Reasonable reason

Why are you and why are you not training? Are your reasons real or perceived?

To train or not to train…

… that is the question. The reasons to train are numerous and far reaching with positive effects both for your mental as well as your physical well-being (I covered this topic a year ago).  However, for a novice exerciser the reasons not to train can far outweigh the positive reasons to train.

This month’s article is really aimed at those of us that are already engaged in some sort of regular exercise and that are possibly working towards a goal, a 10km race, an obstacle race, a long hike etc. For this particular demographic of individuals, I believe the reasons not to train fall into two main categories: real and perceived.

REAL- examples of real reasons might be: you are already carrying an injury, you are overtraining, you are completely out of your comfort zone (starting a new heavy strength programme without guidance), your activity’s risk versus reward is skewed negatively (cycling in very windy or icy conditions).

PERCEIVED - some perceived reasons could be that you feel mentally tired, you ‘don’t have enough time’ to train, the weather and/or training environment isn’t perfect, the activity is becoming a little uncomfortable (not dangerous, just uncomfortable), training is unimaginative and boring, you are unmotivated or struggling mentally etc.

So, as we can see real reasons tend to carry a risk of injury or the risk of exacerbating a pre-existing injury if pursued whereas perceived reasons tend to just involve some potential discomfort (most of which can be negated with proper planning and preparation) and/or a dose of excusism.

So, if we are honest with ourselves a perceived reason is almost always simply an excuse not to train or a justification to miss a day.

There is however one big caveat to the whole of this article … mental health. In my opinion and in my daily practice, exercise/fitness/sport should be about having fun whilst pushing yourself and not solely about winning or being the best. If you miss a day because you can’t be bothered don’t worry about it, it’s not the end of the world. Stop beating yourself up and have fun instead, revelling in the fact that you can exercise when you can.