All Day Athletes:04 Why didn’t you finish?

This post is part of the series “All Day Athletes”.  To read the first of the series click HERE.


Everyone is busy.  But even worse, everyone thinks they have to put one continuous hour of exercise together to reap any benefits.  That is simply not true. The cumulative effect of exercise can be met with short sets.  You work, you watch kids, you travel, and you generally aren’t focused on your fitness all day long.  This series helps you change it up and make small gains in fitness on the fringes of the day.

Before we share how to be a better All Day Athlete:

Listen to Joe Decker talk about visualization before he competes.


This workout is best for:

  • Anyone who wants to get more efficient with their time.
  • Anyone who wants to hold themselves accountable during a workout.
  • Anyone who has a mind/brain(might not have made it this far without one but what the hell).
  • Anyone.


The mind is a silly thing to waste.  So let’s use it for our nest big workout.  This post is not going to teach you a new workout.  It is, however, going to give you a few ways of thinking to make sure that the next time you set out to do something, it gets done in its entirety.

NOTE:  This is suggested information for people that understand their own limits, have been cleared to exercise, and want to improve their fitness in a busy, busy world.


You started so why didn’t you finish?

Needed: Gray matter and a solid osteo housing as well as a distinct anatomical unit.

Let’s put the scenario out there.  You drove to your favorite workout spot. You know, the one with 150 stairs and tons of people running around like mad every Saturday morning.  Except you had the opportunity to be there when hardly noone else was.  So, you thought up exactly what you were going to do.  This many sets of this, this long of that.  You warm up.   You start the workout.  Then, usually about 35% of the way through the whole workout, a thought pops into your mind.

  • “This is hard and I really pushed, I think I am done.”
  • “Noone else is out here working like I am so something is better than nothing.”
  • ” I am too tired and hungry, I’ll go harder tomorrow.”


Are these justifications or good reasons to stop a workout?  The answer is probably more complex.  If this is a habit, then it is a justification.  If it happens every once in a while, it’s probably just the reason for the end of the workout that day.  So, let’s talk about those of you who totally get this situation.

Here are 5 ways to get through the WHOLE workout when noone is watching:

1. Visualization:

Every elite athlete in the world visualizes whether they know it or not.  Probably 50% of every athlete on the AOF podcast speaks to visualization before training and competing. To give yourself a better chance at finishing a workout you have planned, go over every detail of the workout in your mind before you start.  Include how you will feel when you start, in the middle, and when you are done.  How will the accomplishment feel verse the defeat of quitting.  What will you do when a negative thought comes to mind?  If you plan out your responses before you are in a state of stress, you have a better chance of coming out successful.

2.  Set a reasonable goal

If you just ran 15 miles the day before, doing a huge leg set up some stairs may not make sense. Take into account the last few days and the coming days to plan a workout that makes sense. You will be less likely to use past and future activity to justify stopping now.

3. Repeat

Do something you have done before so you know you can finish.  Try something that was crazy challenging before to see if you have improved.  Knowing you have done it before is empowering. Now get better at the set.

4. Keep it in your head

Don’t get too ambitious.  It’s only one workout so do something with only a few variables. Remembering 10 exercises isn’t feasible for most people and bringing out the smartphone or paper every five minutes kills your flow and rhythm.

5.  Inspire yourself

When I feel the pain coming during a workout, I think about my dad who has beaten cancer and is dealing with dialysis every day. Or I think about people who have lost legs or never had the opportunity to live somewhere so amazing.  Your life is pretty good.  Remember that so you can suffer, relatively, in honor of those who can’t.


There you go.  Next time you park the car and head into the gym, on the trail, to the beach, or wherever you are working out, plan on completing the whole thing.  It will give you the confidence and fitness to do better the next time.  Hope this helps!


All Day Athletes will be a regular series on how to get the most out of your busy day no matter what level you are as an athlete, and yes everyone is an Athlete! These will help you get on track and at the very base, think differently about your training.

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