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The energy building workout

Today I woke up exhausted after too little sleep. I then went through the day without eating more than once and without drinking sufficiently amounts of water. When the evening arrived it was too late to change the fact that the awaiting gym session was very poorly prepared. I didn’t have lots of energy. I wasn’t properly hydrated. And I was supposed to perform 30 gruelling sets of leg training. Furthermore, I intended to follow up on the leg workout with 20 minutes of HIIT cardio – and some additional sets of both calves and abs training…

The thought wasn’t far off: maybe I should skip the gym today – since my preparation has been so bad.

I think most regular gym goers, no matter how enthusiastic about the charms of lifting weights, have this experience once in a while. The challenge ahead suddenly transforms from having been thought-inspiring to being somewhat daunting. One finds oneself thinking those hateful words that one always regrets later on, when it is too late to do anything about it: not today.

All this having been said, those readers in possession of decent powers of observation might have foreseen what I’m about to say next: I went to the gym anyway - in spite of the bad prep and the less than enthusiastic frame of mind. I went there with a plan: to perform at least half the planned workout – and to stop each set far from failure.

So, instead of the intended gruelling mass building session I had myself an energy renewing workout. Legs, calves, abs and cardio – I targeted them all, but I did so in a manner that allowed me to build energy instead of exhausting it. The workout session invigorated me, instead of draining me. I write this an hour later, filled with energy and expectations on what the rest of the evening might bring.

There is a valuable lesson in this: instead of cancelling, try adapting. Change focus from achieving to repairing.

Daniel Schou, Personlig Tränare i Uppsala

The next time you feel tired and bored with the thought of going to the gym – do it anyway, but do it differently. This is not the day that you will break your personal bests. This is not the day when you will experience your most rewarding pump. This is not the day when you perform 30 heavy sets of leg training or multiple drop sets of military presses. But it might still be a day where you leave the gym with endorphins pumping through your veins while you are already pondering next day’s session, where you, more likely than not, will be back at full power.

The 20 minutes of HIIT cardio became 10 minutes.

The 30 sets of leg became 10 – and they were all rather easy, I didn´t take it to failure.

The sets of calves were performed as they were planned, but with a slightly lighter weight.

The abs were targeted for 10 minutes instead of 20.

All in all, it was a very pleasant workout, that left me feeling stronger than when I entered the gym some 40 minutes earlier.

Lastly I’d like to point out that these kind of energy boosting workout sessions can – and, in my opinion, should – be implemented in your routine, even if you would be lucky enough to never find yourself tired and uninspired in time for the gym. There is lot to be said for this kind of strengthening, energy building workout. When aiming for maximum pump and mass building one is actually, even if deliberately and only temporarily, breaking down the body and the muscles that are being targeted. The energy workout routine stops in time to be awakening, inspiring and renewing without reaching the break down-phase. There are many benefits to be harvested from the occasional use of this approach, one of those being that it can be a great way to not only get past, but actually making something good out of those bad prep days like the one I had today.

Daniel Schou, Personlig Tränare i Uppsala

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