4 Reasons Your Bad Workout Was Better Than No Workout - Reboot Fitness Coaching

4 Reasons Your Bad Workout Was Better Than No Workout

If you’ve exercised for any period of time you’ve probably had a “bad” training session, but is a “bad” workout better than no workout at all?

What do I mean by “bad”?

Well there are varying levels…


There are the really bad training sessions where maybe you pulled a muscle; dropped a kettlebell on your foot; or fell off a treadmill (I’ve seen it happen so many times). I don’t mean those…

Then there are the ones where you shuffle around the gym chatting to anyone who’ll listen, or sit on the leg curl machine checking Instagram on your phone. Also bad, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What we are talking about are the sessions where you turned up focused and ready to achieve big things, but for some reason, your body just wasn’t on the same page.

You didn’t get injured, or waste your time procrastinating, but the energy just wasn’t there. And when you get to the end of the session, it feels like you’ve achieved nothing.

This can happen.

And will happen.

Especially if you have a busy work schedule; family time; and (hopefully) a busy social calendar to consider.

So is your below par training session better than if you’d just left it…?

Yes, and here are four reasons why.


Let’s start with the obvious.

You still worked out!!

You don’t have to be a superhero every time you set foot in the gym. What you’re thinking of as a “bad” workout is still another session in the books, and a stimulus into your body which it will adapt to.

While competition is a good thing, and battling with ourselves to push harder and faster is one key way we’ll drive ourselves forward… trying to break records every time you pick up a dumbbell will lead to frustration real quick.

In fact, whether you’re new to exercise, or you’ve been training for years, always pushing your body to its limits will likely do more harm than good when it comes to your progress.

So as long as you’re factoring in recovery time and remaining injury free, a training session where you don’t jump up massively in weights is definitely better than doing nothing.

It’s important to get your mindset right, and make sure you know what the purpose and aims are for each training session. Which leads us onto the next point…


Think about the session you’ve done and look at it in the wider context of your training program.

Which were the exercises that you struggled with?

Have you recently added them back into your program after leaving them out for a while? Getting back up to speed with them might take a little time.

Or maybe you’ve had them in there for an extensive period now and it’s time to freshen them up? Progress will always plateau after a while, so changing things up is important.

If your numbers aren’t improving, a little tweak might be all you need to get things moving again.


There are lessons to be learned about the build up to your bad session too.

Chances are that something may have been out of sync with your preparation.

Check through the following and be honest about whether or not your groundwork could have been different or improved:

  • Pre-workout nutrition – What did you eat/drink before you trained? Was it the right meal/enough to fuel your workout?
  • Previous night’s sleep – Was it restful? Did you get enough? Have you been sleeping well overall?
  • Last training session – When was the last time you trained and how tough was the session? Did you give yourself enough recovery time?
  • Warm Up – Did you do one? Was it effective or did you go through the motions?
  • Stress – What was going on in your life before your training? Busy at work? Were you in a rush?

Once you’ve looked at each of these factors you can try to pinpoint which ones contributed to your efforts in the gym.

If you can’t seem to narrow it down then just keep hold of that information, so next time you have a training session that doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can do the same audit and see what issues keep cropping up.

Knowing the causes is half the battle. Now you can go and make adjustments accordingly.


So your workout wasn’t the best… but as I said above – you still turned up.

You got to the gym or you took out your home training kit and you did something.

Maintaining positive habits is key to growing and developing a strong, healthy lifestyle. And missing workouts is a surefire way to fall out of that fitness habit.

What can start as skipping the odd workout here and there, can quickly lead to weeks where you don’t train. Before you know it you’ve stopped going to the gym entirely.

So even though it didn’t feel like your best effort this time, this session is helping to keep you on target for consistent efforts in the future.


It’s time to reframe your outlook on the bad workouts you have, because hopefully now you see them for what they are: a useful link in the chain of making meaningful changes to your health and fitness.

Are there any other ways you could take a bad workout and turn it into a positive? Leave a comment and let me know.

And should you need some extra help and advice, to turn more of your workouts into great ones, fill in the form below, and let me know what you need…

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About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

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