We all have those days. You wake up in the morning and just don't feel like dragging yourself to the box for another gruelling WoD, or it's been a long day at work, and you know for a fact it's not going to be a good session.
What can be done on the days when your heads not in the game?
Life happens. Whether it's due to a lack of sleep, poor day of eating, or just one of them mystery dull days where you wish you could just press *SKIP* and move onto the next. And that's alright. But what should you do regarding training?
On one hand, there's part of me that thinks 'When you have those days, you've just got to grin and bare it, get it done. Nobody cares, work harder' but that's all well and good thinking that when you're feeling positive, motivated and on top form.
Then part of me thinks 'Use it as a rest day. Take it easy, life's too short. You're not training for the Crossfit Games, this isn't your one true calling in life, it's fine. One day extra off never hurt anyone.'
In reality, neither answers are right, and neither wrong. There's a balance to be had in the middle. It's good to be aware of the days when you should rest. Auto regulation is a skill that needs to be worked on and improved over time similar to any other skill in Crossfit (Or in life in general). If that's a phrase you've never come across before, it simply means evaluating deep down how you're feeling and adapting to suit, so days when you're genuinely not up to pushing big weight, don't. But also means the days where you may be up to it, give it a go and assess how you perform.
You can reduce the number of bad days however and here's just a few factors that when improved, can make a world of difference.
Diet. It's easy to get right once, but hard to get right all the time, but you don't have to. Set goals in place to ensure you're eating enough protein, carbs and fats to suit your goals. Build a diet focused around single ingredient foods. This is food items that don't contain anything other than what came from the earth, such as (home cooked) basmati rice, baked potatoes, Fruits, Veg, water... you get the point. One app that is fantastic for this is MyFitnessPal. It's super easy to throw food items into here on your phone or desktop and keep accountable for what you're eating. Too embarrassed or can't be bothered imputing an item? Then don't eat it. Simple.
Sleep. When in short supply, this can cripple you. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase memory loss, high blood pressure, lower sex drive, increase risk of heart disease, and not to mention ruins recovery and motivation. So take half an hour on a night before bed to make sure your sleep hygiene is on point, and maybe even treat yourself to a new pillow. Sleep is critical to improving your well being so make it a priority.
Stress. Surprisingly, stress is something that has a really negative impact on not only your mental health, but physical health too. Stress is often caused by external stimulus, ie. Work, relationships, family, finances or illness/injury and can really take the wind out of your sails. Managing stress can itself be stressful, but implementing methods and techniques can reduce the load and give you some breathing room. Simple things like improving planning and organisation goes a long way to ensuring you don't feel under pressure because everything is laid out and clear to see. Another thing that helps me personally is to take your memory out of the equation and make notes and set reminders. It doesn't matter how small it is, write it down. Then your mind can remove that thought, and your phone does the work to remind you in a couple hours when you're in a situation when its necessary. like food from the shops. Don't make mental lists and worry about what you need. Scribble it down as soon as you think of a thing, and when you're in the shop, let the list assist in the shopping, not your brain.
Water. It's so easy to go about your day and forget about water and hydration until you've a headache, feel fatigued and are dying for even just a sip of water. Stop. If you ever get to the point where your thirsty, you missed the boat and are already dehydrated. Studies show as little as a 1.5% decrease in hydration can cause headaches and brain fog. What's worse, is a 1-2% decrease in hydration can cause between a 20-30% decrease in performance! Now that's a number that should make you realise the importance of water. And hydration doesn't come from a pint of water you neck on the way to the gym, but what you consume all day. Recomendations for the average adult suggest 2L of water a day, which is such a small amount. If you're up 15 hours (7am-10pm) that's only 133ml an hour. That's so little its hilarious. Try drinking around 3L a day spread out throughout your day, and see what a huge difference it makes.
So that's our best ways to prevent having off days too often. They do happen because sometimes the world decided, but most of the time it's a reflection on our lives and the decisions we make 24/7.
Let us know if any of these help!
We all know some of the things we should be doing, but then again, they're easy to forget.
Here's a little nudge to stepping your game up whether in the gym, or just everyday life.