This can’t be happening! After a long day at work, I’ve spent an hour in the gym and feel worse now than I did before. Why do my legs feel so heavy? I’m so sluggish. This workout is not going as planned. What in the world is wrong with me?
Have you ever had a bad day at the gym? A time where you actually felt worse about yourself after a botched attempt at working out?
Off days at the gym, like bad hair days, can do a number on your self-confidence. The reality is, that these days are normal.
Just last Friday I had a bad training session. The barbell felt so heavy, and I just couldn’t hit my lifts. In the past, I might have let the situation get the best of me, but now I know better. Instead of getting frustrated, I took some weight off the bar and worked through it. I chalked it up as an off day and maximized my time in the gym by drilling some lightweight technique work.
It really is OK to back off a little bit. If you just aren’t feeling it, then strip some weight off the bar, lower the number of reps or shorten the distance, and don’t overdo it. Pushing too hard can sometimes make things worse and can even lead to an injury.
Off days are more common than you think. From elite athletes to the average active person, we all struggle with fitness from time to time.
You shouldn’t expect personal records or personal bests every time you step foot in the gym, anyway. You have to have realistic expectations. Trust the process, and take it one day at a time.
Sometimes the struggle is real. If it’s just not happening for you, call it a day. There are 365 days in a year, and you can’t let one bad hour knock the wind out of your sails. You can always come back to fight another day.
This is the last resort but in some instances the right decision. Odds are you need some good rest.
But don’t use this as an excuse to not go to the gym or leave quickly whenever you don’t feel like working out. Feeling off because of external stressors and fatigue is different than just not feeling like it.
Making it to the gym is half the battle for some. If you get there and you still don’t feel like exercising, try scaling back and working through it before you head for the exit.