A lot of people ask me for training advice. Makes sense, of course, since this is what I do for a living, but what a lot of people are interested in is actually how I worked out back when I was still competing in mixed martial arts. Usually, they’re blown away by how much time I had to spend in the gym (and, honestly, when I look back these days, I am too).
One question that keeps coming up over and over again is how to push yourself when you’re just not feeling it. We all have those days: maybe you had to put in extra time in the office or you’ve got a super busy schedule with kids’ practices and games. Whatever it is, everyone has to confront down days. And we’d all love to know the secret of getting yourself in the zone when you’d rather be doing pretty much anything but kicking your own butt at the gym
Well, for starters, there’s no magic silver bullet to just snap into the zone. There are strategies, though. One of my favorites is to visualize how I’ll feel after it’s all over. Sure, how I feel might be actually super sore or even more worn out, but there’s an undeniable sense of pride and accomplishment after you complete a tough workout, and that’s especially true when you’ve pushed it after almost not stepping foot in the gym at all.
Visualization is a really powerful tool. It’s not going to give you crazy bursts of energy, obviously, but it can make you realize that what you’re dreading isn’t going to go on for hours and hours. It’s just a short workout and then you can head home knowing that you put in your work for the day.
Nowadays, I’ve got another secret that I’m trying NOT to keep secret. It’s the O2 Trainer. This little device can really change your life. And when it comes to those days when you’re teetering on the fence about whether or not you can even sneak a workout in, it helps you break on the side of just sucking it up and getting on the bike, treadmill or whatever your routine might be. The reason why is because it can cut workout times by 30%. Yes, you read that correctly! Say you normally run or spin for 30 minutes. Well, how much less daunting does that workout seem if you can shave off 10 minutes from that? Suddenly, you realize that as long as you just show up, it’ll be over almost before you know it.
The last piece of advice I can give you is to think about treating yourself to a little reward on the days when you’ve really gone above and beyond what you thought capable. Obviously you don’t want it to take away from the work you just put in—eating a whole pint of ice cream after a short run isn’t really doing you favors in the long run—but think about a fresh juice or piece of fruit that you could pick up on the way home to congratulate yourself for a job well done. When all else fails, this could be the dangling carrot you need.