Feeling tired from work? Just show up.
Not sure you’ll hit your target weights? Just show up.
Tweaked your knee last time? Just show up.
Your usual lifting partner can’t make it? You can still show up.
You literally can’t even because you drank all the PSL’s lololol? JUST SHOW UP.
The simple act of getting to the gym may be one of the most common underlying good habits of lifters you look up to. These men and women who have become stronger and stronger over many years show up.
Change isn’t something we can expect to occur through prayer and wishes or inspirational Instagram posts; there need to be actionable steps. As much as you want to become stronger or change the way you look, nothing will happen if you don’t engage the process routinely. The first step of this process is walking through the gym door. This step becomes habit – it becomes elemental to the force that drives adaptation.
It’s simple: you can’t train if you don’t show up. It’s the most important component of any pre-workout blend.
Many of us tend to rely on the gym, or the squat cage in the garage, to be a place of solace and it typically lives up to these expectations. But just like there are great days which reinforce this comfort, there are also bad days in training which shake it. These bad days aren’t the fault of the gym and the fact that you still came in and did some work, even if things didn’t go as planned, strengthened your habit. Just let the gym be the place where you practice your habit. Make your habit unshakable, even if that means adjusting your expectations for now.
There are certainly times when you should probably let yourself of the hook. For example, don’t show up when you have Ebola. But for many other situations, rather than blowing off a whole training session, simply modify the session.
If you’re dealing with an injury, use the session to feel things out. Sometimes the aggravated area can feel better with the scheduled exercise at a reduced volume or intensity. If that’s a no-go, I bet there are one or two things you can still do, even if they aren’t typically in your program. Show up and try it out.
What if you’re not sure you’ll hit your target weights? TOO BAD. This is absolutely no excuse to do zero weights instead. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t hit your weights, but you certainly deserve a chance and you may even surprise yourself with a PR.
And on those days when spending two hours at the gym is just not something you can handle, go and do your warm-ups. Show up and do something you know you can handle. See what happens. Maybe you’ll be ready to do your worksets after you get through the first two empty bar sets. Often, these turn out to be great training days.
If you’re extremely short on time or one vacation, maybe you’ll have to modify quite a bit and revert to bodyweight exercises or running intervals, but at least you’re doing something regularly. When you return you’ll be less likely to delay “the comeback” and maybe have maintained some conditioning to make it less difficult.
Literally stepping into the gym routinely, especially on days when you do not want to, may be the simplest thing you can do establish the pathway for progress. You can bet you won’t regret it when you look back months and years from now.