005 || Diaries of a Coach

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Do you ever have those days, when working out is just not happening? For whatever reason, you’re not interested. Maybe you woke up late, didn’t sleep well, not enough coffee in the world could make you feel alive. Or maybe work was stressful, coworkers not pulling their weight, deadlines approaching too quickly, late nights and early mornings plaguing you. Or maybe its relationships, finances, kids… LIFE. Any given day, I could probably find exactly one million reasons not to work out.

Do me a favor and google “benefits of exercise.” It will take you seven seconds to find a result that includes improved mood and mental health. So apparently it helps, yet some days, nothing could be harder to do.

Last week, I had one of those days. I had early morning sessions, followed by mid morning sessions followed by late morning sessions. I had agreed to train a client at 11am, which I typically avoid so I can prioritize my workout at noon at CFA. But she was so sweet and needed her coach, at 11am specifically. So I agreed and planned to workout on my own later. But given the way this particular morning had progressed, I knew my own discipline wasn’t going to be enough. As soon as my session ended, I texted Tim asking to hop in when I got there. Of course, he said yes. I immediately pulled out my phone and used my CFA coach super powers to check and see who would be in class. My mood instantly changed when I saw the handful of people that I was going to get to workout with that day. I hopped in on a build to a heavy deadlift and by the time I had picked up my 85%, my day had completely turned around.

A couple years, ago I read a book by Dan John (And when I say read, I mean I started. I am a chronic book non-finisher.) where he talked about our limited decision making ability as humans. He argued that the most powerful tool we have toward the success of our goals in the gym is freewill. However, the catch is that we have a limited amount of free will to expend. As we go about our day making decision after decision after decision, the decision making energy in our bank account dwindles. In an effort to make the most of your freewill, he gives three suggestions. Maybe these will offer so help on days like the one I had last week.

First, he says to decrease the number of options, choices and decisions you make in the course of a day. The ultimate example, meal prep. Why is meal prep the most successful plan of action toward nutritional goals? Because the decision factor is taken out of any given moment when could easily be negatively affected by emotions, cravings, or immediate access (think that sweet lady at work that keeps bringing treats and destroying your fitness goals). Same thing with a consistent workout routine. It helps me to workout every day at noon. That decision is already made. So when I caved and let something change that standard, my workout was at the mercy of my mood and that day, it was hanging on by a thread.

Second, he says to whittle down your life, do less, invest more in fewer and more important things. Prioritize priorities. You can’t do it all and do it well. So what is most important? To your mental health? To your physical health? TO YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH? (Talking to myself on that one!) When we try to do it all, something has to give and typically, it ends up being exactly what would help us the most (physical activity cough cough).

Finally, he says to build an army of people that can invest their free will into yours. And this is what I needed and what I got last week, when the workout wasn’t going to happen. We are more successful when we tell our goals to the masses, because we are held to them. We are checked up on, encouraged, pushed harder during workouts, and mentally, we are never at it alone. You see, the science is there, exercise is a mood changer. But having a tribe of people in the trenches with you, if you ask me, that’s the real game changer.

So if today you’re feeling like working out is the last thing you want to do, if the decision to workout is hanging on by a thread, come. I just decided for you! I’ll be waiting for you, with some trap music and an empty barbell.

-Coach E