Fearless Fitness CHALLENGE of the week: Survival Day. Whats your strategy?

In my book there are three “types” of workout days. 

First: The TRAINING Day. This is the day you jump out of bed ready to rock. Your legs feel light and swift. You fly through your workout and want more at the end of it. Nothing holds you back. Your fast, strong, focused, and confident. These days are few and far between. They are the reason you train. To feel like a million bucks and  blast past limits. ENJOY every second and take advantage of it. Set NEW records and appreciate every moment!

Second: The “maintenance” day. You come – you train – you leave. Pretty typical really. Most of our workouts fall in the maintenance category. Nothing to call home about – but still a good workout.

Third: The “SURVIVAL” day. There are days where no matter what… working out is WORK. Negative thoughts cloud your brain and your body feels like it weighs 10000 pounds.

Reality is, not every workout is going to be great. So do you make it through a survival workout and live to see another training day? Here are my top training strategies to use to shake the tension OFF during a workout and come out smiling.

Caroline’s Survival Day Strategies:

Remember Your Goals. Deciding between the remote control and your training shoes? It isn’t easy to get our the door without a clear reason to workout. If you can’t answer, “Why am I doing this?” you wont last long. Keep your goals and reasons you train written down on paper. LOOK at them anytime you need to remember why working out is WORTH IT to you. Whether its to reduce stress, connect with friends, compete in a race, or look hot in jeans – remember your goals next time you are struggling.

Be Flexible. You have to be organized in order to bu successful at several things. By scheduling your workout for a specific time, you arm yourself with the necessary energy to get through it. Be prepared with a backup plan if something unexpected comes up. If work demands that you stay later than expected, go for a shorter workout session. If a sick child leaves you stuck at home, work on your stretching, strength training, or sweat through one of my at home fitness routines. It’s ok for your daily structure to be flexible from one day to the next. The important part is that you get in some MOVEMENT!

Call a Friend. When you’re working out alone, it’s all to easy to end up ruminating about stressful work emails or drama with your spouse. That takes ALL the fun out of it. The social nature of working out with other people gives you a mental timeout. A positive social circle helps foster motivation and a great commitment to exercise, compared with going at it alone. Keep the numbers of some of your fellow workout buddies on speed dial and dont think twice to call one or two of them spur of the moment. Chances are, they’re having a rough day too and would love the camaraderie of working out with you. Or step inside the studio and let the group fitness community help motivate you. The energy and new moves will break you out of your rut and distract you from looking constantly at the clock.

Pick It Up. Theres nothing like a few hard intervals to get rid of the day’s stress. Pick it up with a few sets of sprints or HIIT drills. Before you know it, you wont remember you were having a survival day in the first place!

Go a New Way. You want to be present in your workout – not still stuck at your desk in your mind. Choose a new route for your run or find a fun group fitness class to help you get your mind in the moment. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT and pull your focus away from a negative mindset.

Dial it DOWN. If your mind is completely zapped, don’t force a demanding workout. Instead, go out for an easy 20 minutes and just move your body. Don’t push it, loosen up your legs, take deep breaths, go easy. BE NICE TO YOURSELF and at the end of your workout remember – anything is better than nothing and you did a GREAT job just getting your body moving 🙂

See Your Best. Instead of focusing on stress, use your workout to picture the athlete you want to be. Pay attention to your form and breathing.

Turn on the Tunes. A long line of research shows that music can be a big exercise motivator. A study published by the Journal of Sport Behavior, found that on top of helping athletes work harder, music also reduced perceived exertion. Tap into the benefits of music before your workouts to help you get your mind right before you start. Listen to your ipod while you answer those last few emails at work or turn on your favorite cd on your way to the gym. You’ll be more likely to lace up your shoes and get started.

Manage the Moment. Negative thoughts snowball into more negative thoughts. We talk about this a LOT during my classes. Dont tolerate negative thoughts in your workouts and begin the downward spiral. STOP negative thoughts before they get you into a serious rut. How do you do that? Silence the internal debate and “manage the moment”  with a power word or mantra. Choose a positive word or phrase to REPEAT over and over  to SILENCE negative thoughts. Here’s one of my favorite workout mantras: “I am SO proud of myself right now”. This works for me because it reminds me  to be proud of myself for working out EVEN when having a rough day. Instead on focusing on the tired, guilty, frustrated, or stressed thoughts,  I SHIFT my focus and APPRECIATE the moment. Movement IS a gift and often we forget how lucky we are to have it. When faced with a survival day – focus on gratitude, appreciate your body’s ability just to GET OUT THERE, and be proud of yourself for making the BEST of it. This technique has helped me  through many rocky runs or get through a cold swim. I’ve come out alive…. and I’m still smiling 🙂

Fearless Fitness Challenge Of the Week: POWER WORDS. 

Watch THIS video and get your CHALLENGE of the week!

WRITE a comment at the end of this post with your power word or workout mantra. I will take all of your comments and create a WINNING WORD workout list to publish on the blog. You’ll have an entire set of words you can pull out next time a survival day hits.

Together we INSPIRE each other to be stronger athletes – mentally AND physically. Your words will help someone else think POSITIVE when training.

DO IT. DO IT NOW. Share your power word and help each other grow stronger. Im excited to read all of your challenge comments this week and cant wait to pull out some of your winning workout mantras in my next training session or class. Together we will reach NEW limits!

Keep up the great work and Ill see you soon for another AWESOME workout!

Caroline

Other things to Check Out This Week:

9 thoughts on “Fearless Fitness CHALLENGE of the week: Survival Day. Whats your strategy?

  • By Natalie Russell - Reply

    When I broke up with my boyfriend in February, I was looking for a mantra not just to get me through my workout, but to get me through basically everything. What I found was this: I am a tower of strength and vitality.
    I found myself repeating this mantra throughout the day: in the shower, at the gym, at work, before I went to bed, etc. Luckily, some time has passed, and I find I no longer need this mantra to get through every second of the day, but I definitely continue to use this on my survival days while working out!
    Thanks for another great blog post, Caroline!

  • By Debbie Gluskin - Reply

    “YOU ARE STRONG~! ” I got my power mantra from you in Spin Class and I still “hear” you when I am struggling in a work out today – these 3 words get me through to the next level and help me go go go. Thank you Caroline for being there with me in spirit!

  • By kristinerunningonhungry - Reply

    I LOVE this!! Definitely utilizing each and every one of these tips!

    So sorry I couldn’t make spin on Friday – work stuff came up 🙁 BUT I’m making it work this coming week!

    Also – I mayyyyy be signing up for a full marathon (I also may be losing my mind but that’s a different story) 😉

  • By Joanna - Reply

    My big thing when I’m struggling is to say YOU ARE STRONG! But I also get through really difficult trainings by saying to myself “it is just 10 ( or however many) minutes. You can do ANYTHING for 10 minutes…ANYTHING!”

  • By Ellinor - Reply

    Great post! I don’t have a mantra per se, but I remind myself that not every day has to be stellar, and that on a particularly tough day I should be happy with being present and getting SOMETHING out of the workout! Giving myself permission to be successful on a lesser level still leads to a satisfying experience.

  • By Kate - Reply

    Great post Caroline. My mantra has always been “You can do it!” It started when I was really young and came from my Mom. She would always say this to me before my swim meets, that coupled with “Swim like a fish!” So when I’m working out and feeling sluggish or feel like giving up, I think to myself, “You can do it!”, and I visualize my mom cheering me on. Hope this helps someone on a cold SF morning, while they are lying in bed deciding whether or not to get out and run, swim or walk… “You can do it!”

    • By carichic - Reply

      awesome kate 🙂 thank you so much for your comment! ill be thinking “you can do it!” today in the pool!! hope to see you soon 🙂

  • By David Barry - Reply

    “I will be back tomorrow, and better than today .”

    It’s ok to listen to your body.

  • By Kateri McLucas - Reply

    My power word as of late has been simply “MARATHON.” I always enjoy working out but have trouble truly pushing myself to my limit unless there is a specific goal on the horizon. I recently signed up for my first full marathon (in October) and reminding myself of this goal always keeps me in check, pushing me to go faster/longer/stronger (whether I am on a run, spinning, or strength training)!

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