5 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Motivation
We’ve slogged through half of this hot and humid July, and it has been brutal – the sun feels like it could melt your skin, it’s muggy and gross even at 5AM, and what’s with those little black gnats that keep getting caught in the sweat on our arms and legs? Training in the summer can be a monumental task and it’s easy to fall into a slump, but I’ve got 5 ways to help you rejuvenate your motivation and get back out there to kick some butt!
For those of us that periodize our training year-round, we really hit the outside workouts in April and are now three months into our building and peaking season. Waking up still a little sore from that last workout, needing to snooze that alarm a few times, and feeling ravenous and maybe a bit more cranky than usual are all signs that you have been training hard. And while the finish line may be in sight, it’s impossible to feel ready to rock every workout.
There’s great news though! There are ways you can revitalize your energy and start feeling really good again right now!
Tip #1 – Take 2 to 3 days completely off training. Yes, you read that correctly. “But Coach” I hear you say, “Won’t I lose fitness?” Ironically, no. You can hit your training hard, and stick to your diet plan perfectly, but if you don’t apply that same diligence to your rest, you will run out of gas. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean it’s time to clean out the garage, pull stumps out of the yard, or rotate the tires on your car – it’s time to relax. So please, with my blessing, take 2 to 3 days off and rest up. During this time, eat to support your daily energy requirement, go to bed early, take naps, stay hydrated, feel free to foam roll and do some mobility work, but take it easy. You will come back recharged.
Tip #2 – Add more Omega 3s to your diet by eating cold water wild-caught salmon and other fish. The Omega 3s help reduce inflammation, and they can really boost your brain activity and help clear up some of that mid-day brain fog and slump that happens. When you are less brain-fuzzed, you’ll have more energy for your next workout.
Tip #3 – Keep at least 5-6 hours between workouts. While there are great benefits to completing a brick workout once a week, stacking workouts on three or four other days often leads to mediocre results. If you absolutely have to stack two workouts, keep them short and the quality high (click to see an example of a high quality stacked workout). Otherwise, respect the purpose and desired adaptation for each workout, and complete them with enough time for your body to recover in between.
Tip #4 – Take naps (my favorite!). They can be 20 minute cat naps, or full blown two to three hour sack outs on the weekends. During the week, a quick cat nap after lunch can completely recharge your brain, giving you more energy and making you ready for the rest of the day. It may take a few tries to get used to taking naps, but your work and workout productivity will start to soar with this new practice. If naps end up affecting your nightly sleep, then try taking them earlier in the day or investigating why you’re not sleeping soundly. It could be a sign of chronic overtraining.
Tip #5 – Complete 2-5 Minutes of Meditation. Athletes benefit from daily meditation because it helps improve your focus, and aids in visualization of goal attainment. Those that meditate proclaim the powers of it are extraordinary for their brains, so how can you get those benefits without sitting for twenty minutes twice a day? An app called Stop, Breathe & Think provides a great alternative for athletes. It’s free for the basic version on iPhone, and the 3 minute Mindful Breathing session is perfect to start with. Finding three minutes a day to listen with headphones to this app with eyes closed can really increase feelings of calm, control, motivation, and relaxation. If you don’t believe me, then try it. I mean, you’ll only lose three minutes proving me “wrong”.
It may seem crazy, but taking time to let our bodies and our brains recover and giving them what they need with rest could be just the ticket that will help you feel more motivated for your next workout, and enable you to take your strength and performance to the next level.