Two weeks back, we hit a 1RM Front Squat. The gym was full of PRs. Seriously, we had athletes beat their previous best by 40 lbs, which is incredible.
I, however, didn’t hit a PR. In fact, I was 10 lbs lower than my previous best. Now, we can talk about all kinds of reasons why that might be the case, but I definitely felt a bit deflated coming out of the gym.
Then, on that same day while on a walk, I happened to listen to Pat Sherwood’s podcast “Linchpin Conversations.” In the conversation, he broke down his definition of a good day versus a bad day in the gym (hint: PRs aren’t required for a good day).
I think Pat’s definition and general mindset towards a “good day” are incredibly helpful for anyone and everyone.
What Does a Good Day Look Like?
Let’s start with the characteristics everyone might assume fit the criteria of a “good day.”
- Hitting a new PR on a lift
- Beating your previous best on a metcon
- Feeling on top of the world and full of energy
- Weights feel light and movements feel easy
Those can be characteristics of a good day, but if you’re looking for those things to happen each time you walk into the gym, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Yes, there are days where gravity just feels lighter, and weights go up easily. But, there are also days where you’re feeling tired or stressed for whatever reason. Weights feel heavier than usual. That 20″ box looks a little higher.
Those can still be good days.
So, how does Pat define a “good day” in the gym?
- You bring a positive mindset to the gym. Try to put aside other stressors on your plate and walk through the doors with positive intent.
- You diligently warm up and take drills seriously. Try to get each rep perfect even if you’re working with just a PVC.
- You put your ego aside and scale the workout appropriately. Ego is the number one cause of injuries. Scale the workout intelligently to match your current level of fitness, how you’re feeling in the moment, and the desired level of intensity.
- You bring relative intensity to the workout. “Relative” is key here. Your intensity will differ depending on whether you slept 4 hours or 8 hours the night before. Bring intensity relative to where you’re at.
- Walk out of the gym feeling good. High five fellow athletes. Enjoy the effort you put in.
Heavier front squats, lower “Fran” times, your first pull-up or muscle-up…those are awesome by-products of consistently accumulating “good days” in the gym; they don’t define what a “good day” is.
Our main goal then should be to regularly accumulate more good days in the gym. That’s it!