You’re in downward facing dog, sweating. Your grip isn’t great. You can’t focus on your breath. Everything is hurting and shaking. And you know that your form is terrible. Then comes this little thought, “Am I progressing?”
This is Buzz. A bug in your ear. (Shout out to those of you who’ve been here from the start).
Buzz is a little bee who loves to come buzzes into your ear with the troubles of the day. But that’s not all he does. Sometimes, he grabs pollen from your self-doubt and drops it in your ear. Poof! You’re thinking “Am I even progressing?
Which tumbles and snowballs into “I’m making no progress” which morphs into “I’m getting worse.”
So let’s break down the first statement bug drops off.
We all have bad days. Understanding that is the first step to flushing out the negativity pollen attached to Buzz’s legs. We have to recognize that because of various factors our body really might not perform as well. It might not be our imagination.
As frustrating as it is, realizing that we might not be imagining our lack of progress or the current struggle of today’s workout, it does help us. We can turn our attention to reasons why. And some have answers!
Let’s look at some of those questions you can ask yourself if you’ve realized you aren’t doing so great on the mat or during your workout.
- Have you slept well?
- Did you eat enough/too much/at the right time?
- Are you hydrated?
- Are you working consistently enough?
- Are you over-training?
The first three seem like common sense, right? Right. However, it’s really easy to forget how tired you are or that you had a restless night. I’m extremely guilty of this. I’ll wake up after a bad night and then within two hours…long enough to drink a ton of coffee…I’ve forgotten. Then I work out, my body doesn’t cooperate and Buzz comes flying in.
The way I’ve come to combat this is simple. As I approach my workout, I remind myself Hey, you’re tired. Take it easier. Now, that doesn’t mean I sandbag it. It does mean that I meet my edge but that I know today it might be sooner than other days.
The other problems are “stop your workout and fix it” problems. Have some waters, electrolytes, food. Or let your stomach settle because you can throw up. Easily.
But what about those last two? Aren’t those negative thoughts too?
Look, Buzz isn’t all bad though I definitely made him out to be that way at first. All he’s doing is getting his butt covered in pollen and bringing it to you. What you choose to do with that information is on you. Maybe…just maybe, you aren’t progressing at all.
And maybe it’s because you aren’t being consistent.
Maybe you aren’t making progress not because you’re tired but because you aren’t being consistent. In this case, Buzz dropping by is helping you realize that you need to put more effort and work into your yoga or workout.
So, ask yourself honestly, are you showing up consistently? Are you working out three to five times a week? Every week? Of course, everyone is different, but without a consistent schedule you won’t make progress and you might even get worse or injured.
Maybe it’s time to revise your schedule, add a day or increase your workout. Or maybe it’s time to be honest and get on the mat.
I tend to be on the other side of this, which we’ll get to in a minute, but I have been lazy in the past about working out. I always fix it by reminding myself of one thing, “Willpower needs to be exercised too”. This helps me understand that it’s going to be rough but that ultimately it’ll get easier, just like with a physical workout.
And what about the other one, training too much?
That’s my problem. I like to push, push, push and not stop unless I physically can’t move. That’s not ideal. So let’s ask ourselves, when was the last time we took time off?
For more than a day.
Whether we like it or not, our body needs to recover. I think that about twice a year it’s important to take a week off. Now, we shouldn’t be sitting on our butts for that week. Going for walks or light hikes or gently swimming is perfect. We just want to lower the intensity of the activity, change up activities, get a lot of sleep, and give our bodies rest.
A really good sign of over-training is a high resting heart rate and lowered performance even if you’ve eaten well, are hydrated, and slept enough.
I guess the bottom line is this: don’t beat yourself up.
If it’s one bad workout or even two or three, don’t worry about it. Let it go. Just like everything, there are cycles to working out. Your body has its own thing going on so give it some space. Don’t forget to let it recover. Sometimes we push our luck with how hard we’re training so please listen to your body.
But don’t get lazy. Not being consistent or pushing ourselves hard enough is a problem we’ll all face at some point. Don’t worry if you aren’t working hard enough, just work harder. Move exercise up the list of priorities.
Just don’t forget that you do this for your health and for fun. Progress is not a straight line. Enjoy the dips as well! It’s all part of the journey.