When Training Becomes a Drag – Episode 386
Niki & Andrew Jackson discuss what to do when training becomes a drag.
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Why Slumps Happen
Different reasons can arise to make training a drag. You might simply get a little burnt out after months and years of training. PRs don’t happen as much, and you might not just hit one or two workouts where you lack motivation–and don’t just need a deload–but need a larger shift in training to help build the motivation.
Injuries could lower motivation, as PRs may seem far away and frustration may grow as you are limited at what you can do.
Also, if you decide to cut and lose weight, this can make things harder in the gym as you have less weight–and muscle mass–to lift the weights, so suddenly your strength may start trending downward. This often happens over time with some rough workouts.
You may have to adjust how you approach training mentally.
Andrew discusses how he would have an intensive, long process to get himself psyched up, including coffee, a playlist, and visualization. While this did help him on the platform–in the short term–it left him drained and had longer term negative effects.
You may develop a longer term goal that gives you something to look forward to: a meet or competition. This can help focus your training and help increase motivation beyond simply getting stronger.
Acknowledge that off days will happen, so don’t equate one or two bad workouts with a need to shift.
Focus on the process of training. Remember your deeper why, that this is your time and you’re doing this for yourself. Enjoy the major change from the rest of your day, which–probably–is not physical like your time in the gym.
You may also adjust what you do in the gym.
You may add some instant gratification. That might mean some hypertrophy work to end with a pump. If you enjoy getting sweaty, it might be your favorite conditioning work.
Similarly, you might favor some of the exercises you like and not avoid but at least minimize exercises you dislike. If you dislike a main lift, maybe you back off and focus on some supplementals.
Or you could shift the focus. If you’ve done lots of intensity work, maybe you focus on hypertrophy. If you haven’t done AMRAPs or EMOMs or similar schemes, you could do something like that that involves the same lifts but with a different application of stress.
Another idea is to put a time cap on the workout. Now–again–don’t let yourself abuse this and drag your rest times, but if you’re efficient in the gym commit to an hour in the gym and do the most you can–and then call it at an hour.
This is a great time to have a coach–or a workout partner–to help keep you accountable so an adjustment doesn’t turn into taking it easy for the sake of taking it easy.