Good days and bad days
What you can do today will be different from what you can do any other day. Sometimes you are at your best, smashing out your workout as if you are some sort of Olympic athlete. Sometimes even your warm up is knackering you and you feel like everything you've done leading up to this workout, all that effort, has been a waste! Fear not friend, everyone's fitness adventure is a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. Sometimes even a loop the loop.
Good day vibes!
So you're having a great day! Go with it. Try those slightly heavier weights. Try that extra distance. Try that movement you've been struggling to execute. This is a good day for it. You're on point. Sometimes everything just seems to flow. Maybe a bird took a dump on your head that morning and you're just having a lucky day. Maybe it's your pre-workout routine that really helped you along the way. Here are some things that can help ensure you have a great workout in order of what I consider to be most important:
1. Get a good nights sleep. This is critical. The better the sleep, the better you'll feel for your workout. I listed a few ways to ensure that here. Other things would be to avoid drinking alcohol before going to sleep as it can really mess with the quality of those Zs.
2. Workout when it suits you. Some people are morning people. Some people are evening people. I used to be a late afternoon gym goer. Now I'm one of those weird morning people (kind of). You'll read various articles saying you should work out in the morning to burn more fat and that sort of thing. But you know what, if you struggle in the morning and you aren't motivated, you'll do sweet eff all. So workout at times that suit you and your mood. *Unfortunately this doesn't give you a free pass to leave work early or get there late unless your boss is really cool.
3. Eat a little, eat a lot, fast, drink, do what suits you. Again, you'll hear of the most optimal ways to ensure muscle gain/fat loss by eating/drinking particular things, or perhaps nothing at all. Do what suits YOU! If you're chugging down a massive protein shake 30 minutes before and chugging some pre-workout too, then feeling sick throughout your workout, then you're going to have a bad time (If you know South Park, read it in that character's voice). Personally, I've found on low energy days, coffee is my fix, as most people's will be. I can happily workout on a full stomach or fasted stomach. Some people think of either of those as a nightmare. But at the end of the day, feel comfortable during your workout to get the most out of it.
4. Listen to your own music/or not. If you find you get motivated with some music in your ears, and specific music, then shove some earphones into those ears and zone out. If not, then remember, your local fitness instructor is not a DJ. He/She is not going to be putting on your favourite album so that you can have a great sesh and everyone else has to grin and bear it. Seriously, just get on with it. I used to absolutely REQUIRE some super aggressive music loud in my ears, but now I've learnt to max out to (what I consider) some truly awful music. I now actually embrace whatever music is playing, blank it if it's required, then blank everyone around me, and find I can quite happily just 'get into the zone' so that I can max out.
Bad day frustrations
Ohhhh no. You knew this day would come. The warm up is heavy. You're sweating from... Well, from nothing. You're out of breath and you haven't even lifted what you wanted to lift yet. You're having a bad workout day. FEAR NOT! This happens to us all. Even Olympic athletes will go through this. Read your body, listen to it, and lift what you can. Something I am still learning to be able to do. Consider some of these points to help you lift better, even on a bad day.
1. You can't get that thing out of your head. Whatever it is. Maybe you've just finished work and it was an horrific day and you just can't get your mind off that. Maybe you're just thinking of how tired you are. Whatever it is, it's distracting you. If you're not mentally in the gym, physically you'll hardly be there. Try to refocus and get back to the workout, but don't expect miracles that day. Also, you have to consider a workout is stressful on the body too. Sometimes you don't want to add to all that stress with some mechanical and metabolic stress, the body will then have so much to recover from that the workout is actually detrimental.
Bonus motivation! However, all of this can work to your advantage if you're really annoyed, you can use this to take out your frustrations. The gym is the best place for that!! The gym is therapy! Whether you smash some weights to feel better, or even go for some slow steady cardio, this can really make you feel much better. Not bothering with structure on a day like that can really help too, if you feel so inclined.
2. Get yourself a workout buddy. They might be having one of those great days, and they are bringing your spirits right back up! Of course this could potentially annoy the hell out of you. But a lifting partner is fantastic. They keep you on track, as you do for them! If you find you are consistently struggling, find yourself a lifting partner! Maybe not off of Craigslist though.
3. Remember how far you've come. We all started somewhere. Even on a bad day I'll bet you're lifting heavier than you could ever imagine when you first began.
4. Go home. You know what, read your body. None of this 'no days off' nonsense. If you are feeling under the weather, completely demotivated, then get home. That one day off is not going to reverse all that hard work you've put in. But you know what might? Injuring yourself. I've worked out a couple times this year when I've been recovering from being horrendously ill. Both times I injured myself. I would have gotten way more done by going home and recovering further, then coming back actually ready. Why have a day working out at 85% when with a couple days off you can return at 95% or even 100%.
Had a really good workout week? Maybe you've been working out top notch all week. Come the last few days and you're ready to smash it again. But you have to consider your recovery from those really good workouts. You can't expect 100% output 24/7. Consider the intensity you've been working out at. If you think you can smash HIIT sessions daily (and properly), think again. If you want to get a dose of workout after doing very high intensity work, may I suggest low intensity work. Maybe a technique day. Something that allows your body to recover.
Good luck and thanks for reading!