On Monday, May 8, I posted the following on My Fit By Raphael Facebook page
The reality is, there will be times when you struggle with your food and your workouts. During these times, make some changes to your foods by adding more variety. As far as workouts, change something there as well. Maybe you need a few weeks of lighter/shorter workouts. Listen to your body and mind and make small changes, but don’t quit. Quitting is never the right solution.
The message was actually for me.
I posted the tip because I’ve been feeling “off” in the gym and a little frustrated. Even after 40-years of training and 16 years of bodybuilding competitions (or maybe even because of), it just happens now and then. It happens once a year for a stretch of about 30 days.
It sort of went like this: I started losing motivation and something just felt “off” in the gym. Something just wasn’t connecting with me. I kept going in for a while thinking that I’d just push through it. After all, I’m the fitness guy so I have to live the example, and training is my daily mood elevator. But then the downward mental spiral increased and I began to get frustrated. Even the foods I enjoy eating felt like drudgery.
In order to pull out of it or at least see the situation clearly, I talked to someone who knows me and has an appreciation for working out. Someone, who pays attention to the nuances beyond the words.
I spoke to a close friend who told me that I sounded like I just needed a change. Maybe.. gulp…try CrossFit, maybe try a new activity that I’ve never done before, or maybe do some powerlifting. So after taking a much needed week off (needed from a mental and physical standpoint), I decided I would just go to the gym and do whatever workouts I felt like doing that day. No plan, no structure – just listen to my mind and body. I did that a few years ago and it pulled me right out of a funk.
But that wasn’t feeling quite right either.
I decided to find a training plan that combined hypertrophy and powerlifting. I’ve been giving it a try, with the caveat that I can change or modify it on the spot if I just want to do something else.
As far as foods, I added more variety to my nutrition and allowed myself some “take Raphael out to lunch” days if I wanted to. Healthy food, but just not my usual stuff. This was a suggestion from my wife Pam, who knows me better than anyone on the planet.
So far so good. Today, am I back to my usual full-fledged Mr. Bodybuilder motivation levels? Nope. Not yet, and that’s OK. I know it will come.
The truth is that no one can be motivated one hundred percent of the time, and the daily ins and outs of working out and eating well can begin to feel frustrating and cumbersome. Sometimes it’s hard to discern what’s causing it – is it added stress in my life? Am I just being lazy? Am I in a rut? Clarity is an amazing thing.
I’ve found a lot of people stumble here and they just give up and stop doing what they need to do because they don’t do the work of assessing the real cause and then taking some kind of action. A small tweak can make a huge difference, and that’s part of where the value of a trainer, coach, or even trusted friend can come into play.
Quitting is never the right solution.
May 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm -
This is empowering since you now appear to be human like the rest of us! LOL! Thank you for posting this, as I have been struggling with my nutrition plan.
As I am back on track, I am seeing my journey as a process rather than a destination with ups, downs, struggles, rewards, and sometimes, pride! Thanks again!
May 11, 2017 at 10:19 pm -
LOL yes, just a mere human. I’m glad it helped. That’s it exactly – “A process rather than a destination with ups, downs, struggles, rewards, and sometimes, pride.” Excellent and continued success, Vee!
May 11, 2017 at 11:01 pm -
I’m between back-to-back-to-back trips and just couldn’t get back into the gym and food journaling groove for the two weeks I was going to be home. I decided that was okay and when I get back I will redouble my efforts for eight months until the next round of travel begins. It’s not going to kill me! It’s been a busy time, plus the trips have all been very active and this upcoming one will be as well.
May 12, 2017 at 9:44 am -
Thanks for the update. Safe travels!
May 12, 2017 at 9:01 am -
He’s huuuuuman after all! So true. Thank you for sharing RC 🙂
May 12, 2017 at 9:45 am -
I guess I am!. Thanks for reading and posting, Cooth 🙂
Bill Neylon says:
May 12, 2017 at 10:09 am -
Great article Raphael! I have gone through this funk many times, but was never able to articulate it as effectively as you did, and it left me puzzled and depressed, beating myself up with” What’s the matter with me? Why can’t I get off this ice cream kick/” and why are my workouts so sluggish?’ What happened to the fire I had/”. Just as you said, there’s a reason and a season. The thing is to shift gears, change your training, do some introspection (such good advice), and oyu bounce back. It takes a little time, but we gravitate to the familiar, and what feels right to us. Anything can become drudgery if we don’t shake it up a little. Thanks for shedding light on this very common dilemma, I for one, needed to read it.
May 12, 2017 at 10:42 am -
Outstanding words of wisdom, Bill. Thanks so much for this. It gets challenging for people like us who are bodybuilders and who also own training businesses. And the hardest part for people like us is admitting it to the masses. But I think that maybe that helps people to look at us as more “human” and that we struggle at times as well. Great post, Bill and always enjoy reading what you have to say!