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Your Ultra-Easy Stress Test

Posted by Joel Marion

Okay, so here’s the deal. Yesterday I went to the gym and before I even had the chance to mix my workout drink, I was out the door.

Why?  Simple:  I straight up didn’t want to be there, so I left.

You see, every so often I’ll go through a period of time when my motivation to exercise is severely lacking. I’m sure you’ve experienced it, too−despite generally looking forward to your workouts, you get to the gym and just loathe the thought of going through with the next 30-60 minutes.

My advice: leave.

Now, before getting into a more “scientific” explanation for my recommendation, let’s first examine what’s most practical.

Question: If you ever felt that way (and I’m sure you have; we all have), but then decided to “push through” and workout anyway, just how productive and effective was that workout?

Simply put, I’m willing to bet that that workout absolutely sucked and did nothing to progress you toward your goals whatsoever (in fact, as you’ll see in a minute, it probably actually took you further away from your goals), so you would have been better off leaving instead of literally wasting the time altogether.

But even beyond that, here’s something very important to consider next time you experience this type of thing:

When it comes to your body’s state of stress, there’s no more powerful assessment than assessing motivation. Everyone’s body responds differently to different exercise protocols, and because of that, certain individuals will fair better with different types of workouts.

For me, I need my workouts to be short and sweet. I just can’t do an hour plus in the gym; a couple of days of that and I already start to loathe the thought of having to workout. So, I up the intensity of my workouts to follow suit and most days I’m in and out in 35 minutes tops.

Despite this, I’ll still hit a wall every once in a while and when I do, not only do I terminate the current session (or as I did yesterday, leave before it even started), but I also take some planned time off.

And that’s my decision: I’m taking the next week off from any type of planned exercise.

Perhaps I’ll go for a walk or a moderate jog to clear my mind and de-stress at some point, but other than that, nada.

You know, we hear the term “overtraining” so much in the exercise world, and quite frankly it bothers me how often it’s misused.

There is only one real way (that matters) to determine overtraining or over-stressing, and that’s motivation (not some specific number of sets and reps that some “guru” says you can’t go over in a single session).

Your body will TELL you when you’re overtraining, and when you are, you’ll know it. You’re motivation will decrease, and you’ll stop looking forward to your workouts, plain and simple.

When this happens−when you lose your motivation to train−then you know you’re over-stressing and you need to give your body a break.

Two great ways to do this:

1) Like me, you can just take some time off. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a real “week” off from exercise, then this is the best route (for me, I don’t even know how long it’s been, so the time off will be much deserved).


2) Go the “active recovery” route by dropping any and all “programs”  for a week or so, and instead, just go have some fun with your workouts.  Instead of having a set plan, try deciding what you’re going to do after you get to the gym.  No rules, all fun.  This works wonders for bringing the enjoyment back into exercise again, especially if it’s been missing from your training.

However you choose to deal with over-stressing, the take home message is this: if your desire to exercise is on the decline, pushing harder is the last thing you want to do.

Ultimately, your workouts should be fun and you should be looking forward to them; if you’re not, make the necessary adjustments to start enjoying exercise again.

Enjoy this post? Have your own way of dealing with “over-stressing”? Give me at least 150 comments and I’ll be back early next week with new VIP content!

To YOUR success,



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