The upcoming four-day weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. Across the United States, people are taking trains, planes, and automobiles to see their loved ones. We’re turning our time to the tradition of giving thanks. Thanksgiving often leads to another tradition, and that’s the tradition of skipping workouts.
Let’s take it back to 2008. I was reading Tony Gentilcore’s review of the 2008 Cressey Sports Performance Thanksgiving lift. Their staff gathered to lift weights before National Food Coma day, and I really wanted to partake in a similar tradition. The following year, I made an effort to go to the gym on Thanksgiving, and I’ve done so every year since. I’ll be honest with you, it started as a selfish venture, one that let me do what I loved to do.
Now that I’m approaching my 7th year of Thanksgiving-And-Lifting, my mindset is a little different. I’m not as excited about deadlifting for the sake of deadlifting. Now, deadlifting is a means to a different end: Living a more successful life. Having that life means spending some time outside of the gym, and we won’t have very much time outside of the gym if we’re not there in the first place.
Let’s say that your family is in town, there are meals to prepare, there are simply things to do. We take the hour that we’d otherwise spend on our selves and kindly decide to spend that time with our loved ones. It’s an act of selflessness, right? I’ll offer you an exploration of your impending death. Exciting, I know.
Saving the hour to not workout today means losing days, weeks, or years with your loved ones in the future. Skipping your workout makes you selfish.
I totally get skipping workouts. We’re achy, tired, sore, stressed. In the moment, we decide that actually doing that workout is going to be more stressful than skipping it. I totally get this, and if you’re religiously training, I think you’re in the clear. However, if your workout attendance matches that of English 101 in your freshman year of college, I ask you this: Does the best version of yourself skip your next workout?
Your 90-year-old self probably won’t worry about skipping a workout or two, but if you skip too many of them… your sick, tired, and fat 70-year-old self might be a little bit upset about it. I told you’d we’d be considering your impending death. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. This is unequivocally true, as is this:
Rather than shuffling our way to old age quietly, I ask that we strive to live strong, fulfilling lives. I know that I certainly plan on throwing a football to my son when he gets to college and dancing with my granddaughter when she gets married. How can I be my best self when I get there? By dealing with the slight discomfort of waking up 30 minutes early, or making a cheeseball on Wednesday night instead of Thursday, or by sneaking into MFF on Thursday afternoon before I eat 2lbs of turkey and 3lbs of sweet potatoes. If you consider that selfish, then maybe a moment of selfishness now leads to more time with loved ones in the future.
I’m not a psychologist, but preparing ourselves for more time with loved ones in the future seems pretty damn selfless to me!
So, how are you setting yourself up to stick to your self-care schedule and train on Thanksgiving? Is it a quick run or bike ride before the parade starts? Are you heading to your local gym for a day pass and deadlifts? Are you sliding in a few minutes of bear crawls after the turkey goes in the oven?
The decision is yours, as are the outcomes. Those decisions can lead to the best version of YOU, and it’s important that we weigh the short term time saving against our long-term potential. The best version of you is yours to design, and I know you’ll do it well.