He Showed Me Mercy & Changed My Day

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I had a coached swim session this morning at 630am that I was about 32 seconds away from canceling last night.

I’d made every excuse to myself under the sun as to why it would be ok to bail, and the only reason I didn’t was because I was driving at the time and didn’t have my phone.

The last week has been non stop…

Thursday – in Manchester 6am to 12am

Friday – all day prep for RevFit in house comp

Saturday – in house comp and coaches day / night out

Sunday – recovery from Saturday

Monday – in the gym at 515am and got home about  915pm

Tuesday – work, train, work, aunt passed away, went to visit mum and dad, didn’t get asleep until like 12am/1am

So you can imagine what it was like going to bed this morning knowing I had the hardest swim sesh of my life planned in about 6 hours.

(I was due to do attempt 10x front crawl lengths unbroken, not much for some – but huge for me)

The pool @ DCU, where I do my lessons

The pool @ DCU, where I do my lessons

So when I went in the morning I REALLY wasn’t looking forward to it. I told Karl (http://www.swimtutor.ie/) about the last few week and he did the coolest thing. He said;

“ok, let’s scrap the 10 length test for today.. what would YOU like to do?”

We did some interval work, and it turned out to be one of the freshest sessions I’ve done?!?!!?!?

Normally when a session is over I’m glad to get out of the pool, but today it felt like I could stay in all day.

By showing some mercy, and by understanding that some days you need to push, and some days you need to back off – Karl made the session great for me. You can’t possibly put a value on that feeling.

BUT, you can learn from it.

When you’re having a rotten day – it’s ok to back off a bit.

If you’re tried, sleepy, stressed, or not at the races – scrap the plan and just freestyle.

…or at least back off a bit.

You’ll never regret doing a training session, but some days you need to temper them a bit.

If you’re due to do sets of 12 at 60%, hit sets of 5, or drop the load back to 30-40%.

If you’re due a hard tempo run, just get out and freestyle.

The only caveat is that if it’s a recurring theme in your life (say more than once or twice a month) then you need to look at the OTHER factors that could be contributing.

#1 – AM I EATING ENOUGH?
Sleeping and eating are the biggest factor you’ll experience in the recovery triangle. If you’re not eating enough to recover, you will be tired.

Sometimes, like when you’re dieting hard, you won’t be eating enough to fully recover. Once that’s an intentional thing you’ve made a commitment to do and track, that’s ok. It shouldn’t be an all the time thing.

One of the reasons why we’ve began to emphasize the importance of tracking food to all our members is because without knowing where you’re ACTUALLY at, you’re just guessing. And while there’s nothing wrong with eating any amount of calories in theory, there is a problem if you’re not aware of it and it’s effecting you negatively.

(that could be “mystery” weight gain, or extreme levels of fatigue)

#2 – AM I RECOVERING ENOUGH?
I don’t think I know ANYONE that sleeps enough.

Concentration, memory, physical strength, recovery, hormonal profiles and a whole host of other crucial bodily functions are dictated by sleep.

Take a guy and force him to sleep less than 6 hours a night for 6 days, and by the 7th day he’s operating on a mental level as if he had not slept at all the night before. For real. It’s science.

I don’t need to write an entire blog post on it tho, because Eamon over at Lovett Nutrition has already created a smashing one here:

http://lovettnutrition.ie/sleep-hygiene/

#3 – IS THE TRAINING TOO HARD?
Sarah, my beautiful, loving, caring girlfriend, Sarah – I’m talking DIRECTLY to you now. Maybe the training is too hard for the amount of recovery you have to give?

For Sarah, I know how much she sleeps (like me – hit and miss), I know how much she eats (not enough) and I know the stress that’s involved in running a business (varies from “zero” to “elephant sitting on your chest”). And I know that while we train really hard at RevFit, sometimes the training is just too hard.

(…all I’m saying is that it’s “TOO HARD” if you’re not recovering sufficiently, for whatever reason)

So, in that situation you need to change something – and if you can’t move the recovery factors, you need to move the training load and volume.

#4- HAVE I CHECKED AND CONFIRMED MY MOTIVATIONS?
If you can check off all of the proceeding boxes and you know you’ve got them in check, then maybe you just don’t care about what you’re doing, or you’re not motivated by it.

Maybe the reason you started isn’t the reason you want to keep going.

And perhaps instead of giving up you need to set some new goals over the next 4-6 weeks and look to them for motivation.

Many of our clients start training to lose weight – and after 3-6 months they’ve lost A LOT of it. But that comes as a result of working hard, eating right and being mindful of the things they do most days. It can get VERY fatiguing mentally doing that.

Maybe instead of worrying about continuing to lose weigh, you reset your calories and seek to maintain your current weight for a while and continuing to get stronger. You’ll get to train harder, recover faster and just feel better in general.

THen, after a month or two once you’ve “got back to normal” you can go again at the weight loss and smash out the last few kgs.

Just some things for you to think about today 🙂
TL;DR – expect to feel like crud if stress is high, you’re not eating enough and you’re not sleeping 7-8 hours a night. In that situation of continued low motivation to train, you need to do a frank and honest assessment of 4 things – food, sleep, training, motivating factors

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.