It isn’t news to those who know me that I love to workout and push my body to see what it is capable of. I believe the physical and mental pain that comes from pushing yourself really hard allows you to view things in a different way.

Countless workouts have given me the inspiration to write a lot of my posts and I want to share with you something that happened over the weekend.

I’ve gotten to know my body pretty well over the years and I usually know how I will perform in specific workouts and what they will feel like. Some I know will kick my ass and others will challenge me in a different way. I quickly looked at the bike trainer session I had planned on Sunday. It looked exactly like one I had completed the previous week – 15x1min intervals @120% FTP (Functional Threshold Power, basically a wattage you can hold for an hour)- it was tough but very doable and quite enjoyable.

I’d set my expectations for a moderately tough workout but one I was very confident wouldn’t cause me too many problems. After 2-3 intervals, I couldn’t understand why my legs were burning and my HR was pushing 170bpm. This wasn’t the feeling I expected. Did I sleep well the night before? Have I eaten enough? Water? I was trying to figure out what was different and why this was feeling much harder than I had expected.

Then I realized – the wattage the app was telling me to ride at wasn’t 120% of my FTP, it was 130%. I had read the workout wrong and had just been following the prescribed watts on the screen. I was hitting these numbers but the feeling wasn’t the same as I expected it to be.

I know for a fact that workout was made a lot harder because I had gone into the session with a totally different expectation. My brain couldn’t make sense as to why it was feeling so much harder. I started to doubt myself and tried to find excuses. If I had prepared mentally for the workout I was actually doing, all this would have made sense and there would have been a better understanding of the situation.

Towards the end of the workout I started to relate this to the pandemic and lockdowns. I speak to a lot of people on a regular basis who are struggling being at home, having to home school their kids and navigate a work from home situation.

I don’t think a lot of people expected that to be as difficult as it has become. I don’t think we set ourselves up mentally to deal with the challenges of having the whole family at home 24/7. If you think about it – working from home has been something many people have hoped for, for years. The freedom and flexibility to get your work done from the comfort of your own home. Not having to commute through the traffic, get the kids up early and rush them out for school. It SHOULD be an easier time for most people. If you still have your job, a nice house, healthy kids etc – why is it so hard?


We didn’t expect to have to navigate this. We didn’t expect this to go on for so long. Why do people make up so many excuses as to why they can’t get up for a 6am virtual workout or even do a workout themselves in the basement? Expectation! We expect it to be easy to do our workouts, in reality, if you used to go to a gym them doing something at home should cause no problems. So that expectation leads to a lack of sufficient planning and the workouts don’t get done.

People will struggle just as much when we go back to a more normal existence. Many people are longing for a return to normal as they expect that to be better. But people still had problems then, life was still difficult. The wrong expectation leaves you unprepared.

Think about how things really might be in advance. Don’t tell yourself how you want them to be. Don’t lie to yourself as a form of ‘motivation’. Be honest. Be clear. Be realistic.

Start here

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