It’s okay to fall: Off days

Having a bad day?

We humans aren’t invincible, as much as we want to be :(. There will be days where we won’t be up to our optimal performance, be it in fitness or even just in our daily activities. They can ruin our groove, destroy our momentum, and hold us back from reaching our true potential!

But fret not, because I, Jai, fitness extraordinaire and certified gym expert, will help you analyze this phenomenon so we can better tackle it the moment it shows its ugly face.

Disclaimer: Everything I’m about to say here is mostly anecdotal and I rarely have any legitimate sources backing  up what I say. These entries are purely from my experiences so take everything with a grain of salt.


First and foremost, let’s start by first defining what an “Off Day” is.

What is an Off Day?

Off Day
noun. 

  • A period where a person is not able to perform up to their normal capabilities. (May not be necessarily limited to a literal 24-hour period)
    • I usually squat 500lbs but now I’m only going to do bicep curls because it’s an off day for me.
    • She’s having an off day. Instead of following her scheduled run, she’s eating a tube of double stuf oreos.

Why do we have Off Days?

  • Finite Willpower
    • For the average person, their day is made up of making tons of decisions. This process of making choices uses up our willpower. And sadly, yourwillpower is not an infinite resource. As we go on through our day, we use up our willpower and when finally depleted, we are mentally fatigued. At this point, our decision-making system won’t be up to par and choosing between going to the gym or chilling in front of the computer would be a very difficult endeavor.
      choices And usually, impaired decision-making leads to us choosing the easier option, or the path with the least resistance, which is rarely working out or anything that takes a certain level of discipline.
  • Lack of Motivation
    • This next reason might also be related to willpower because it’s all about brain strength. When we don’t feel motivated to do something, we look at it as a bother or a chore. And unless we have a high level of discipline, we tend to find excuses not to do that thing. This can lead to us shrugging of the important things we need to be doing.
  • Stress
    • Another reason that’s linked to your mental capabilities is stress. Maybe you just got fired from your job or your ex dumped you for someone uglier. Whatever your reasons are, excessive stress can eat away at your willpower. We all handle stress on a daily basis, but there are just some days where it becomes overwhelming and we are left a haggard wreck at the end of the day.  Check out this article where it explains why when we feel mentally tired, our body can be physically tired as well.
  • Injuries
    • Probably the major physical reason why we get Off Days is because of injuries; either because we are injured, are recovering from injury, or trying to prevent injury. It’s pretty simple: when you’re not at your peak condition physically, don’t expect to perform at your best. Back hurts when jogging? Don’t expect a new Personal Record.
  • Victims of Circumstance
    • The last and probably most lax reason for an Off Day, sometimes the universe just conspires for us to not perform well. These are the “acts of God,” natural disasters, and things beyond our control. A car crashing into your gym? Sure, some people might not even flinch, but most people would surely have their programs impeded. Maybe your friends kidnapped you beyond your will to take you drinking, or maybe your barbell broke in half during your warm-up set. These things and more, generally lead to a lackluster performance.

Cool, cool, cool. Ayt, so what do we do when these Off Days happen to us?

What to do when Off Days happen to us.

  • Admit to yourself that you’re having one
    • The first step is always acceptance. Because if you’re still in denial, then you’ll never take the appropriate steps to improve. Sometimes, we just have to accept our situation, be humbled, and call an Off Day an Off Day.
  • Forgive yourself
    • The next step is to just forgive yourself. There’s no reward in moping around or feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, it’s better to just accept that an Off Day has happened, and that’s it. It’s one bad day. One bad day won’t ruin your whole journey. I don’t usually like thought catalog, but this article summarizes this point perfectly. Did you fail? Yes. Are you a failure? Hell no!
  • Identify the source
    • Now that you’ve accepted the Off Day and have forgiven yourself for having one, it’s time to figure out exactly why your day isn’t optimal. We’ve already listed the reasons above, and once you have identified it, it’s easier to find a solution.
      • Finite WillpowerDevelop habits. Habits lessen the choices you have to make. Less choices, more willpower for the important things.
      • Lack of MotivationMotivation will get you started, but discipline is what keeps you going.
      • StressThere are so many ways to de-stress. Find yours. For me, this has never been a problem because when I’m stressed, I end up doing something physical to let off some steam. So figure out what works for you.
      • InjuriesThis is the most difficult part to assess individually because all injuries are slightly different from each other. The best thing to do would be to go to the doctor and act accordingly.  The less rash decisions you make when injured, the sooner you can get back to your journey for that physical peak.
      • Victims of CircumstanceJust like the previous part, every circumstance is different, but it is up to you to respond to these situations. Learn to be flexible and how to adapt.  With every experience, try to take away a lesson that can be used in the future. The road to self-improvement is to not keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
  • Get back up
    • And finally, the most important thing to do in times of an Off Day. Keep in mind that Off Days won’t last forever. There is a rule of thumb that for every 5 workouts you do, there will be 1 amazing workout, 3 regular workouts, and 1  horrible workout. The key is to not stay down. I could insert all the motivational quotes I know about bouncing back from a negative situation but I think this short video  will do the trick. Remember, don’t let a small stumble in the road be the end of a journey. Bawi lang.

Get all of that? Good.

I hope this somehow helps you be more informed and well-prepared when the Off Days come. We can’t prevent them indefinitely, but it’s better to know how to navigate through a rough patch that always seems to come around.

So, I guess that’s it for now. Don’t be afraid of Off Days, embrace them! Because a smooth sea never made a good sailor.

-jgzn

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