Negativity Killed My Workout

Yesterday was a testing day.

For one reason or another, I had taken everything personally and let the negativity of my thoughts weigh me down. It’s something that I think most of us go through on a regular basis;

  • we have expectations that don’t get met and so we feel deflated,
  • our buttons get pushed and we end up angry or frustrated,
  • we break one of our own “codes of conduct” and as a result feel guilt or regret,
  • and the list goes on…
Stress can suppress your nervous system and slow your recovery

This afternoon I started on my workout as usual, but I noticed a lack of self-belief that’s normally always there. When I train I feel 110% as I head into the gym… but today I felt massive doubt – probably because I knew I was about to compete with my personal best that I set the last time I trained.

Working up to the 308lbs that I set a couple of days before, I knew something was wrong. It all felt a lot heavier than usual. But I soldiered on until finally, on my fourth set, I managed to lift the 308lbs for 5 reps, quite clumsily, before setting it down and feeling completely wiped out.

A previous hamstring injury started to niggle, it felt like I’d just ripped my palms off and my lower back was stiff as hell. This wasn’t the case the last time I trained and the run up had been almost identical.

I’d had two days of rest which seems reasonable when you take into account that I’m sat in a chair for most of the day, with excellent access to all the right nutrition and also great hydration. The only thing I didn’t do properly those two days was control my thoughts and emotions.

I needed some kind of explanation for what had happened, so I hopped on to Facebook chat (which doesn’t really work very well, by the way) with a girl that clearly knows what she’s doing. Trish Houston was kind enough to go through some possibilities with me until she confirmed my suspicions that it was in fact the negativity I’d built up from the day before.

After our conversation, I remembered what Deepak Chopra had said about the scientific evidence supporting the concept that our thoughts and emotions were partially responsible for the state of our nervous system. In order to recover quickly from an intense workout, we need strong nervous systems. If we don’t have this recovery will no doubt be delayed and our performance in the gym will suffer as a result.

So there you have it – negativity killed my workout. So what does this mean for you?

Well, clearly you can see how destructive these kind of thoughts and emotions can be for your training. If you’re dedicated and serious about progressing in bodybuilding/body sculpting, then you need to be careful about the kinds of things you let yourself believe about the situations that arise around you.

We actually don’t need to get ourselves worked up over anything. A great author and public speaker that I respect once said:

Because of the space between stimulus and response, people have the power of choice; therefore, leaders are neither born nor made

I firmly believe in this.

Try to make the best choice when challenges arise that may cause you to become destructive. Your months and years of training depend on you being able to progress to the next level.

Here’s to your success!


Founder & Fitness Nerd

Founder of Muscle4Hardgainers. Loves to experiment and teach others the best ways to reach their physical goals.

  1. So really, the title was inaccurate, because Negativity didn’t kill your workout – rather, it was your choice to be negative that “killed” your workout.

    When we take full responsibility over our choices, particularly our thoughts and emotions, we also come to realize that since we made them, we can also undo them.

    Nothing can ever upset you. Only YOU can upset you.

    Aaahhh… Freedom!


  2. Interesting. It’s a mind game at the end of the day. @ 6’3″ 240 now and not fat 240 😉 LBM baby. i totally understand and friends i’ve been through it *all.

    Mental strength is what you need. Always believe you’re the best, believe in yourself. When you’re in the gym don’t look at others, concentrate on YOU. I don’t care if xyz is hitting a 300 lb bench (if you can’t hit that then negativity sets in)

    Here’s a secret: It ain’t about the weight, you’re not going to build a big barrel chest or a cobra back with just weight. Think about your form, especially your reps and PUMP. Leave your ego out, concentrate on the PUMP; that’s what bodybuilders strive for DA PUMP – not the weight. With time the power will gush through your muscles..

    I would like to say is do it for yourself, so that when you get there with your body and strike a double biceps pose with the lat and tri swoop; you feel great about yourself. Screw showing off to others, if you train hard and strong it’s gonna show in *all the clothes you wear. Personally i never show off my bod to anyone, only when it counts baby!!

    If you’re smart and disciplined you’ll wake up in the morning (3 am) and have yourself a baked potato 😉

    Enough of my storymony, I could go on for hours on this subject. I will say Clement, totally agree that negativity as well as stress will kill your body. I’ll also say if you’re having a negative day, go get your mofo bang on son! You got stress and negative vibes don’t make the mistake of not going to the gym…

    GL people! Eat big to get big homeys, but always always eat smart…..

    1. Ahad brother – thanks for the in depth reply – I appreciate the time you’ve put into it and I’m in agreement with you :) I think that venting negative energy in the gym IS very good and I’ve done that many times. I think I was too eager to beat my personal best and at that weight it doesn’t just happen workout after workout.

      Hope to see you lending your opinions more often 😉

  3. Hi Clement, that is a wonderful post! I experienced the same, I don’t body-build by the way, but every time I experience stress, which is really self inflicted emotional stress, then I notice I tire and I have to literally drag myself places. So I didn’t run this morning as I intended I was simply feeling too worn out. I usually take a few days to recover from this body-numbing ;).
    So having said that: let’s not beat ourselves up for being human :) I guess it helps to spot when we start fussing in our heads and to try and stop that then and there, which is what you are saying too. All of us can apply this, whether we work out or not.

    1. Hey Miriam :) So great to see you leaving feedback on here. I’m happy to hear that you go for daily runs…

      Sure, we can’t beat ourselves up over being human but we can beat ourselves into shape, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually hah.

      Thank you!