You’re having a shitty workout.
You don’t want to be in the gym. Everything feels god-awfully heavy. You’re just going through the motions, counting down the sets until you can leave.
I have shitty workouts too, sometimes every week. Sometimes twice. Every once in a while, I have to slog through a whole run of bad workouts, like I’ve got some kind of low-grade kryptonite poisoning and every session is just sweaty grunting without aim or purpose.
Again, it happens.
Problem is, these days, these fucking days, I tell you — they really can be suffocating, can’t they? Suck the life right out of you.
Well, here’s the first thing that you need to know:
Bad workouts, like bad days at work, home, or the proctologist, are normal. They’re just part of the game, the warp and woof of what we do.
In fact, working out is supposed to be hard. That’s the point. Easy things are boring things, like shaving our genitals or thumb wrestling. Those are perfectly fine things to do, but they’re not going to amount to much. Porno nuts have never helped anyone summit Maslow’s pyramid.
Working out — and building your best body ever — isn’t manscaping. It’s not bagging groceries, even though it can feel that way sometimes.
Consider: the act of transforming your body composition is so much more than merely building muscle or losing fat — it’s you SACRIFICING WHO YOU ARE FOR WHO YOU WANT TO BE and then using iron and steel to beat your new form into being. Forging a new you is heat and fire, hammer and anvil, lightning and thunder, not changing your underwear or cutting your nails. It’s a mystical, mystifying, and mythological act.
So yeah, sometimes it’s hard. Hard as hell. Sometimes you have to leave some blood on the altar.
As it should be. As it must be.
Woe is he who believes that things that don’t come naturally and easily aren’t worth doing or aren’t meant to be done at all. We see this all the time. Person tries something new, person flounders, and person immediately brands himself a failure and quits. Back to fondling himself and arguing with strangers on Twitter he goes because he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that nothing meaningful happens automagically — that everything takes way more time, effort, and grit than we want to believe at the outset.
Alice in Wonderland had it right: we have to run as fast as we can just to stay in place, and twice as fast as that to go anywhere. This is just how it goes.
The fact that it’s hard isn’t a sign that it’s probably not worth it.
The struggle is the point. The struggle is how it signals its worth.
The fact that it’s hard isn’t a sign that you don’t belong in the arena.
The struggle is how you prove you’re worthy.
Everybody playing the transformation game struggles, too. It’s hard for me just as it’s hard for you and has been hard for everyone that has ever lived.
It takes work. Unconscionable amounts of unholy, and sometimes unbearable, work.
Building the body of your dreams isn’t hard in the same way other work is hard, though. Nobody’s gunning for you. You’re not wrestling alligators or jacking off horses. When you look at it that way, it’s actually pretty easy. But it’s also hard, and that’s okay. We shouldn’t discount what it takes and what it means. It takes resilience. It takes sacrifice. It takes the courage to stop giving so many fucks about things that aren’t fuckworthy. And it teaches an invaluable lesson: if you have the power to change your body, then you have the power to change your life.
Remember all of that when you’re having a bad day in the gym, a harder-than-hell workout.
Remember too that sometimes the hardest work moves the needle the most. Sometimes it’s on these days that you break through, physiologically or even psychologically. You never know. So don’t let that stop you. Just put your head down and charge back into the breach.
And remember that no obstacles in your journey are too towering or thorny unless you say they are. There’s nothing that can’t be overcome with enough perseverance.
So, when you’re having a hard day of training, train anyway.
Do it because it’s hard.
Don’t let one bad day rob you of the days that will follow. Days that might be hard, too. Harder, even. Who knows. Who cares. It’s supposed to be difficult. You’re smithing a new body, a new mindset, a new identity. Why should that be easy?
It is what it is. It is what it must be.