For most people, it’s not if you’ll fall off your workouts, it’s when. Believe it or not, it’s not an indictment on your character – it just is. But getting back to your workouts needs attention, just like anything else you want to happen in your life.
We tend to think of our workouts as a luxury or “add-on” in our lives. So they’re the first things to go when life gets busy. That’s a reason for falling off, but what’s the solution?
I don’t believe in guilt, shame, or looking back when my clients miss workouts. Moving forward can only happen if you hold your head high and hop back on with self-love and forgiveness. After all, we know you want this. But your workouts have either fallen to a lower priority or your motivation is lagging. Either way, it’s a normal part of the process that can be fixed.
Falling off happens for a variety of reasons, but I’ve found these factors are always true:
The less experienced you are with falling off and getting back on, the more disappointed in yourself you’ll be (and the harder it will be to get back on).
Not admitting you’ve fallen off (or hiding from your coach), is a surefire way to never get back on.
You’ve got to know these truths and how to work around them.
I tell my clients right from the very beginning that I’m here for them if they stop following their program. Not to punish or reprimand them, but to help lift them back up. It’s very common and part of the process.
If you don’t have a coach, you’ve got to be able to do this for yourself over and over. Otherwise, falling off for a month can turn into forever.
Getting Back To Your Workouts With Grit
After years of coaching hundreds of smart, beautiful ladies (and yes, a number of guys, too), I’ve found two techniques that are essential to getting back on track. Neither involves putting your head in the sand, so if that’s your M.O., you can keep on walking.
1. Cage Your Inner Critic
People who lift already have grit. But everyone has a critical voice in their heads when they don’t do something perfectly.
I don’t know your Inner Critic or hear the brutal insults she hurls at you when you fall off program. The level of abuse our Inner Critic inflicts varies widely from person to person.
The important thing is what you do with this voice. Ignoring her only increases her power to keep you mired in a pit of sticky tar.
So acknowledge this. She’s horribly mean, but she’s not running the show unless you let her. Listen for a moment – is she telling you you’re a failure, lazy, incompetent, or whatever?
When you face her head on, it hurts only for a moment. When you try to push her down or win, the hurt always bubbles back up.
You can quickly and surprisingly shut down your Inner Critic by simply acknowledging what she’s saying.
“Thanks for sharing,” you say back in a neutral voice, your eyes steady. “You’ve had your piece. Now I’m moving on.”
Then do something. Do one thing towards getting back to your workouts:
- Make an appointment in your calendar to go to the gym.
- Make sure your gym bag is ready.
- Plan your workout.
- Tell someone you’re going to train and when.
- Do a mini-workout right now (20 bodyweight squats, 15 push-ups, and a one-minute plank – three times).
Now you’ve proven your Inner Critic wrong. Now you ignore her.
2. Keep Your Head In the Game
No matter what your reason for falling off, you need to keep your head in the game. If you’ve been out of it for awhile, let’s still look at it as keeping your head in the game. You’re not totally out of it, you know. You’re a gritty girl who lifts – it will always be part of who you are.
I can’t emphasize this enough. I don’t care if you have 40 family members visiting for a month, a new job with an hour commute each way, or unrelenting irritable bowel syndrome.
You must stay connected to your “why.”
When you go awhile without training or eating differently, your brain loses that connection. Sure, on an intellectual level you remember why you should work out (or choose better food). But it’s more of a subconscious memory and feeling that gets lost.
These are the exact words I wrote to a client a few weeks ago.
I asked her to email me when she’d completed 30 minutes of lifting over the weekend. She did.
I also told her that she must lift weights at least once a week to keep her head in the game. You might think, Well, that won’t do any good – why bother?
But it IS doing good – it’s keeping your head in the game. It’s preventing you from forgetting your goals and what it feels like to feel strong and fit. You still feel like you’re “in” it without guilt. Remember that you can’t move on without self-love and forgiveness.
That means even if you’re traveling, you’re committed to doing *something* – anything – to stay in the game. A brisk walk, lunges across the room, a dynamic warm up – these all count. It sounds very small, and it is. If you can do more, then do. But if not, do something for at least 30 minutes once a week until you are able to return fully.
Final Thoughts On Reboots
For me, training is my magic elixer; I can’t live without it. My workouts are non-negotiable, just like having a fresh-smelling body and teeth. But I know I’m in a very small minority. Getting to that point is something you can do if you want. But if you’re like most people, you just want to be consistent and see results.
There’s no failing or doing anything wrong when you fall off. It’s a neutral event that needs attention, just like anything else in your life. Think of it as a reboot and you’ve got this.
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com