Having An Off Day? Here's How to Bounce Back

We all have those days when we didn’t push ourselves in the gym the way we wanted, or the workout just didn’t feel good. As humans this is natural. The challenge often is how to deal with a workout or performance that wasn’t as great as it could have been. While working with clients this subject gets brought up quite often. The sensations we feel or our perception of ourselves and our bodies rarely matches the reality of what is really going on, both good and bad. This can often easily make us get down on ourselves when our workouts or performance didn’t feel the way we wanted them to. It doesn’t always equal a poor performance. Sometimes for various reasons, a lot of the time emotional or hormonal in nature, how we actually do and what we feel are very different.

A great example of this is giving 100%. In our minds we have this idea of what giving 100% should feel like. However, the reality is that our 100% from one day to another is very different, as well as within a workout. The effort we have to give at the beginning of a workout is different then the end. Giving 100% is not about a specific feeling, it is about giving everything you can and have to give in that moment. Each moment of our lives we will have different amounts of energy to give, but if you are always giving 100% you will continue to make progress.

I know every time I go to the gym it will look a little different, and sometimes I drop the amount of weight I am using because I am more tired. I often change the exercise to slower movement to get the same workout for my body but with lower weights, simply because I don’t have the energy for heavy weights that day. Sometimes I give myself shorter rest periods; other times longer rest periods between exercises depending on how I am feeling that day. The biggest thing is listening to our bodies and making adjustments that will help us get a lot out of the time we spend working out. Both men and women have monthly hormonal cycles that greatly impact mood, energy and the amount of food needed to make certain gains during our workouts. So listening to our bodies is a must.


Now we will still all have those days when perhaps our minds are somewhere else, or we didn’t get a good night sleep and our workout is just not what we wanted. In those cases it is all about taking a moment to evaluate what contributed to it, and figuring out what to do better moving forward. For me I know when I feel rushed to do a workout even if it is great workout, I don’t feel like it was. So the majority of the time I find the time to workout where I won’t feel rushed. I also know when my body feels at its best at the gym and try as often as I can to get to the gym during that time. First thing in the morning doesn’t work for me, as I need food in my system before working out. Now sometimes I have to do it bright and early, so I make something the night before to eat on the way to the gym. 

Having consistently good workouts is all about understanding yourself, your body, and listening to it. It is important not to beat yourself up for a poor performance, that will only make things worse. Remember that even if you have a poor performance you still progressed more than if you didn’t show up at all. 


Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.