Change Your Perspective

In trying to keep up with my workout routine—at 187lbs today, I’m the lightest I’ve been in over a decade—I’ve been waking up early every other day to get the most in out of a short period. In the past week though, my energy in the morning has lacked.

On October 1st, I had trouble getting myself working out in the morning. Keeping a promise to myself that I would make up for the lost time, the workout I completed that evening was very satisfying. I felt like I could take on the world.

By Saturday morning, I was back to dragging to get myself moving. Not wanting to give up, I managed to push through some one-arm dumbbell rows. My right arm’s been good with the 25lbs weights lately, but my left arm’s been playing catch-up. With my last set, my left arm suddenly felt like it could lift anything. I kept pushing. It felt awesome. I suddenly felt a strange sensation in my arm. I thought it was the beginning of new muscles and better performance.

Turns out, it was me pulling a muscle. I ended the rest of my set and went to cool down mode.

That’s when my wife pointed out an observation: I tend to do better if I work out in the evenings than if I do in the mornings.

When you’re deeply focused on one thing, it’s hard to see anything beyond what’s in front of you. Tunnel vision can make anything look right or appealing, but sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and see the broader picture.

This can really be applied to anything you’re focused on in life. For example, if you’re designing a website, your focus is on the look and feel of the site. You might be thinking about the usability for the end-user, but you could also be influenced by design trends to make it modern or “hip”. And it may look amazing! Or, it might not and you just believe it does from looking at it too long. Everyone has different tastes in design, so one design does not fit all. But, if it doesn’t guide the user do what you want them to, the design fails. Period. Taking a step back and looking at your work from another view—or another person’s view—may bring some perspective on what you’re trying to carry out.

For my workouts, my routine tailored to, “Do it in the morning, because there’s not much time in the evening.” In doing so, I put myself in a place where I became tired easily, didn’t have enough energy to perform to my best and even injured myself.

Because I was too focused on the morning routine, I completely missed how I felt better after doing the workouts in the evening. I am a slow waking person, so trying to push myself to workout first thing in the morning may not be the best fit for me.

Now, I have a new focus: “On training days, make time in the evening to get a workout in. Then rest.”

If there’s something you’re working on or trying to accomplish and you’re losing steam, or it isn’t looking quite they way you want it to, take a step back. Change your perspective and see how it looks then. Ask someone you trust for their honest opinion and see what you can change. It will all be for the better in the end.

As for my left arm, it still can’t reach to scratch my back without me wincing, but it should be healed enough to attempt some slow push-ups. I’ll just have to see how it performs during my workout tonight.