For the last 5 or so months I really fell off my training game. Work picked up and was forcing me to stay later, and up until I moved recently, I was spending a long time commuting every day. All of these different aspects of my life (among others) were having a negative impact on my training. I was going to the gym fewer days a week than what I consider optimal, and I really had no consistent groove so I didn’t progress in my training at all. My numbers were staying the same, and I wasn’t following any particular program for a majority of those 5 months, which made skipping the gym even easier since I didn’t have anything to really follow.
Since, for the past few weeks or so, I’ve been back on my game and have had a much more consistent schedule, and I am on a new routine to help break plateaus to hit numbers I’ve only dreamt of.
But with this change came a lot of reflecting over the past few months, and for a while I had gotten very down on myself for the situation I was in, but more recently my perspective has shifted, and allowed me to see it in a whole new way.
When my training was off, I knew it. I knew it so much that it was actually causing a lot of stress. I had less time to go to the gym, and my days were so busy and long that when I did go, I often didn’t have the energy I really needed to have a worthwhile session. I would get mad at myself for not getting stronger and consistently breaking new PRs in the gym, and it would cause me to get down on myself.
But after looking back on it now, it is very clear to me that that period of time where my training was off was an incredibly important time to have, and I learned a great lesson from it.
We’re never going to be able to do all of the things that we want to, all of the time. Especially as it relates to the gym, there’s always going to be periods where we aren’t going as often as we should, which causes our progress to slow, if not halt. But what’s extremely important for us all to recognize is that this time is not wasted. We shouldn’t get upset or frustrated with ourselves when our routines get out of whack. This discomfort and uneasiness is a learning experience in itself. It teaches us patience, it forces us to slow down, relax, and take it easy.
Busy times force us to shift priorities and make sacrifices. But these busy times don’t often last our entire lives, and it is that recognition that allows us to make peace with your current state as it will pass in time and allow us to get back to our old routines where we will make more progress and be stronger because of our time away.
Going through periods of little training can refuel the fire to come back with loads of potential energy waiting to be converted – they shouldn’t cause stress, frustration, and sadness.
It is so important to appreciate the ebbs and flows of training because it forces us to soak in the present moment – to be okay with exactly who we are, where we are, and what we’re doing – not worrying about losing our strength or missing out on a training session.
The gym will always be there, progress is always waiting to be had and achieved. When life gets hectic and busy and makes seeing friends, family, and yourself more difficult, those things must be taken into consideration first and you should dedicate the time you do have to them. Without those people surrounding you and supporting you, whatever you do in the gym and in life will be that much harder because you will be on your own, with not a single helping hand to reach out to you.
So your progress is set back a little from a few months of busyness and under-training. But if it was always that easy to keep up with every aspect of your life inside and out of the gym, there would be no joy in the challenge, journey, and achievement of becoming the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you can be.