why" or "so what" at least three times. Dig deeper. "Peel back the onion". Find what legitimately motivates you.
Are you lying to yourself about why you train?
This is an off-shoot of the point before this. Training for the wrong reasons is something that everyone is going to go through at one point or another.
Maybe you're used to competing at the collegiate level...but now you're 3 years after graduation and still training like you're being scouted. Now if you're training to try out for a team, hell, you're good to go. But if you know for a fact that your days of being a competitive athlete are over...then stop training like one.
Here's how you fix this...
Basically, if you ask me, you have two options. Train for fitness and train to be an athlete.
There is nothing wrong with either, but I will argue until I can't speak anymore that training like an athlete is the best approach. Well, to do this you need to compete.
The only people who can stay truly motivated about general fitness are the douchebags who think that the biceps make the man.
When you add competition against others to your training program your motivation will pop out like a boner in sweat pants. Want to be strong? Enter a power lifting meet. Want to be fast? Look up a track meet in your area. Want to be "cool" and do one of the millions of adventure races? Sack up and do it right with the GoRuck Challenge.
Some of you might be crying out "but I compete against myself all the time!"
Good for you. Do you count the times you jack it to the Victorias Secret catalog as sleeping with a new person too?
Compete against others. They will always push your farther than you will ever be able to push yourself.
Be Brutally Honest
Just like with everything else in life, you're best off being brutally honest. Did you fuck up? So what, get back on the plan and realize where/why you fucked up.
Were you just plain lazy? Again, get back on the plan and then take a look back at why you made the choices you did.
You'll learn a great deal about yourself when you can look back at the choices you made and make an honest assessment at why you made them.
Pick a time that you fell of the wagon. Maybe it was vacation, maybe you were swamped at work, maybe it was a family thing.
Why did you stop training? How did you feel during that time (physically and mentally)? How did you feel afterwards? What have you done since then to make sure you don't get stuck in the same situation?
Drop a line in the comments below about any of these experiences. We all go through them, and being able to take a step back to analyze it yourself is the best way to make sure it doesn't happen again.