I was at the gym last week and after my run, I decided to see how my chin-ups felt. I don’t work on these nearly enough- it’s more of a “let me see what I can do today” type of thing. I think the reason WHY I don’t practice them or other exercises to assist in building up the necessary strength required to execute them in multiples is because I generally have very little time to workout. It’s usually a quickie 30-35 minutes including warm up & cool down, which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty of time for a good workout, but if I want to spend time working on various skills, it’s definitely not enough time. And right now, I care more about getting in quickie workouts than I do about working strictly on pull-ups/chin-ups, so it’s just the way it is!
But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to continue to do them when I can! In fact, we just bought a pull-up bar because I want it to be easier to practice the craft.
Last week’s chin-up experience got me thinking about fitness progressions & growth. I put this on Instagram and it got some good traction so I thought it was worthy of sharing with you guys:
View this post on Instagram
Two days ago, I struggled through a #fitin15 (@the_fueled_physique) upper body workout and I had no idea why. I wasn't using heavier weights, I wasn't Doing anything new and I wasn't tired or sore. . . Yesterday, I did a quick 1.5 mile run on the treadmill (felt easy!) and then busted out 5 chin-ups with relative ease. I haven't done these in months, yet they didn't pose nearly as big of a challenge for me as the previous day's workout. And, yes, chin-ups are a hard exercise, certainly not downplaying that! . . But it was a good reminder: fitness is not a linear progression. We don't just keep moving up and forward Day after day. Just because we can do chin-ups on day with ease doesn't mean they'll be easy the next time we try them. Just because we run 5 miles one day with ease doesn't mean the next run will be equally as good or easy. . . . With that said, I encourage you to focus on where you are TODAY. not yesterday, not where you'll be tomorrow. Focus on the now and appreciate what you can do. Be kind to yourself and know that if you keep working hard, you'll get to your goal. #realtalk #fitness #progression #progressionisntlinear #keepworking #appreciatethenow #embraceitall #acceptance #reminder #focusontoday
My experience with chin-ups just yesterday couldn’t have come at a better time because it backed up what I shared above.
Last week, chin-ups were, dare I say it, EASY. Yesterday? So far the opposite from easy. Every bit of it was a struggle, as clearly shown in the video above. For good measure, I tried some this morning (dress & heels and all!) and they were definitely much easier than they were yesterday.
All this means is that we should focus on where we are TODAY. Not yesterday, and not where we are tomorrow. Fitness isn’t a linear progression. Just because we could do something so well yesterday or last week, doesn’t mean that we will pick up right where we left off when we try it next. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that because there are so many factors that go into our physical strengths on any particular day: how much sleep we got, how rested we feel, whether we are stressed, what time of the month it is, what we are focused on, etc. All of these things play a role in how we are able to move on any particular day.
So, next time you’re feeling down because you weren’t able to run as far, run as fast, swim as long, lift as heavy, knock out as many pull-ups, just remember that it doesn’t mean you’ve lost strength or that you’re weak or that you need to work harder, longer, etc. at getting better. Sure, practice does always help, but all the practice in the world does not mean that your fitness experience and growth will be a linear progression. Instead of getting beat down because today you can’t do what you did last week, focus on where you are today, appreciate that and keep working on the skill. Maybe take a second to think about what outside factors are going on that could contribute to less energy or strength in your workout, because that could bring some clarity to it.
I’d love to hear what you have to say about fitness progressions- do you find yourself being able to do something one week and the next week find it much harder? How do you handle these situations? Do you get upset or take it for what it is and just keep going/practicing/etc.? What’s something that is always a struggle for you in the gym? How do you work at it?