Random training gives random results
That’s a motto from the training-world and it’s not wrong – at least in some contexts.
If you have a specific (+realistic) goal in mind, it makes sense to structure your training based on methods that will help you reach that goal. When you’ve been training regularly, you’ll start to see diminishing returns with the same amount of work. This means you will have to work even harder to continue to increase performance/results.
For beginners, however, even random training can produce a solid increase in results.
What’s the point of slavishly adhering to a training program if you don’t enjoy the process?
That’s what I want to encourage you to think about today.
(If you think reaching x kg or fitting in size x clothing will finally make you feel happy and good about your body – then you need to go read this. But that’s not what this post is about).
Because sometimes having a strict training plan can kill your motivation. Exploring movement outside of the constraints of your program (or even what you’re used to thinking of as ‘exercise’) can be cool and fun – it’s not “letting yourself go” ~whatever that 💩-ty phrase means~, it’s letting yourself be.
Exercise and I…
Since I started going to the gym at around 16 years old (and until I got sick), I’ve had some form of structure around my training. At first, it was planned by the trainer of my football team, and with the sole focus of optimizing performance and preventing injuries – I knew it would make me better at football (and I LOVED football), so motivation generally wasn’t an issue.
When I stopped playing football, I started creating my own training plans and learning more about strength training – and I still do. I will follow the overall structure of plan (how many times a week, what body parts were in focus this session), but sometimes I’ll swap exercises based on what I feel like doing, what equipment is available etc.
When motivation is
But once in a while, I have periods where the motivation-meter hits 0.
How do you handle that?
I allow myself the freedom of letting go of that structure – because it’s not serving me at the moment.
Instead, I throw away the plan and don’t decide what to do before I get to the gym. Sometimes it’ll mean not showing up at all, and instead staying at home doing yoga. Going outside for walks. Or doing nothing.
Eventually, I’ll miss the structure or find a goal I want to achieve (like doing 10
Avoid the vicious cycle…
If you allow exercise not to be a chore but instead something fun and positive, it won’t be such a struggle to exercise regularly. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, force yourself anyway, and have a bad experience, it’ll be even harder to go the next time.
Finding that joy in movement is important. Movement is a powerful way to take care of yourself and connect to your body (and others, if you find a social activity).
The best workout is…
The best workout is not running a marathon or deadlifting 100kg; the best workout is the one you do, and keep doing regularly.
Workouts don’t have to happen in the gym. To get active, you might need to examine your beliefs about what a “real workout” is and isn’t.
Walking can be a workout. Dancing can be a workout. A workout can be random, not part of a big plan. Gardening, playing with your kids can be a workout. Look up local sports club and see if there’s something you can try – it’s usually more fun to work out with other people, and it can be a great way to meet someone new!
In Odense where I live, there are multiple running clubs, people arranging power walking, urban fitness, dancing, playful workouts, basketball and other sports through facebook. Give it a try! What’s the worst thing that could happen? Either you end up disliking it, and just don’t go again – or you find a type movement that feels fun to you!
Right now I’m struggling with working out because of my chronic pain. I try and fail a lot (by fail I mean I end up spending the next few days in bed, exhausted). But I won’t let that take away my love of moving (also ending up completely sedentary can make the pain worse).
What counts as a workout?
I’ve had to challenge my own beliefs about what counts as a workout: It doesn’t have to be written down on a paper. You don’t need to do 8-12 reps of every exercise. The exercise doesn’t have to fit into a specific structure like circle training, dropsets or tabata. You don’t need to lift weights or use any equipment. You don’t need to feel completely beat afterwards.
I try to take it day by day and adapt based on my form of the day. Instead of trying to plan a training schedule I’ll probably fail to comply with, I just look at right now and ask myself: