80% of success is simply turning up.

The title of this post is a famous quote from Woody Allen.  And I have found myself using it quite a bit recently, especially in the run up to Christmas.  I’ve recently started to run group sessions for some office workers (click here if you are interested in something similar) and as usual, a few of them have felt a bit sore a couple of days after their first session (click here if you want to know what that is all about).  So a few of them have asked:

“How do I stop this aching from happening?”

And because Christmas with all of it’s overeating and sitting around is approaching fast, people have asked:

“How do I prevent myself doubling in size/halving my strength/fitness?”

And because we all have busy, stressful lives, I’ve also been asked:

“How can I train properly when my head is not in the game and it will just end up being a rubbish session?”

The answer to all of these questions is basically the same…

“Just continue turning up and training anyway.”


So you’re aching after training a couple of days ago?  See you next training session as normal!

We get aching muscles (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) because we have asked them to do something that is out of the ordinary (either something different from normal or harder than normal).  Now you may just want to crawl into a little ball and never move again, but that is the worst thing you can do.  The best thing you can do is to get moving again!  It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, but you do have to move.  And don’t forget, we ache because we did something different from normal.  If you come training again, it is no longer something different…you are doing something similar to before!  So you are much less likely to ache!  I’ve yet to train with someone who still aches after their third go.  Because by then, the training is the new normal, so no more aches!

So the take home message is give everything 3 chances.  Or put it another way, just bloody turn up training next time!

So you don’t want to fall off your eating/training wagon over Christmas?  See you next training session as normal!

Us humans are creatures of habit.  It is generally easier for us to continue doing something, than to change and start doing something.  Christmas is a pretty predictable time of year when we eat more and do less.  Nothing wrong with that, it only happens once a year.  But because we know we are likely to fall off the wagon, and proobably stay off the wagon…surely it is sensible for us to try to not fall off the wagon in the first place?

I’m not saying to cntinue ploughing on with your normal training/eating regardless, through the holidays.  But I am saying that we can continue ticking it over.  We can continue to keep the ball rolling, until we all get back to work and carry on from where we left off.  Instead of stuggling to get back into the habit we had successfully built up before Christmas.

So the take home message is don’t simply stop training/eating well over Christmas.  Just tone it down a bit, so you have a rolling start in the new year.  Or put it another way, just bloody turn up training next time!

So it’s not going to be a prefect training session because you are hungover/tired/stressed/not feeling it today?  See you next training session as normal!

We are human.  Nothing we do with be perfect.  Ever.  It will always be somewhere on the spectrum between “rubbish” and “pretty bloody good”.  

Spectrum of human potential

But one thing is for sure…we are more likely to become “pretty bloody good” by turning up and doing something, rather than sitting on our arse, getting depressed.  That will only slide us towards the “rubbish” end of the spectrum…trust me, I know!

A wise man once said that no matter how hungover, rough, feeling like death or generally crap you are feeling….just turn up for the warm up.  It will only be 10 minutes, it will get you moving, it will change your brain chemistry, it will get your blood flowing.  And one of two things will have happened:

  1. You will still feel crap, so you can go back to your sofa.  Honestly, that is fine.  But you will have at least kept the habit going and will have done something to shift you to the “pretty bloody good” side of the spectrum…
  2. You will feel better, more energised, looser, sober-er (is that a word??) and you will end up deciding you can actually continue with the rest of the full training session…

So the take home message is don’t simply let yourself crash, burn and go “what is the point if it’s not going to be perfect”.  Be happy with “pretty bloody good”!  Or put it another way, just bloody turn up training next time!