Slump Busting and Chocolate Soup

Admittedly, I’ve been in a bit of a slump.  I trained through last Wednesday, but eventually let my lack of direction and motivation get the best of me.  I felt burnt out.  I was tired of planning and recording every meal and declining invitations to social events because I had to train, had to get some rest, or didn’t feel I had the discipline to participate without deviating from my meal plan.  A close friend of mine who I don’t get to see very often got married this weekend, so I decided I just wanted to be with friends, have a good time, and not be preoccupied with what I was eating (and drinking) and trying to fit training into what turned out to be a jam packed weekend.

I had a wonderful weekend with friends and family.  I also stayed out late three nights in a row and did my share of drinking and eating (it had been two months since I had any alcohol).  I don’t bounce back like I used to, and today I am still feeling the effects of the hangover from the weekend.  I have been exhausted/lethargic, not feeling well, and eating junk (something I always crave when hungover and/or sick).  Booze also impacts my mood for several days after drinking.  I usually feel a bit down and not like myself.  I’m also struggling with some personal things and am at a bit of a crossroads in a few different ways, which is causing me some stress.  I told myself I would get back in the gym and follow my meal plan starting on Tuesday, which turned into Wednesday, which turned into today.

A couple of things occurred to me today.  First, feeling sorry for yourself is a huge waste of time.  It just perpetuates a negative mindset and enables you to play the victim card instead of taking control of the situation.  Everyone experiences setbacks, losses, and misfortunes.  The nature of your character is revealed in how you respond to them.  If you are unhappy about something in your life, complaining about it and adopting a “woe is me” attitude isn’t going to change things.  Only you have the power to change, so it’s time to do something about it.

Second, routine is incredibly important.  I believe that me feeling crappy has a lot to do with the fact I have completely discarded my routine over the past week.  Athletes often come to sport psychologists because they are in a slump.  One of the interventions that is commonly used is to ensure the athlete has a pre-performance routine and that they follow it every time, without fail.  A routine keeps you focused and consistent.  If you watch Steve Nash shoot free throws, he does the exact same pre-shot routine every time he attempts at free throw.  Deviating from the routine can throw you out of whack.  So, if you are struggling with something, whether it’s working out or eating healthy, think about a time when you were successful.  Did you have a routine?  If yes, are you still following it now?  If you’re not, it’s probably a good idea to pick it back up.  If you don’t have a routine, it’s time to come up with one.  It may take some trial and error – for instance, my routine during competition prep was waking up at 4 AM to train every morning.  I’ve found that now I have more energy around 8:30 PM and have subsequently changed my routine to adapt to that.

So, despite being almost comatose when I got home from work today, I ate my pre-workout meal at 7:45, then got ready for the gym and headed out at 8:30.  This is the routine I had been successfully following before this past week, and even though I didn’t feel like doing it, I forced myself to.  Once I got to the gym, I instantly felt better.  I had a good workout and feel good about getting myself back on track.  When I’m following a routine, I am more relaxed, positive, productive, and purposeful.  There are times where you will have to make adjustments or maybe abandon your routine completely (like I chose to this weekend), but the point is, you need to get back to it ASAP.  There is no better way to get yourself back on track.

I also wanted to share a recipe that is my favorite night-time, post-workout treat.  I call it “Chocolate Soup.”

Ingredients

1/2 c unsweetened chocolate almond milk

1 scoop whey protein (I like About Time Whey in Chocolate Mint)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

Stevia (liquid and/or powder – I use both)

Ice cubes (6-8)

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.  Pour into a bowl.  You could drink this as a shake, but it takes me a lot longer to eat it with a spoon and feels more like a treat.  I usually garnish the top with about 20 crushed Cocoa Roast Almonds and Walden Farms Calorie Free Chocolate Syrup.  Here’s the final product:

Okay, I’m clearly not a food artist, but it tastes good, I swear!

Posts are forthcoming about my new goals and some sport psychology techniques I’m going to try on myself…stay tuned!

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