In a recent blog post, we talked about how waiting for the perfect time to go ‘all in’ on fitness and healthy living can be frustrating, and might not be the best approach. In a similar vein, if for some reason you’re stuck in a position where you aren’t able to train as much as you’d like to, or as hard as you want to, it can get very frustrating, and can sometimes cause you to want to drop your healthy habits altogether.
Perhaps you’ve been committed and consistent, but unfortunately have 3 weeks of travel coming up this month for work. Or maybe you fell while playing soccer and bruised your elbow, and the doctor says you’ll be fine but you can’t do upper body exercises for a couple of weeks. Most of us know this type of frustration, and some of us allow a setback like this to drag us into a whirlpool of defeat, booze and ice cream. As fun as that can be, there’s an alternative.
If you choose to, you can reframe this situation and use it to strengthen your resolve – it’s all dependent on your perspective. Instead of fixating on what you can’t control and getting upset at that, you can decide to focus on something productive, like truly learning to appreciate and take care of the one body you’ve been given. This might also be a chance for you to develop patience, which is going to serve you well in the long run, because in the grand scheme of things, these small obstacles are just minor blips and adjustments you need to overcome. Perhaps most importantly, this problem can be seen as an opportunity to show yourself and the people around you that you’re going to keep doing what you can, despite the setback. You have a chance to hold your ground and show yourself that you’re willing to adapt and learn, so you can keep on this path no matter what happens.
“I can’t do that… but I’ll do what I can.”
I’m not encouraging you to train through injuries or destroy yourself with crazy late night workouts when you travel. I’m encouraging you to work around the issue. It’s less about making progress, and more about staying consistent and committed. Something is better than nothing, and a little bit will do a lot more than nothing at all.
If you can’t make it to the gym, use the travel program on the app. It’s not as good as doing an actual session, but it’s better than that feeling you’ll get when you come back after 2 months of no exercise. Not enough energy to push hard? Go for a long walk or a bike ride instead. Not enough time? Pick a single exercise, do as many good reps as you can in 60 seconds, and move on with your day. A few hours later, pick another exercise and do the same thing. At the very least, do the lizard, pigeon and core warm ups when you wake up or before bed. Do what you can, and appreciate that at least you can do that.
One of the hardest things to do is to come back after a long layoff where you’ve been inactive and lazy, especially when you know you could, and should, have done more. You’ll remember how strong and fit you used to be and dread the thought of the amount of time and effort it’s going to take to get back to where you were. In contrast, if you’ve been focusing on doing what you can, you’ll remember how strong and fit you used to be but instead be excited that you can finally get back into the groove of things. You’ll be able to think to yourself “I’m back, and I can’t wait to push hard again”, with a big smile on your face. This fundamental difference is powerful.
Do what you can – your future self will thank you for it.