You wake up or you’re just getting out of work. Your tired, lazy, and will do anything for an extra 10 minutes of sleep or a cat nap. But there’s a problem. Its gym time and you have a hard training session in front of you. Should you skip it because your body is telling you I need rest?
From family members, to friends, to most trainers I know, there answer would be, “listen to your body” Stay home, take a bubble bath, pamper yourself, you deserve it.
My take on this is the total opposite.
Firstly, let me ask you this. If you were a caveman, exhausted, starving, and you run into a saber-tooth tiger staring you in the face, what would you do? I bet your life you wouldn’t say, “Hey Tiger, it’s your lucky day. I’m not going to put up a fight I’m too tired. Come eat me”. Same thing goes for a training session.
I have had more client’s perform BETTER and with more strength on “sick” days, or “bad” days, than on days they said they were feeling incredible.
For example take my 56 year old client Marcus. He works with a local maintenance crew that pretty much does labor all day. It was 5:15pm and he showed up 15 minutes late to his training session stating, “I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do today”. He looked like crap, and of course I told him that:) After his warm up, it was time for him to step up to the squat rack for a working set (of back squats). The first set was okay, second was better, and third was a little better. He looked at me wondering why he could still lift the same weight as last week even though he was exhausted. We threw an extra 5 pounds on the bar and I told him to go for a triple. He busted through it for 5 reps. He was in shock as it was the most weight he had ever done. I added on another 5lbs, and yes, he made that 3 rep set look like cake as well. That was a new PR by 15lbs. So what the heck happened?
His body was lying to him.
There are a lot of things out there we all misinterpret on a daily basis. I’m talking about motivation, willpower, and strength in particular here because in reality you could feel “exhausted” everyday. But should you skip the gym every day? Absolutely not. Many fitness enthusiasts, client, and coaches I know have at least one or a couple “bad” days a week where they don’t feel like going to the gym. Do they miss those days? If they are serious about making progress, or should I say the ones who make the most gains, don’t.
With all this said, there is obviously a time and a place where you need a break or time off from training, especially if you are recovering from a certain injury, or have any contraindications with activity.
But being too “warn out” has been the main topic of excuse lately. So you stayed up late, had a long day at work, or got in a fight with your significant other. We have to understand as humans that just because you’re “tired” it doesn’t automatically mean it’s rest time, and it could actually mean the opposite.
Everyone gets a little tired sometimes, but I dare you to tough it out on one of these days. When you do so, compare your “bad” day training session to the last training session you felt energized and fresh. After that, know your stronger than the average person for not skipping that day you wanted to bury your head in a pillow. You can thank me later when you tough it out and set a new PR on that same day you thought you couldn’t make it;)