I’m pretty much as consistent as can be when it comes to getting in workouts. Four times a week in the gym, specific and progressive program, autopilot, but fun.
Still, sometimes, I burn out. It’s usually more mentally than anything else, but no matter. Point is, I don’t want to go. Some days, some weeks, it doesn’t really matter how structured and done-for-me the program is, how easy I’ve made it for myself to get to the gym, how much time I have available in my schedule – it doesn’t feel doable.
I suspect I’m not alone there.
Well, I know I’m not.
I’ve got a fantastic client right now (all my clients are fantastic, to be clear) who has taught me a thing or two about how to move through those weary days. They, too, have been consistent for almost two years now. Making it to the gym regularly, walking the dog every day, focusing as best as possible on incremental daily habits.
But sometimes, they go through periods where work is totally out of control and all-consuming. They have times when family and partner conflict is overwhelming. They experience emotional burnout from too much social stimulation. On top of it, they deal with some chronic illnesses and annoying recurring injuries.
We all have our stuff.
Managing a lot of that stuff and still wanting to put appropriate focus and energy into physical and lifting goals was a big reason why they reached out to me in the first place. Together, this client and I have gotten their program down to exactly what they want. It’s challenging, it fits in their schedule, it progresses appropriately and gets them the results they want. It’s smart to have support and guidance as a foundation. It’s just that it doesn’t always solve all your problems, all the time.
This particular client is great at keeping workout notes. (That has such a special place in my heart, by the way.) I read and respond every day, and I noticed several weeks ago that they happened to be having a down week. I could tell they were feeling frustrated with effort and energy, with stuff outside the gym affecting stuff inside the gym. I could also tell they were doing a really good job of using all the mindset and practical tools we had cultivated over the years. Their notes were a great journey through the process, and in particular this, on one of the toughest days:
“I just asked myself, what feels doable today?”
Such a fabulous way to get in tune with yourself and your body and what you’re ready for and capable of in this situation, on this day. There’s a ton of value in this question, in this examination of your present moment.
Especially when it comes to fitness and workout routines, we tend to have a skewed vision of what it all has to look like. That we have to do the program or the workout as written, all the time, every time. That we have to move for a certain amount of time in order to see results. Or do a certain type of exercise a certain amount. We’ve somehow started operating under the assumption that there’s no flexibility whatsoever in how we approach fitness and movement, it’s black or white, all or nothing.
As if we have no say, no autonomy, in this.
OK, let’s be totally clear that those assumptions are pretty damaging. Not a great way to be walking through this. And probably not the best way to make your way toward what you really envision for yourself. So what if you changed your assumptions? What if, in fact, you allowed your assumptions to change as needed? What if the assumption became that you always have a say?
What if the assumption was that you always have the freedom to match your doable?
Probably pretty life changing. So start with getting in touch with what’s doable, for you. Especially on the weary days.
It’s often a lot easier, I know, to just do what someone else is telling you is doable. I think we can all agree, though, that that’s often what leads to injuries and burnout and quitting and resentment toward exercise and a generally crappy cycle of trying to figure out something else…again. So maybe consider incorporating that guidance or training program or studio class or whatever with the “what feels doable today?” question. Combine those things and see what happens. Pay attention to how you feel. I bet it’s going to be something along the lines of better, more at ease, satisfied. Especially on the weary days.
I chose those words because I’ve stared using “what’s doable today?” question recently too, and it’s been a long while since I’ve felt frustrated and burned out. I think about my priorities, I reflect on how I’m feeling – physically, mentally, and emotionally, I take a look at my schedule, my plan, and I make a decision about what’s doable. Even if it’s not exactly what I thought it would be when I set out, it always leaves me feeling better, more at ease, and satisfied. And that stuff is totally the good stuff.
Start asking yourself what feels doable.
Seriously, try it today. And really, how great is this question for, like, everything?!? Yeah, of course it’s fantastic for workouts and gym time and deciding whether you’re going to head down to the basement to your treadmill and for how long. But it’s such a brilliant gauge for all the other pressures we feel in our lives too. Keep this one in your pocket.
Most importantly, take your own advice to heart. When you answer this question, trust that answer, trust yourself. It’s certainly not doable if you don’t let it be.
If you’re struggling to find your way to any sense of doable fitness, I’ve got one open online spot and a few in-person right now. We can figure out your foundation, I promise. Email me if you wanna talk.
Oh, and if you want some fun basics to play with? Start here for some FREE fun and pumpy workouts, straight to your inbox.