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When It’s OK To Quit

by Meaghan posted October 25, 2010

I had a rather interesting week last week…

When I arrived at my client’s apartment for our session on Thursday, she was having a bit of a crisis and wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind to train. She didn’t want to miss the session; she just needed about 10 minutes to take care of some things. After that, we got started.

Now, she’s a pretty anxious person in general, and her mind often wanders when she’s working out. But she’s very consistent and almost always pushes herself through hard sessions. On this particular day, however, it was pretty noticeable that her head just wasn’t in the right place.

Having already adjusted my plan to account for the late start, I realized pretty quickly that I would also need to rethink the day’s exercise selection. Technique-intensive lifts and single-leg work would require way more focus than she had to give, and I didn’t want to risk having her get injured. So, I made the necessary substitutions to make things more manageable.

She got about 3/4 of the way through the workout before it was pretty clear she was done. She gave it her all; that “all” was just a little less than normal that day. We spent the remainder of time foam rolling and stretching, then called it quits.

That night, I found out my dad was going to need bypass surgery. Despite not sleeping very well, I figured training would provide some stress relief and thought it best to keep my mind off things by adhering to the norm – so, I went to the gym as planned on Friday. I got through a few sets of rack pulls and a couple reps of single-leg RDLs before I turned around and walked out.

That was the first time I ever bagged a workout. But I didn’t feel as strong as usual in the rack and it was a struggle just to maintain balance on one leg with additional load (not usually a problem for me); and frankly, I just didn’t want to be there (also not typical). My head just wasn’t where it needed to be and it was affecting my training – so I called it quits.

And guess what? I didn’t die! In fact, that decision had NO impact whatsoever on my life. Even better, the gym was STILL THERE the next day!

The point of the story is this: 99% of the time you should push yourself through adversity. Heck, the Raiders’ victory over the Broncos yesterday proves exactly what’s possible when you don’t give up. But you also need to know when to walk away. Sometimes your head (or body… or both) will tell you to stop, and sometimes you should listen. Sometimes it’s OK to quit.

Filed under: workout tips

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2 responses to “When It’s OK To Quit”

  1. Chris K says:


    Very inspiring post and I am sorry to hear about your Dad.

    I was in the same boat yesterday with a client. I think the most important thing in that situation is to be there with them and keep them occupied and moving.

    I feel we often forget motivation is something which also must be trained.

    I will be back in the city in about a month and I hope we can get together again. Keep up the great work and I will be in touch.


  2. Meaghan says:

    Thanks, Chris. Dad is doing well – cracking jokes as usual! We are a lot alike :). Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll meet up.

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