On not “phoning it in”


You know I have a love/hate relationship with rest days, right?

Well a pretty close second to that has got to be “phoning in” a workout versus giving it your all.

Of course, not every workout is going to be killer, but most of them should be pretty damn good or else why bother, right?

This is how I look at it:

  • Workouts are meant to be work. But equal parts fun, too. (again MOST of the time, at least)
  • If you truly aren’t feeling a workout on a particular day, try this: postpone the workout until later to see if you’re “feeling it” at that point; or consider a different workout than you originally planned. You just might not be “feeling”  a particular workout, but something else might totally get you moving.
  • Phoning it in will only cheat YOU, nobody else. This isn’t about comparing your workout to others, it’s about giving yourself the opportunity to give it your all.

Again, not tried and true 100% of the time (and of course, I’m no expert!), but nine times out of ten, I try to follow this line of thinking when it comes to my workout philosophy. At the end of the day, your “me” time spent working out should be your best work, right?

On the other hand, there is something to be said for just getting physical, in some shape or form, most days of the week. And I TOTALLY agree with that thinking too – working out in some shape or form is awesome and so beneficial to your overall physical and mental health.

So bottom line? If 80% of your workouts are your best (and truly “your” best, not anyone else’s definition of “best) and 20% are more along the “just get moving” mindset, you’re doing pretty darn good in my book.

What do you guys think of the whole “phoning it in” concept? Do you agree with my 80/20 rule?

13 thoughts on “On not “phoning it in”

  1. I think it’s also about really knowing yourself too. There are times when you feel so out of sorts and just not digging the idea of a workout AT ALL. Maybe that’s a rest day, but maybe it’s not. I think it’s important to know yourself and listen to your body. It can be a tough call though. I say give it 10 minutes and then you’ll know. Either you’ll perk up or peeter out entirely. I think that’s an easier thing for cardio though. When it comes to weights, if I’m totally not there, then the workout pretty much isn’t even worth it. Sorry for the ramble 😉

    • Totally agree. You’ve got to know yourself and trust your body. If you fight it, you’ll lose. Every time.
      So funny – I find that if I’m not feeling it or am overtired, it’s weights I gravitate to vs. cardio. If I’m not “in” it, cardio is the last thing I can get myself to do. So funny!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever “phoned it in” so much as I’ve “faked it until I made it.” When I don’t feel like doing it, I sometimes fake it and pretend I want to do it. Usually, by the end, I am engaged and want to do it, but sometimes getting the motivation to do it is hard.

    I always get excited about trying something new. My FitTv OnDeman service has a workout called “Body by Bethenny” (from the Real Housewives), and I’m uber excited to try it out. Mixing it up is key for me, although there are some exercises I always return to. I think you’re 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb.

    • You’re right – there’s definitely something to be said for faking it until you make it. Nine times out of ten, once you get going, you’re golden, it’s the getting started part that can be tough. 😉

  3. I usually have one workout a week (out of 5) that isn’t as intense as the others, and it works for me. Just getting the heart beating a bit on that day but not putting 100% into it helps – I’m usually extra tired on these days!

    • That’s great, Jess. You know what works for you and can accept when things aren’t quite “on” but can still be happy with phoning it in now and then because at the VERY LEAST, you got in there and got busy, and that’s what matters. Nice perspective.

  4. I struggle with the concept of an “easy workout”. I feel like if I’m not a sweaty mess at the end, I haven’t done my job. I even feel this way about yoga: I can’t handle classes that aren’t challenging physically. It’s very black and white for me. I’m trying to find the gray…

    • You and me both, sista. This is partly why I struggle with workouts like yoga and pilates. Besides the fact that I am SO inflexible it’s not even funny, but I don’t sweat a lot at the end and that’s usually my “bar” for a good workout. BUT I think I need to change that thinking because yoga and pilates are excellent workouts but just for very different reasons than a sweaty cardio or weight workout. Something to work on in the new year I think.

  5. I’ve had those days when I skip half a workout I blame it on my body not needing an intense workout all the time or maybe that’s my excuse. As for the rest days, I hear you on that one, find it hard sometimes to take a complete rest day.

  6. I actually wrote about this recently too. I am good when I run, but I’m definitely guilty of phoning it in when I’m lifting weights or doing the elliptical. It suddenly occurred to me that I was going to be at the gym for a set amount of time anyway, I might as well be doing something that will give me the results that I want. Otherwise, it’s sort of a waste.

  7. Yes! I agree about the 80/20 rule. I know that it isn’t realistic for me to give 110% EACH and every time I spin/run/lift weights, whatever. There are just days where we’re feeling good, have more energy, or just want to kick our own asses. 😉 It’s definitely tough because I used to be the “all or nothing girl” (I would always do more cardio if I was running less than 5 miles), but now I just say sweating once a day is good by me.

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