I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to leave negativity out of my life. When I get caught up in negative thoughts, it often snowballs into guilt, self-deprecation and a large amount of stress. None of these things belong in my life. And it shouldn’t belong in yours either. I have noticed how hard we tend to be on ourselves when we miss a day at the gym. We overlook what we could have been doing with that time instead of turning to social media and publicly shaming ourselves. Instead of doing mental harm about missing the gym, make up for it with these more positive actions instead.
1. Core Work
Core work is something that can do every day and not need the gym or equipment to do so. Catching up on plank variations and isometric holds is an easy way to cancel out the guilt of missing a full strength workout at the gym. When you can’t laugh at this the next day without being feeling sore, it’s a good thing.
2. Recovery Work
An athletic trainer friend of mine always has to remind her clients that once an injury has occurred, it will always remain with you. The point she couldn’t stress enough is that physical therapy doesn’t end when sessions end. It is something that always must be done. So when the gym isn’t on the agenda for the day, remember there is always work to be done in the tiniest amount. So get back to those ankle alphabets and shoulder Ys and Ts if staying strong without setbacks is important (which it is!).
3. Flexibility/Stretch/Massage Work
The great thing about flexibility and stretch work is that it is an integral part of being well-rounded athlete. (More importantly keep injury away.) Load up a yoga or stretching routine from a favorite workout app. Grab that foam roller that is collecting dust in the corner and work out the kinks in those quads and calves. After all the wincing, yelping and swearing so loud that it scares the neighbors, the amount of relief and energy that will be felt after will make anyone forget a missed gym day.
4. Quality Time
There are times when my clients ask me for advice on their training plans, and after they give me the rundown of their jam-pack training schedule I often have to tell them to cancel a gym or training day to make room for quality time. The running joke with athletes is that their significant other/kids/cats/guinea pigs never see them and that if cats could attend games that would be the most time spent together in one sitting. There is always room for mentally recovering and keeping your life in balance. Once, when I pulled a practice off of a client’s weekly schedule she immediately responded with, “Oh! Now I can have date night!” That guy is now marrying her. (Related? Shrug. But I’d like to take credit for that.)
5. Treat Yo’Self (to sleep and a good meal)
Now it’s time to treat yo’self. None of that cheat meal nonsense. I am talking about that hour you missed at the gym that leaves you a wide-open opportunity to cook a real meal mid-week and sit down with actual utensils instead of standing over the sink eating out of Tupperware. And the time you cut out of traveling to the gym? Wind down early and hop in bed with a book or that significant other/cat/guinea pig and get some real lovin’ on. Everyone wins.