A Major Headache For Every Weightlifter

I am sure you have all experienced this at some point. You wake up, fuel up, get your sports gear on, grab your gym card and you’re all fired up and ready to go. You are in the perfect frame of mind, you have the energy and you feel like its going to be one of those sessions where you crack open some new personal records. But wait, something at that moment pops up! Something, which causes you to unexpectedly change your plans.

You have to sort it out, which means for you, no gym today. At that moment, you become incredibly frustrated and it feels like your head is about to explode, filled with anger, frustration and well, it just feels overall bad! You were all ready and pumped, now you have to make a sudden U-turn. It’s funny, I am actually writing this article on a planned gym day. Unfortunately, because of bike and transport problems, I had to give today’s session a miss. Not something I like, but sometimes it happens. I guess it gave me the idea for this article!

No Gains Were Lost That Day

I guess some of the major concerns you have, if you miss a planned gym day are, will I lose progress? Will I have to start from scratch? Am I doomed? These are all understandable questions to ask. After all, you are motivated, dedicated and put a lot of effort into your weightlifting endeavors. You want to make sure you get it all right! Being worried if you miss a gym day, is, part of the whole process. I come across people quite a lot who worry about missed gym days. Particularly around holiday periods and vacations. Always, the top concern will be, will I lose my gains? Even from one missed gym day! You have to remember, that gaining size and strength is a gradual, slow process. No one ever went to being Captain America within one day. It would be nice! But things unfortunately don’t work like that. The whole weightlifting process, as you know, takes months, years, even a lifetime!

“Being worried if you miss a gym day, is, part of the whole process”.

The opposite is also true. You won’t lose everything you have built over months, in a day or even two. Which kind of makes sense, right? Think about it, from an evolutionary perspective, you would need that size and strength for hunting, protection, fighting. It needs to be pretty resilient. Otherwise, you would become pretty vulnerable. Your body needs its strength and needs to have a decent level of muscle to function and carry out daily tasks. Your body is not going to get rid of things it really needs, not unless of some critical condition that threatens survival. Trust me, a planned missed day from the gym does not count as critical! So, even if you have missed todays training session, or even the last two, don’t panic, you will not have lost any gains. The important thing to do, is to make sure if doesn’t become a frequent habit. Although the odd planned missed days will do no harm to you in the short-term, they can quickly build up and slow down your weightlifting progress in the long-term.

Weightlifting Is A Journey

As I have mentioned in previous articles, weightlifting is something you do for the long-term. That means, you need to treat weightlifting as a journey. There is no end destination. Like any journey in life, there will be bumpy and smooth parts, detours and delays. It’s all part of the game. What is important is that you maintain that journey. As over time, that journey will bring you more and more progress. Missing gym days is part of that journey. You can consider these really, as just some of the more bumpy parts of that journey. But in the grand scheme of things, they never change anything. You are still on the same path, travelling in the same direction. The good thing is, even if these bumpy parts slow your journey down slightly, it doesn’t matter. There is no fixed destination, no time limit, and no pre-defined target to satisfy. Time is therefore, on your side! Time that you have to make those gains, regardless of one missed training day. No time will be lost.

“Like any journey in life, there will be bumpy and smooth parts, detours and delays. It’s all part of the game”.

Really, this is all in your head! You get enthusiastic about something and to make sure you do well at it, you plan, structure and order things around that. The planning and structuring of these things ensures your success. This is exactly the same as with weightlifting. Our brains pick up on this and this whole structure/planning becomes imprinted in our brains. When something changes this, our brains quickly pick up on it. Just like with a planned gym day. We are all ready for it, and have our day planned out. But something interrupts it. I don’t think it’s a surprise then that when your structure/planning is interrupted, your mind goes crazy – frustration, anger, desperation and worry. All thoughts that get you to negatively question your weightlifting progress. Its nothing more than your mind playing tricks on you. As soon as you resume your normal training sessions, I bet you, your mind will be back to its grand old self! I know mine does. You might even be pleasantly surprised. Rather than having lost of strength or performance in the gym, you might actually be hitting new records and experiencing the complete opposite. All that worry for nothing!

A New Source Of Motivation: A Missed Gym Day Is A New Day Of Reflection

It might seem weird, but sometimes, an unplanned missed day from the gym, can actually act as motivation. No, that doesn’t mean you should be purposely taking more of them, but I do have a reason. It’s quite often that when you do things over a long period of time, you get so caught up in doing them and forget sometimes about the why. In other words, you forget to reflect and ask yourself, why are you doing something? A missed gym day reinforces all sorts of emotions and gets you questioning and worrying more about your goals and progress you have made.

“The only time I actually reflect and think about my progress is when I am forced to have a day off”. This can be a positive thing! You recognize for a minute the progress and how far you have come, that now you realize you have to go further. I have this all the time. I get into the flow of my training that sometimes the only time I actually reflect and think about my progress is when I am forced to have a day off. This day of reflection for me, gives me the opportunity to think about how far I have come, and what I still have to achieve. The motivation to get right back to it! On gym days, you are too busy sweating, working hard and feeling tired! These days off, might just give you the reflection days needed, to allow you to truly appreciate your progress and to motivate you to keep thinking and moving forward.


If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below. How do you feel and cope with missed training days?