Bad Days at the Gym

What if I told you bad days at the gym are actually a good thing?
We all have those days where our minds are out of it, we’re tired, we’re feeling a little under the weather, and our training suffers because of it.

I challenge you to try to change the way you think and feel about these types of sessions. Why? Because you still showed up. You knew you were tired, you knew you had a lot going on, but you still got your butt to the gym to train, where others easily failed and said “I’ll just go tomorrow”.

Sure, you didn’t hit the numbers you wanted, sure you couldn’t run as fast as usual, but you made the effort despite suboptimal conditions you were facing before entering the gym. We shouldn’t be upset about these days, because you have a very important character trait that you should be proud of.

We may know that we are set up to fail, we may know that it is going to be a struggle and a fight the entire way through, but recognizing that altering the routine, sacrificing long-term benefits (i.e gains) and the lowered morale of quitting entirely without even trying, are not worth it.

With training and with many things in life we work hard for, we’re not expected to be 110% on 100% of the time. Life happens, and you should let it. But knowing that you even tried, when you could have easily said no, means that you’re on your way to achieving your goals and succeeding in your endeavor because you powered through knowing you were going to have to struggle more than usual, that you were entering a battle you weren’t prepared for and might lose, but you didn’t quit.

So understand that we’re all going to have our bad days in the gym and in life, but use that as fire to gather and prepare yourself for the next fight that you’ll conquer with ease because of all of those times you tried even when you knew you couldn’t win. 

The Power of Music

Music has played a very important role in my life. I have been listening to music ever since I can remember, both by choice and by force (I grew up on my parents blasting Hall & Oates, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Sinatra seemingly non-stop). But even now, music plays a huge part in who I am, how I think, and how I feel. So for those who don’t listen to music that often, I challenge you to read this carefully and give it a try. And even those who do listen to music often, I am going to talk about my top 3 reasons why music is extremely powerful and important, both in the gym and in our daily lives, in the hopes of putting some new ideas in your mind about what it can do for all of us.

Music allows you to enter another world

The first and most important reason why music is so powerful is because it has the ability to transform your mood and can put you in another world. In the gym, the right song can trigger just the right feelings to give you that adrenaline rush or endorphin release to help you power through that last quarter mile, or give you that boost to hit a new PR. Whether it is the right beat, the right lyrics, or just a feel good song that always gets you in the mood to focus, a good playlist in the gym tells your body and your mind that it is time for your workout. These sets of songs are probably different than ones you listen to normally outside of the gym, and some may overlap. But the point with your gym playlist is to choose those songs that have that ability to make you focus and amp you up, telling your mind and matter what you’re there for.

Outside of the gym, music can also be extremely powerful in putting you in a different world. Whether it’s soft background music to help you focus at work, or a sad song that makes your mind wonder, reflect and meditate, it’s that ability to tell your mind and your body what it should feel, and where you should put your attention and focus, that makes music so important.

Music can connect you with others

Music, among many other things, is a great way to bring people together. I find so much joy in finding someone who has the same (or even totally different) taste in music as I do, and discussing, listening, and exploring all of the different types of music that are out there. Opening up your mind and allowing others to bring new music into your world can allow you to see a new perspective, and also to learn a thing or two about who that person is based on what they listen to. It’s a great way to become more open minded and accepting. If you really dislike a particular artist, talking to someone who really enjoys them can help you understand why they like them, and you may even end up changing your mind once you become more knowledgeable. I know that has happened to me on multiple occasions.

We also all have our particular tastes in music, and it makes us feel good to find someone who likes similar things. Playing music with a group of common interests, or different ones, often creates some great discussion and connection with those around you. You all know the words, you’re all grooving and tapping your foot to the same beat, and when played in the right setting, is make or break in having a good time. Think about it – have you ever been somewhere that you’ve LOVED the music and remembered because of it? It’s the same way when you’ve hated it. Right from the start it can shape the way we feel about a situation, person, or place.

Music allows you to let loose

Another extremely important and powerful thing about music is that it allows you to let loose. People who know me know that I’m the first one to put on some music nice and loud and start singing and dancing along. The escape I feel when listening to music is so powerful to me and like no other. Like my first point about entering into another world, music allows us to relax and get us comfortable. The power of this comes from the fact that when a certain song comes on that everyone knows, everyone starts to sing along mentally in his or her head. When that first person breaks that mental karaoke into a real live performance, everyone gets a little more comfortable and joins in on the fun.

You can feel when your mind and your body like a song. It rushes through you and it is so hard to explain why. But when the right buttons are pressed, that power subsides your self-conscious and self-awareness and takes over. This creates joy to you and those around you and gets us all in a place of happiness and community. Combine that with a little alcohol and you’ve got yourself doing to worm across the dance floor with the whole crowd laughing and having a good time.

So try it out, make playlists for multiple different occasions, settings, and moods. It’s power of focus can help your gains in the gym, it’s power of connection can help make some new friends, and it’s power of escape and letting go can help you have a better time with those around you and to forget about what anyone else is thinking.

Don’t have a big music library? I recommend using Spotify. The free version gives you everything you need on your computer. But if you download the app and pay for a subscription, it’s a great way to get all the music you could ever dream of, anywhere you want it.

How to Get the Most Out of the Gym

Check out my guest post on The Go Well Path’s blog where I offer some advice on how to get the most out of the gym!!

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