Listen to Your Body, But Don’t Make Excuses!

Every Late August and into September, I ditch all core training.

It’s not because I’ve trained the core super hard in June and July to look good on the beach and now need a break.

It’s because of this:

ragweed

No, this isn’t a marijuana plant that I harvest and get baked on and do nothing, that’s not why I stop training the core.

It’s because I’m really allergic to ragweed and I can’t stop sneezing. I always sneeze at least 3 times, sometimes up to 5 times, and if my allergies get really bad, I’ll repeat this vicious cycle of maximal abdominal contractions every couple of minutes.

This last Friday was particularly terrible, so bad that I felt mentally foggy, my body was tired, and I was all stuffy and puffy-eyed. And I missed my scheduled workout.

But here’s what I did instead, and what you can do the next time you feel like crap but you’ve got a training session scheduled:

I did my full warmup, because sometimes when I’m feeling a little low energy after a good warmup I’m ready to go.

Lesson #1 – If you’re on the fence about doing a workout, do your warmup
and make your decision about skipping the workout after.

After the warmup, I still felt like crap, but I wanted to keep going, so I started warming up on Back Squats, which was the first exercise in my session.

After 4 progressive warmup sets, I still felt like shit and knew that my performance would’ve been sub par. Physically I wasn’t that bad, but mentally the allergies + allergy medications exhausted me and I just didn’t feel like I could’ve lifted the amount of weight that I wanted to for that workout, so I threw in the towel.

Lesson #2 – Learn to listen to your body, but don’t
make lame excuses for missing workouts!

Now, because I knew that I was just mentally tired and I felt physically that I could do something, instead of doing my weight workout, which includes some CNS-demanding exercises like heavy Back Squats and Bent-over Rows, I figured I would just swap in my interval routine that I was supposed to do Saturday instead and just switch out.

So I got on my AirDyne and hit up my interval routine, and I felt like I pushed as hard as I could’ve without any allergies and felt like I had a great workout.

Now I could’ve just said, "Oh, I’m tired, I’m just gonna lounge around and nap" but I hate making excuses and I hate missing workouts, so based on the fact that my body was telling me that I was mentally tired, but physically I was pretty good, I performed a less-demanding CNS workout and felt great about it.

I mean, it doesn’t take much mental effort to push pedals on a bike really hard for 30 seconds, compared to trying to keep perfect form on a few sets of Back Squats with 275 lbs on your back, waiting to crush you.

Lesson #3 – Learn to differentiate between physical fatigue and mental (CNS) fatigue,
and then you can choose the best workout for your current state

 

So hopefully this can help to keep you on track and be flexible with your workout routine so that you can make the best of whatever state your body or mind is in at a given time.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear em – leave your comments below!

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ColinKalani NgEricBrian Cdrue moore Recent comment authors
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Kalani Ng

Aloha Eric, You have an awesome specialty here. M.M.A. is the greatest sport ever! Someone told me that stand up paddling is the fastest growing sport but I disagree. M.M.A’ has grown so much in the past decade and a half and it’s still growing. Thank you for your tips on listening to your body but not making excuses. Resting when you need it is so very important but you can always do something. There’s hardly ever a reason to do nothing. I teach a outdoor fitness boot camp and it’s so cool because some of my clients have come to class with an injury still wanting to do the workout. Rockstars! Im telling you. So I have to force them sometimes to rest what’s injured but they still want to do something. So we’ll get them doing something else and they push it like no bodies business and kick… Read more »

Eric
Eric

Yo dude that’s a monster warmup!

CNS = Central Nervous System

Kalani Ng

Exactly what I thought… “Da, I should have known that. Thanks

Eric
Eric

My dad did that and it helped him out… but I don’t know if that was just age… a lot of things just disappear overtime – especially 60 years…

I’m a little hesitant to get any shots, and I can live with this, I mean, it’s only 3 weeks or so and for the most part I can control it sans drugs…

Eric
Eric

Yeah man, chin wherever you can! I like to use trees, street lights, etc.

Eric
Eric

Hey Brian well to get all metaphysical and ‘out-there’ – then there is no such thing as ‘perfection’ and maybe the allergies that I’m experiencing are ‘perfect’ since everything that occurs in the universe is perfect??!!?#$!?

Anyway yeah maybe I’ll do an experiment and start training my brain right now so that next summer I’m allergy free… and maybe while I’m at it I’ll just add a couple inches to my height… j/k

But seriously yeah there’s no doubt that the mind is VERY powerful… I don’t believe it’s 100% of all the results meaning that you can just visualize your way to a UFC belt, but it’s another piece in the puzzle just like BJJ and S&C work…

Brian C
Brian C

Thanks for the tips. I myself am suffering from allergies, not as much anymore, somehow they have subsided over the past few years, even though it still gets to the point of utter annoyance. Mind you though, I seldom use meds anymore. But I know exactly what you’re going through, been there for years. The shots can be a good alternative. Here’s a tip…think of allergies as psychosomatic. Some dramatic event in the past has programmed your body to react this way to certain substances. What we need to do is re-program ourselves. I know, easier said than done, but it’s possible. However, this is not why I’m writing this comment. I used to notice that during the allergy seasons, during my workouts, a for a time after I was breathing freely and had no allergy attacks. You have even mentioned in your article above that while you pushed hard… Read more »

drue moore
drue moore

i like that idea of the pullups on the A part of the framing. And the whole workout very simple yet effective. NO equipment needed NEN, like that to. Thanks for continuing to bring us cool and sometimes unusual ideas.

benny nguyen
benny nguyen

Allergy shots! Only way to go. Pain in the ass time-wise, but once you’re on maintenance (once a month), life is bearable during the worst time(s) of the year. Thanks for the good tips on training and getting off the couch.

Colin
Colin

Unfortunately, allergy shots do not work for everyone. I was getting them once a month for several years and I was consistently sick. Then I missed a month..and started noticing a difference right away. Then I just stopped getting them all together and I was extremely healthy. I’m sure my case is VERY rare but it does happen.

Eric
Eric

Hey Colin good to note… There are a lot of people in the world opposed to any kind of vaccines for potential health risks…