Be A Good Training Partner to Yourself

by | Mar 4, 2018 | General | 0 comments

This post is for someone who wants to be healthier and better than yesterday but find themselves struggling.

If either one of the following describes you, this post probably isn’t for you.

  • Working out is your absolute top priority.
  • You schedule your life around your gym time.

Still here? Read on.

CrossFit’s popularity continues to explode day by day and its training system is well-known worldwide.

All you see about CrossFit on media are these super crazy fit men and women doing jaw dropping things. Many people want to be like them and train like them. They dedicate their lives in their training. They sacrifice their lives to be the best they can be. (Dedicating life in training doesn’t just happen for CrossFit, but let’s stick with that for now because you know, John and I own a CrossFit gym.)

Even if they’re not “dedicating” or “sacrificing” their lives to training, tons of people take their training schedule seriously and they are great at keeping their gym habit even when life hits them unexpectedly. They are committed to their training and I have a massive respect for them.

On the other hand, there’s me.

If you are like me, at different points in your life, you struggle to go to a gym for various reasons. In my case, it’s work, kids, sickness, and sometimes pure exhaustion.

If you are like me, you are mid-thirties or older and have energy sucking vampires (ahem, precious kids). You are exhausted every day. Oh and let’s not forget about your work. The time you had to think about just yourself was long ago. Now, YOU are not your top priority anymore. You come in second or third, or possibly last.

If you are like me, you “lost track” of working out or “lost motivation” (or simply got sick from your cute vampires because they are germ magnets) and couldn’t workout for 1-2 weeks.

And that was enough to lose track.

Does this sound familiar?

I know I’m not alone on this.

You may think working out comes naturally to me and that I see it as essential to living as eating. I’m sorry to disappoint you (I really am) but the truth is I have a conversation with myself every single day.

“Are you working out today?”

Some days, I answer “Yes, I am!”. But many days, my answer is “I’m too tired.” or “I have so much work to do.” From there, I may still choose to workout that day.

What do you feel later that day or the day after you chose NOT to workout? Guilt? Disappointment in yourself? You think you are not good enough?

If you think any of these things because you didn’t workout, you’re punishing yourself mentally.

Stop it.

Read the introduction of Stephen Stern who is a GMB Fitness trainer at 66.

Stephen Stern was in his 60s when he finally learned to stop fighting his body. He began to think of it as a training partner rather than an adversary to beat, and that mental shift made all the difference.”

Yes, they are talking about the physical aspect, but I think you can apply the same thinking to the mental aspect.

You wouldn’t tell your training partner that he/she is not good enough when he/she doesn’t want to workout, would you? If you do, that’s an asshole move. Hopefully you’d try to find out what’s going on and try to motivate them if there were no obvious reasons not to workout (injury, no sleep, no food, etc.).

Apply this thinking to yourself. Try to be understanding of yourself. And definitely don’t punish yourself.

Now, I understand that this is a very thin line between being a training partner to yourself in this sense and being too understanding, saying “That’s okay. You can skip today… and today… and today”. You need to have some kind of discipline, of course.

Since I started applying this mentality, the pressure of “I HAVE TO workout” was lifted and I have no more guilty feelings when I don’t workout. Because I know the difference between “I don’t want to workout because I’m lazy” and “I don’t want to workout because I’m exhausted from a 15 hour shift with 5 hours of sleep”.

Funny thing is I’ve been working out more often than before.

If you’ve already gone off the training track for a few weeks (or months!) and finding it’s hard to go back to the gym, I hear you. The first step is always the hardest. But it’ll get easier day by day.

So, get back to the gym. As soon as you step inside, you’ve already done better than yesterday.

Machiko Emoto

Machiko is an owner and co-founder of CrossFit Toronto and Primal Athletes and a CrossFit Level II certified trainer.

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