Earn Your Day Off

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that the highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.
— Teddy Roosevelt
Jacksonville Personal Trainer.  Jacksonville Small Group Training.  Jacksonville Fitness

I grew up in a town where most kids played football.  It was a much bigger sport than soccer.  Every Thanksgiving was the big grade school football game, The Turkey Bowl.  My grade school footballed against our rival grade school.  It was a huge deal. 

I suppose somewhere along the line they felt bad for us shin pad wearing actual football players and organized The Turkey Cup.  It was the same teams, only with a much smaller audience.  It became a tradition, and I think my team won a lot. 

Every time we would drive to the field my dad would say to me “Earn your turkey.” He was saying it half in jest and half as a way to positively motivate me.  It was a holiday, but that doesn’t mean it was a day off. The strategy worked.  I still use this trick to motivate myself.

If you were serious about your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get jacked or grow a third arm, you should be largely on your way to implementing the habits you need to see it through.  For most of you that means going to the gym on a regular basis.

The first step should have been to develop a plan.  It could be an intricate body building split where you work your chest and back every Monday, then move onto another group of muscles the next day.  It could be as simple as taking a Zumba class every Monday and Wednesday and then running on Friday.  Whatever your plan is, I hope you are taking it seriously and holding yourself to it.

No matter how well thought out a plan is, the implementation is very hard.  The thinking and writing it down is easy, the actual doing it is boring and sometimes painful.  It’s hard to keep up the intensity week after week, especially in the beginning and middle phases. 

The first couple months of your program or plan don’t matter.  They really don’t.  All that matters is that you show up often and work hard.  You should not be trying to create a perfect plan, you should be trying to create the perfect attitude to follow through on any plan.  You are in the process of earning the body that you want.  You are starting to earn the fitness level you desire.   You must get in the mindset that you earn everything good that comes to you in the gym.  You cannot wish larger arms into being.  You cannot hope your waist size shrinks and expect anything other than strife. 

This is a big picture item, and it is easy to lose sight of it during your daily toil and sweat.  However, there is a small picture immediate mindset that you need to keep in mind every time you enter the gym.

Earn your day off. 

This is my mindset.  I lift on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and a light session on Sunday.  That means I take Wednesday and Saturday off.  I have to earn those days off.  I have to work so hard during my sessions that my body needs time off.  If I come to Wednesday and my body is not fatigued I feel like I am shortchanging myself.  I know I am not working hard enough to achieve the state of fitness that I desire. 

This mental shift will help focus all your intensity on each session, or class, or Zumba.  Whatever it is, you need to do it well and do it with focus to see the results that you want.  All it takes is an hour of hard work to shock your body into changing.  All it takes is one thought to shock your brain into changing.

You can’t just go through the motions and expect good things to happen.  You have to actually work, you have to teach yourself to go past the point of comfort.  You can’t be scared of being tired, or failing.  The gym is your place to fail, it’s the only environment where all the variables are controlled.  At the start you should not expect a six pack, or 32 inch quads.  You should only expect to lay the foundation of hard work needed to achieve excellent future results.  Remember- habits are more important than wishes.