How to deal with bad workouts

written by Philip Stefanov  |  JUNE 22, 2021

Over the years in the gym, I’ve learned something about training: bad workouts happen. And while I wish I had the right answer for why they occur, I don’t. Various factors affect our daily readiness, and sometimes we feel tired for no apparent reason.

I think the best answer I can give you is this:

Bad workouts are the price you have to pay for consistency. If you have enough workouts throughout the year, some are bound to be bad, and that’s okay.

Allow me to elaborate. This illustration represents a year of your life. This one represents the workouts you do throughout the year. Specifically, the colored boxes represent all of the workouts you have within that year. Greens are for your good workouts, yellows are for your average (neither great nor bad) workouts, and reds are for your bad workouts.

Under normal circumstances, when you allow yourself to recover well, you’ll have a few bad workouts and a few average ones. But the majority will be good. Over a year, that doesn’t look as bad.

With that said, here are some reasons why your last workout might have sucked:

  • You didn’t get enough sleep. Yes, sometimes even a single night of poor sleep can limit us.
  • You didn’t eat enough. Some folks can train fasted and still be okay. More power to them. But most people need some fuel in the tank if they want to optimize their performance at the gym.
  • You didn’t drink enough water. Mild dehydration can cause all sorts of adverse effects - headaches, lack of motivation, lack of focus, and general fatigue. Drink up.
  • You trained at a different time than usual. Over time, your body gets used to training at a particular time of the day (say, the evening). If you happen to train at a different time (say, noon), you could feel a bit ‘out of it.’

What’s most important is that you put your best foot forward and walk in the gym with confidence. A bad workout doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Don’t dwell on it.

Bad workouts are the price you have to pay for consistency.

Thank you for reading! Until next week,


P.S. How do you deal with bad workouts?


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