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Read this to suck less part 4: Avoiding the Abyss

What is the Abyss? The abyss is the dark, lonely, and isolated existence that a people find themselves in when they suddenly stop training. People stop training for many different reasons. Maybe they got injured, maybe they were a competitive athlete and they couldn’t perform as well as they used to, maybe they got burned out, or maybe they had some life events occur that made getting training in more difficult. Whatever the reason, the abyss is not a place you want to be. Let’s look at how you can avoid it:

Something is better than nothing

Recently a member of our gym had a child and, understandably, had to put training on the back burner for a bit. But he still gets up early in the morning before anyone else and gets some cardio in and comes in on the weekends to train. While he may not be getting four full training days in like he was before, he’s getting in what he can so that it’s a much easier transition once life settles back down. When crazy life stuff happens, it’s not forever. Make the best with what you can and remember that something is better than nothing.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t

Many times lifters get frustrated when an injury occurs or their body just won’t perform like it used to. They focus on the negative and get in their head that if they can’t do it the way they want or use to they just won’t do it at all. This is a terrible way to view things. There is always something you can improve on, something you can work towards, something that you can do to push yourself. There are countless examples of veteran amputees who find ways to work around their injuries. You have to focus on the positive and find ways to get it done, work through your problem and figure out a solution. If one side is hurt, work the other side. If both arms are messed up, train your legs. If your legs and arms are destroyed, train your core. There is something you CAN do so focus on that, not what you can’t.

Turn the volume down

Many of the folks that train at NBS Fitness are people who compete in different strength and fitness sports, they are people who push themselves mentally and physically and in doing so place a lot of stress on themselves, mentally as well as physically. This can lead to a period of “burn out” where they just don’t feel like pushing themselves to that level any more. When this happens, it’s important to take step back and allow your body some time to recover and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, more often than not lifters will just take time off completely. If too much time is taken off, a lifter can find themselves in a place where they have lost their training habits and much of their fitness levels. Then getting back into the swing of things is even more difficult because they haven’t trained in a couple weeks, month, or years. Exercise has many positive effects on the brain including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release. This helps improve cognitive function and elevates your mood. That is why I call the state of non training the Abyss. Not only does it have negative consequences on you physically but it also has negative consequences on you mentally and emotionally. I wouldn’t recommend more than a week off of exercise for the majority of people suffering from burn out. Instead just turn it down a bit. Drop down a training day, drop your volume, drop your intensity or try a new form of exercise. All of these are better options than falling into the abyss.

Read this to suck less part 1: Mental Toughness

Read this to suck less part 2: Hearing the things you don’t want to hear

Read this to suck less part 3: How to choose the correct exercises

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