Even the people at the top sometimes have off days where they don’t feel like training. But if they’re at the top they are most likely going to train anyway. And not just go through the motions, but put in a result-producing session.

For whatever reason you might not be in the mood to train when the time comes. Here’s a list of ten things you can do to get yourself ready for training. You don’t need to do all ten but can mix and combine a few.

1. Reading something inspirational. Get a book that’ll pump you up. Something on physical training works best for me but other books could certainly work too. My favorites are Wrestling Tough by Mike Chapman and Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik. Find a section in there that’ll get your blood boiling and read through it. Read about how hard others train and you’ll get in the mood.

2. Watch something inspirational. It doesn’t have to be Rocky or 300. You can just go on youtube and find videos of others training hard. Just a short clip works. Once again if its about training it works best but I’m sure other videos could work too. If you find a good one, bookmark it and use it again and again.

3. Listen to something inspirational. A lot of those videos are going to have music to them. There is a reason for this. Music can evoke emotional states. Listen to a song that’ll get you ready to train. I almost never listen to music while I’m training but before hand is a different matter.

4. Warm-up. Do your regular warm-up. I normally begin my training with a few Z-health drills. This primes the body physically and neurologically. After this alone my body is ready to train when beforehand it may be feeling sluggish.

5. Deep breathing. Take a moment to stand still and breathe deeply. Use your mind and get into the ‘ready to train hard’ state. There are many ways to do it but I find breathing in through the nose slowly and then exhaling forcefully through the mouth works great.

6. Short training sessions. If your workouts only last 20-30 minutes it’s a lot easier to get through it all then if you have hour or longer sessions. And when you know it’ll be over quickly its easier to get started. There is a time and place for longer workouts but how much time do you really need?

7. Take a nap. Depending on when you train you could benefit from a bit of sleep in the early afternoon. Just 20-30 minutes. Anything longer and you’ll go into REM sleep and will probably wake up more tired than before. Most people don’t get enough sleep as is so this could be the energy booster you need.

8. Picture yourself being done. How are you going to feel when you finish the workout having made gains in many if not all the exercises? How will it feel when you’re done, when you get to eat afterwards? Maybe you’ll even treat yourself for a job well done. Compare that to how bad or guilty you’d feel later for ditching the workout for today. Which feeling would you rather want?

9. Accountability. Have someone that will hold you accountable for what you’re suppose to do. If you don’t have a training partner just think about having to tell me or someone else you admire in the strength world that you skipped your world because you didn’t quite feel like it.

10. Just do it. Get started. If you begin the first exercise and do it you are well on the way to completing the workout. Well begun is half done as the old maxim goes. Just keep moving and you will be done in no time.

These ideas are sure to help you if you’re not feeling up to a workout on any given day. But here’s a little secret. They should make up part of your pre-workout routine every time you train. They’ll give you an added edge to make you train harder every time.

Case in point. Last night was a late night for me as I was out at a concert. So today was a little slow for me. Not my average upbeat, ready-to-go Monday. I almost convinced myself that I’d skip today’s workout and just train ‘harder’ tomorrow.

No that can’t be. I watched a video of one man putting max effort into a bend. The kind of effort that would scare most people. In addition this video has an awesome song by Lynyrd Skynyrd with it.

Meanwhile I did my warm-up drills. Only five minutes and I was feeling ready to go. But not quite yet. I took 10 deep breathes before I launched full force into the exercises. Not only did I finish but I improved on every exercise I did (not hard when there aren’t that many).

I had to train. In fact I was so inspired by it that I wrote this article. After all, what would I have written to you today if I had cancelled the workout?


  1. This is a great post. I have found 2 things for me personally that will ensure I do the session:

    1. Getting enough carbs
    2. Warming up

    I make sure I eat enough fruits, vegetables and beans in the day to get enough calories to be energized. I found that years ago when I used to skip sessions, it was usually because I was slack on eating enough on that day, and so I felt like I had no energy and weak. Nowadays I eat enough so that I feel like I MUST burn my energy!

    Warming up is an awesome thing and I believe a study in itself. Most people think of a warmup as a 5 minute quick thing you do. I’ve found when I’m particularly not really in the mood to train, that I just say to myself “I’ll just do a warmup” then I do a few light sets of my lifts. By the time I’m warmed up, I actually want to train, because I dont’ feel so stiff and weak. I think a lot of times many people aren’t warmed up. I see people all the time hit the handstand pushups or whatever and by their 3rd set they’re actually doing MORE reps. They have only JUST reached a warmed up state if they are stronger by that point!

    Great article!

    1. Author

      @Phil Moufarrege: It’s important that you find what works for you. I wrote this article quite awhile ago but it still has lots of great ideas in it. Maybe I’ll write part two, covering some more advanced mental conditioning ways to be motivated without having to motivate yourself.

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