The old mantra of “strike while the iron is hot” is appealing to many lifters, as after all, the main goal is to lift as much weight as we possibly can. But what happens when the “iron is cold” and everything about our existence comes crashing down around us? In this article I want to summarise my views on what to focus on when you’re “just having one of those days”.
Whether we like it or not, some days the weights just don’t move like we want them or expect them to. A weight that we hit last week all of a sudden feels heavy, slow and uncomfortable. In that moment we start to question everything about our training and it can leave us feeling demotivated, stressed and upset.
Here are 5 simple tips that will help you get through these days and keep you on the path to success:
Understand that lifting progress isn’t linear: Being able to come to terms with the fact that there will be ups and downs during strength training is important. So long as the general trend for our lifts is going up then minor differences along this journey are to be expected.
Hire a strength coach: A strength coach should offer more than just a strength programme. Your relationship should allow for conversations to be had that both encourage and reassure your strength progress and you as a strength athlete when things don’t feel like they are going the way you want or expect.
Your strength coach will be able to listen to your concerns and either reassure you that these differences in performance are expected and/or make adjustments to your training programme if necessary.
Use an auto-regulated training programme: The best thing about autoregulation is that it allows you to make on-the-day training-based decisions on how you feel. If you aren’t feeling particularly great then you can lower the weight (approx. 5%) and still feel confident that you are performing the programme with the intended intensity. We suggest this technique in our online coaching.
Complete your strength training session: The urge to give up and go home as soon as things aren’t going your way will be very high. DO NOT DO THIS. Make the necessary adjustments to your weights to match the intended RPE and continue with the session. You will feel much better having completed the workout instead of going home, defeated, and potentially throwing the rest of your training schedule out of sync.
There is more to life than lifting weights. For most of us, lifting weights is something we do in our spare time for enjoyment, to release built-up stress, to socialize with friends etc etc. The days you feel like everything is a little bit heavier than it should be, remember why you started lifting weights in the first place – for fun! Embrace the journey and focus on encouraging your strength-training partners and creating a positive strength training environment (we welcome everyone at our strength gym).