Cheers to the Mediocre Workout!

We notice the trending seasonal moods at the studio, with people feeling fresh motivation in September but starting to lose steam once the imminent threat of winter sets in.  The gloomy weather makes us want to hide in our hoodies and turn inwards; getting sweaty is not appealing and now that the glow of summer has worn off and we have so much time to wait for winter holidays, our motivation tank is dry! It’s natural of course, I find myself wanting to do lighter, shorter workouts lately because my inner basic b**ch just wants to drink pumpkin spice lattes, and eat cinnamon buns in my giant jogging pants and fluffy housecoat; and honestly I can’t wait to get home and take this sports bra off!  BUT the point of these musings today is not to entice you to stay on your cozy couch, but to give you a little pep talk on why you need to stay the course.

To point out the obvious, you will feel better about yourself and life after you workout, this is true regardless of how motivated/unmotivated you are.  How do you convince yourself to leave the house, walk across the threshold of the gym and jump around when you’ve got the blahs?  Well to start, you must develop that little thing called discipline and the more you ignore the tempting voice that says “stay home” the easier it gets; it really is just a “trust the process” kind of situation. However there are certainly days that we could benefit from a couch day and that’s ok as long as you don’t get derailed from your goals by taking too many couch days.  

The key to getting to the gym when you aren’t motivated, is to remember that a mediocre workout is better than no workout.  There’s this idea that if you aren’t ready to go all out, then its a waste of time, but that couldn’t be more wrong.  The mediocre workout is actually sometimes MORE important than the best workout of your life, simply because it reinforces the consistency and discipline you need to forma lifelong habit. After all, training your mind to overcome the easy way out is half the battle.  

In addition to building discipline, there are numerous other benefits for doing a middling workout.  

  1. You’ll still be getting stronger, or at the very least, maintaining strength.  Did you know that it takes only 3-4 weeks to start losing muscle mass after you stop training?  It’s a shame to work so hard to build strength and a routine, only to get derailed and have to start again.  
  2. You’ll still be increasing blood flow which is great for your heart and your brain!
  3. You’ll still be cranking up your immune system, which, if you have children or work around other people you’ll need all the help you can get; tis the season for contracting and spreading viruses.
  4. You’ll still improve your sleep quality.
  5. You’ll still be soaking in those endorphins which will directly boost your mood and your mental health.  
  6. You’ll stay consistent and help solidify your routine.

Most of the time, when I set out to do a mediocre workout, I end up getting into it and killing it unintentionally.  Sometimes, I just get through it, I choose lighter weights, I do one less set, I take an extra rest, I curse, groan and sigh a alot.  Even if you’re coming to a class and you think you have to keep up with the others, there is no judgment in our studio, if you need a break, you take a break, if you want to plank on your knees today, go for it!  Chances are, the others will be impressed by the fact that you showed up at all.

In short, all the reasons we exercise in the first place, will still matter even if you go half in instead of all in. As annoying as it sounds, fitness really is just about discipline; most people who exercise habitually, aren’t always motivated but they know that the mediocre workout is an important part of the training process.