Try These 5 Tips to Overcome a Training Slump

Any person seeking to achieve a goal goes through a training slump from time to time. Successful trainees are not those who never experience a plateau, but those who learn to work through them.

In mid-December, when many people’s schedules pick up, and available excuses abound, set yourself apart by doing in December what most mere mortals wait until January to begin (and then quit by February). Here are some quick tips to keep things fresh and maintain your forward momentum:

Change of Scenery – Many of us have a particular setting for our training – the mat room, the CrossFit box, the pool, or the range. Sometimes changing the physical location of your training helps to shake you out of complacency. Over time, you can develop a list of alternate training sites to go to when your staple is feeling too stale.

Bonus tip – If you normally train indoors, try taking your training outside despite what the elements may throw at you. You’ll reap even more of a psychological benefit by conquering your natural environment in addition to meeting your training goals.

Answer the question “Why”? – When we are daily engaged in the “how” of accomplishing the goal through rigorous training, we can often forget about our original reason for deciding to pursue a goal in the first place. Take half of an hour. Go to a quiet place. Take a pen and a notebook. Write out why you thought the goal you are pursing was worth the effort in the first place. Imagine how things will be different and better once you’ve reached that goal. Write down a few practical consequences of what will happen if you abandon the goal.

Treat yourself to reward – Who doesn’t love trying out a new piece of equipment? If you’re a fighter, a new rash guard, a new set of mitts, or some other piece of gear often reignites a bit of excitement. If you’re a functional fitness athlete, buy a new kettlebell, or a new jump rope, or a higher-end set of weight plates. Be careful with this suggestion, though. Many posers rely upon this too heavily and become addicted to the new thing as a replacement for prolonged, difficult training instead of an enhancement of prolonged, difficult training.

Enlist allies – If you normally train alone or with 1 or 2 of the same people, you can derive extra motivation from changing up your company. Again, create a list of people you can call upon to jump into the fray with you. Specifically let them know that you’re calling them or scheduling a training session with them to boost your stagnating motivation. If they’re the right people, they’ll love the challenge of coming alongside of you and pushing you. Bonus tip – serve as someone else’s ally as well. Talk frankly about accountability when things get tough, and/or make a bet, and engage your competitive side.

Admit that you don’t feel like training – then do it anyway – Sometimes pretending that training is always fun and exciting can be counterproductive. Being honest with your feelings of frustration, discouragement, or monotony is crucial for you to gain mastery over them. Admit to yourself and a trusted ally that you simply don’t feel like picking up the weights, or the pads, or the shoes. And then engage your will. Decide to do it anyway – not because you feel like it, but because this is who you are choosing to be. Consistent practice of this discipline will strengthen your will over time.

Have you used one or more of these in the past effectively to push past your normal mental boundaries? Do you have any other tips that keep you going when the going gets tough?

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1 comment

  1. Chirag Patel

    I enjoyed this read! Attaining to be the best versions of ourselves is a choice; and that decision and practice, requires discipline and willpower. Nice article, Jeff.