The Post Workout Ritual – How to End Each Sweat Session the Right Way and Why It Matters.
A persons typical thought pattern before working out usually follows the general trend of: Everything not having to do with working out.
Why is that?
In short: Comfort zones.
Working out is the act of pushing your body outside of its comfort zone so that it may adapt to the stresses and become stronger, better, faster, etc. as a result.
Your mind, however, isn’t easily convinced when it comes to getting uncomfortable.
For minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes even weeks before a planned workout, both conscious and subconscious excuses will fill the mind and contribute ultimately to the nag and drag that is, ‘going to the gym.‘
Knock! Knock! Whose there? …It’s the resistance.
- Ugh… Leg day… (I hope something comes up)…
- Instead of going to the gym today, what if I stayed home and caught up on my sleep?…
- Oh! The big game is on tonight! I’ll just get back on track next week…
- I’m pretty swamped at work – I should probably devote all of my extra time to catching up…
- Get out of my comfy, cozy, soft, and fluffy bed to go to the chalky, grimy, sweat-ridden gym? Ha! No thank you…
And I could easily go on. You and I could probably write an entire book on excuses if we really wanted to!
Here’s what I realized the more and more I worked out: The time spent resisting working out and the time spent appreciating the workout are very disproportionate.
The resistance is no joke.
If it knows you have a workout planned at any point in the future it will start resisting that workout from the minute after its inception and will continue on until you are back to your lazy, comfortable, care-free state.
But you want to be better than that, don’t you?
…Why else would you be reading an article on The Only Direction?!
Well then, let’s talk about the post workout ritual.
When was the last time you really took a few minutes to appreciate your workout and all of the good that came from it?
From what I’ve seen and experienced, the typical post-workout ritual is usually a hodgepodge of, “That was a tough workout,“and “How soon can I eat?!” and “I’d better hurry out of here and get back to that important thing I was doing at that important place with those important people.”
All justifiable thoughts, but none that set you up for success for your next workout.
And isn’t that the goal in the first place? Support the lifestyle and not the single time use?
Here are some ideas on how you can finish your workout the right way and assist your mind in overcoming the resistance for the next one:
- Block in cool-down time. Don’t let the end of your workout be the hardest part of your workout. You’ll leave the workout feeling sweaty and gross (all the more reason to not want to workout the next time). Bring your heart rate back to a normal beat and ease back into the reality of the day.
- Reinforce what you did for your body during that session. I have never finished a workout and regretted it – have you? Take that extra few minutes after your workout to solidify your thoughts on the power of exercise and how good it makes you feel by doing it. This will weaken the strength of the resistance leading up to your next workout. i.e. “It felt so good to stretch my legs” or “This pump I have from lifting feels so great!” or “My body is now stronger and healthier as a result of that session.“
- Plan out your next workout at the end of the current workout. I follow a similar workout routine week-to-week so when I finish a Monday workout, I’ll plan out next week Monday’s workout with the intent and purpose of committing to it, one, and increasing the difficulty of it, two. I want to gain – not maintain – so I increase the weight by 5 lbs or increase the rep count by one or try and get one more set in before the time is up so that I know I’m making progress week-to-week. Progress will always be your biggest motivator – Even if it’s by only 1%.
- Get excited about your next session! You’ll release those endorphins again, get a good pump in, make another 1% gain, feel that great burn, re-focus your mind, melt away that meandering stress, gain that sense of accomplishment, take another step closer toward that ultimate you, amongst so many other incredible benefits! Exercise is about as close to a ‘magic pill’ for health and longevity as it gets. And when you look at it like that, how could you not get excited about your next session?
End your workouts with as much emotional intensity as the resistance provides leading up to them.
You’ll leave your sweat session feeling much better, get to your next ones easier (and with less noise), make the habit stronger, and find yourself enjoying the process more and more as a result.