Match your workout to your mood
We’ve all been there – last Sunday afternoon you scribbled down all your workouts for the week and now it’s 5.30pm on Wednesday and regardless of how utterly shit today has been, you are going to do that HIIT session because you know you really “should”.
Or perhaps you’ve woken up completely buzzing on energy, the sun pouring through your windows, life seems sweet, but…you had booked in to that strobe light filled, music pumping spin class in the basement and so feel obliged to show up and descend the stairs into darkness and blowing, ice cold air-con.
Perhaps it’s time to consider matching your workout to your mood.
Why would you even consider this? Well it can help develop a deep intrinsic understanding of how your body truly feels and want you actually want – AKA you become more in-tune with your self and develop a more intuitive way of working out. Which will lead to better adherence to actually doing your workouts, because you will feel BETTER for it, not WORSE.
Sold? Great, but how to do it?
To reduce the rigidity of a scheduled week of workouts, forget your calendar and take a second to check-in and think “How do I REALLY want to move my body today”. This can seem scary for a moment – but luckily, I’ve got some hints below of how to take whatever mood you’re in and make it into a great workout.
This isn’t at all saying that sticking to programmes designed for specific goals are wrong, it’s just a shift of perspective to look at training from a place of it’s wellness benefits and what will honour your body in both the short and long term.
When you feel frazzled and can’t focus
When you’re feeling like everything around you is spinning out of control and you can’t focus on what is right in front of you -Head to a Pilates class. The very purpose of the method is matching the breath to small, mindful actions, so this reinforncement in a physical sense will train your brain to place emphasis on the present – plus, the burning activation of your deep, postural muscles will keep you zoned into the workout, rather than scrolling through lists in your mind.
When you’re stressed/overwhelmed
Right now you need to rebalance your parasympathetic nervous system, which will lower your cortisol levels, unwind tension from your gripping muscles and give you the space to just be inside your body without any extra (mental) noise.
When you need a confidence boost
Hit the weights room.
Not only does strength training hone incredible results for your metabolism, body composition and skill development, but learning to lift makes you feel like a total badass. So, if you need a little boost, pump some iron, boost your masculine energy and relish in the pride of what you can achieve.
When you’re unmotivated
Group class – Spin/F45/Bootcamp.
When hitting the gym alone just isn’t going to cut it regardless of how many inspirational insta-posts you read “Make a date with yourself, bosses don’t skip appointments” if motivation is lacking head to a group class where not only will a room of other sweat-chasing humans push you into some sense of competitive comradery, you will literally have another human motivating you the whole time, because, well, that’s their job!
When you’re tired and overworked
Right now isn’t the time to go balls to the wall, instead take a moment to be gentle and flush out your system with a long walk. Getting outside with some fresh air will replenish your oxygen levels, which will help replenish your overworked body. Use the time as a mindful meditation session - Plug in and listen to podcasts, audio books or your favourite tunes, go with a friend and utilise the power of connection, observe the world around you – but be present and move gently. Your heart rate will raise but you’re not depleting your energy systems and draining yourself out so you’ll sleep better and help to rebalance cortisol levels.
When you’re feeling blue
They don’t call it a runners high for nothing. When you’re feeling low, get your body filled with those feel-good endorphins and focus on one foot in front another for whatever your duration. Try to relax the pressure off any distance or time related goals, take moments to walk in between running as you need and take it at your own pace, but by allowing yourself to get sweaty and slightly out of breath, will shift your focus of what is getting you down and you’ll be rewarded with those mood-boosting endorphins!
When you’re angry
Sometimes there is nothing else for it than picturing what is making you mad, and pounding it out on a boxing bag. Nowadays you can find boxing classes, sparring sessions, boxfit workouts all over the place and it feels really, really, REALLY good to unleash your inner glove to bag. Plus you’ll get in such a good workout, you’ll have 1. Some clarity afterwards on the situation, 2. Some endorphins to take the edge off the anger and 3. Probably be pretty exhausted that you can’t even be bothered being angry anymore!
Do you match your mood to your workout? Let us know what works for you!
This post has been inspired by an article by the fab Geri Hirsch.