Does this sound familiar?
You wake up on a Monday morning, and don’t really feel like going to the gym. You have a busy week of work ahead of you, and could benefit from getting a head start by going straight to the office.
Your kids kept you up last night, and now they need you to make them breakfast and get them ready for school. You could squeeze in a workout, but you barely have enough energy to get through the day, and adding in an intense workout seems nearly impossible.
It’s the middle of the holidays and life feels out of control. You barely have a minute to yourself, let alone an hour or more to get to the gym for a workout. You have family in town, parties to attend, travel schedules to coordinate, and most of your holiday shopping left unfinished. You know a workout will make you feel better, but you can’t seem to muster up the motivation and time to get there.
You’re sore as hell from yesterday’s workout and a little sleepy from the glass (or four) of wine you had at last night’s holiday party. You told yourself last night that you would workout, but now it’s the last thing you want to do. You think about all the energy it’s going to take to get out of bed, brush your teeth, find your workout clothes, and drive to the gym, and staying in bed seems like a much easier and more convenient choice.
If any or all of these situations sound familiar, you are not alone.
There are days that I don’t feel like working out, and I would be willing to bet that everybody has these doubts on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
As much as I love CrossFit Palm Beach; the people, the workouts, the facility, and everything about it, there’s days where I wake up and “don’t feel like working out” or “don’t have enough time to workout”. There are days where I dread the warm up, there are days when I want to sleep in, there are days that I’m too sore, and there are days that I don’t feel like running or snatching or doing even a single burpee.
Whenever I am experiencing one of those days, I have to remind myself of a simple phrase…
“Just Show Up”
“Just show up, and I promise you will feel better.”
“Just show up, and you will get a boost of energy that will carry you through the rest of the day.”
“Just show up, and you will feel superhuman when you walk out of those doors.”
“Just show up, and the most important part of your day is already taken care of. The rest will feel easy.”
This simple phrase can pack a powerful punch for getting your butt in the gym, without allowing yourself to indulge in all the miscellaneous to-dos that are required to get you there.
That’s the beauty of CrossFit, it is literally designed for the person who “just wants to show up” every day. You don’t have to worry about the warm up, what workout you will be doing that day, how long the class will take, or whether or not this program has the ability to get you in shape or not. CrossFit works. In fact, it works better than any other exercise program on the planet (I have found) for getting you lean, strong, and a balanced overall fitness. When you just show up, when you decide to walk through those doors, 90% of the work is already done for you. The workout is programmed for you, the coaches will get you warmed up and ready to go, your fellow members will get you excited, keep you accountable, and inspire you to get just one more rep at the end of your workout. This just isn’t true at a traditional gym like a Gold’s Gym or LA Fitness, and therefore, “just showing up” loses some of its power.
To make this phrase even more powerful, I find it helps to do some thinking and planning in advance. Instead of just saying “I should go to the gym 5 days per week”, I recommend planning the exact days and times that you are committed to going to no matter what. When I look at our CrossFit Palm Beach members that are the most successful, the decision of whether or not to go to the gym on certain days is decided weeks and months in advance.
On the extreme end, we have people like Steve who shows up every day, 7 days per week, no matter what. He never has to decide whether or not he will go to the gym that day because the answer for him is always yes. While physically this can be difficult to pull off, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend this routine for most, it’s important to note how easy this is from a mental standpoint. All the heavy mental lifting is done ahead of time and now all he has to is “just show up”.
On a more reasonable side, we have an athlete like Keith. Every afternoon, Monday through Friday, Keith has his calendar blocked out from 3:30 pm to 5 pm for “personal time”. Our coaches can count on Keith being at the gym by 3:45 each day ready to take on the 4 pm class.
That’s not to say that both of these individuals are 100% perfect with their attendance, although Steve is close, but more often than not they will be there. And if they miss a day here and there, you can count on them “just showing up” the next day.
But if getting in ridiculously good shape is as simple as “just showing up”, then why don’t more people do it?
Two of the biggest roadblocks I see that hold people back are 1) waiting for the perfect time to get started and 2) over-committing to too much, too soon, and these two things work hand-in-hand to sabotage your success.
At this time of year, most people are putting off any type of new health and body-related goals until the start of January. By then, the holidays will be over, you will be sick of eating and drinking so much junk, and you will be inspired by the hope and promise of a new year. It is the “perfect time” to get started for most. But if you are waiting for January 1st to get started, or get back on track, then I think you are making a huge mistake.
In fact, I purposely am posting this now because I believe that now is the “perfect time” to get started. See when most people think of the perfect time to get started, they think of the time that their routine will be set, there won’t be any more parties to attend, and they will have plenty of time to commit to a new workout schedule.
But I believe the opposite is true. Because if you do what most people do and wait until the perfect time (assuming it actually comes), then what happens when it’s no longer the perfect time? What happens when circumstances change? What happens when the next baby comes? What happens when you enter your busy season at work again? What happens when you go on your next vacation? What happens when next year’s holiday season rolls around again?
Here’s the thing we all need to realize about the perfect time. The perfect time is not perfect because it lets you get away with over-committing yourself to more than you can handle in the long run. It allows you to focus on the MAXIMUM amount of stuff you could be doing, instead of focusing on the critical few steps that will have the greatest impact. You go from not running at all, to committing to 20 miles per week. You go from working out once a month, to saying you will work out 5 days per week. Screw it. Why not just do both? Two-a-days will certainly help to make up for all those years and months you missed, right?
Like a business that starts in a booming economy, you spend all your cash and then wonder what happened when times get tough. And while I certainly can admire the effort it takes to get yourself to run 20 miles/week or go to the gym 5 times/week when you have been barely working out at all, this just isn’t sustainable for most people who are just starting out.
Having a limited amount of time or energy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Going back to our business example, some of the greatest companies this world has ever seen (Apple, Microsoft, FedEx, General Electric) started in times of our history that could be deemed as times of depression, of economic scarcity. These limitations force you to narrow your focus to the few areas of your body and your life that are the most important.
I want you to be like one of those great businesses that starts in times of depression and scarcity. Chances are you are in a period of your year where time is scarce, and bad health choices are abundant. You can use this to your advantage. You can use this to figure out the few critical actions that will allow you to achieve and maintain the body you have always wanted forever. You can use this to develop a routine that you know you can stick with even in the toughest times.
So what exactly should that routine look like? For most people, it is as simple as showing up to the gym 3-4 days per week, every week, no matter what. If you are just starting out, start with 3 days exactly, no more, no less. If you are doing something as intense and effective as CrossFit, you will see results or at least minimize the damage of the holidays, if you can “just show up” 3 days per week, every week. And don’t just blindly hope that you will make it in 3 days per week, but actually schedule the exact days and times that you plan to come in.
If you make a deal with yourself that you will go every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 am, then most of the hard work is already done for you. Put it on your calendar. Tell your workout partner, your coach, or a friend in class that you will definitely be there on those days and times. That way when it comes time to decide whether or not you will go, you know the decision has already been made.
You no longer even consider the fact that you are busy at work, or that you’re too sore, or that you may have drank too much last night. You don’t care what the workout is that day, and anything involving the kids can surely wait another hour. Because you know that if you “just show up”, it will give you the energy and clarity you need to take on the rest of your day, and put you one step closer to getting into the best shape of your life.
Take some time today to commit to a workout schedule for the next 2 weeks until the end of 2015. This will end up being your minimum commitment for 2016 and will give you the habits you need to get through the good times and bad times. And don’t forget to join us for our Superhuman 40 Challenge launching again in early January.