Part Three - Unstick What is Stuck - Physically
Hey - before we get started tonight - I want to let you know that I am taking on guinea pigs for FREE 30-minute sample coaching sessions! Head over to the Contact page or click here to shoot me an email and let me know you're interested. Ok, carry on.
One of the best feelings in the world is post-workout. You feel refreshed, energized and awake. You also feel proud to have accomplished something that is important to you, your health and your body.
One of the hardest feelings in the world is when you are disappointed in how you feel and how you look. You’d think not wanting to ever feel these emotions would be motivation enough to hit the gym...but let’s be real, it’s not always that easy to get up and get moving.
I’ve had conversations with many girlfriends about the ups and downs with working out. We all struggle with consistently making it to the gym over a long period of time. We struggle with overeating, or eating too much of the bad stuff (hello doughnuts, treats, booze, etc) and then feeling like you’ve already wrecked your chance at a productive workout so why even head to the gym?
I really believe the reason why it is so easy for us to not exercise is simply because exercise is hard. Making time for it is hard. Getting the motivation for it is hard. It takes an abundance of patience and time to see your hard work paying off. It is easy to be a fair-weather workout fan, but really dedicating yourself to the long-term benefits of exercise is hard.
My journey has been this... Age 0-18 I was pretty much the scrawniest little twerp to walk this planet (ok, not really, but I had 0 upper body strength and knew diddly squat about exercise). Come age 18 and I started dating my now Fiancé who is a fitness lifer. He’s been committed and dedicated to fitness since he was young. Up until about a year ago, here’s what I knew about fitness even with his help: diddly squat plus squats are good.
He definitely helped me get into the gym more, and to be more aware of my physical activity level. But I tell you what… I was lazy. I acted like what I ate didn’t matter, what I put in my body didn’t matter, and like if I worked out a couple times a week (and by “worked out” I mean checking in to the gym just long enough to walk a mile and do a couple crunches) was enough. The worst part of it is that I was always feeling self conscious about how I looked. I would beat myself up for skipping a workout or for indulging in a sweet treat. I started to love winter because I could tuck it all up in tight leggings and big sweatshirts. I started to dread summer because everything I had been trying to hide was quickly going to come to light.
It wasn’t until this last year that my mindset around fitness was totally transformed. My Fiancé was pursuing his Personal Training Certification and I was lucky enough to be his guinea pig. He helped me formally understand the types of workouts that were meaningful and the way I should approach my diet. It’s officially been a year that he has been helping me and encouraging me to keep moving. It’s been months since my last slump of eating unhealthy and not putting my physical health before life’s other demands.
There’s a secret you need to know though.. Well, actually 3 secrets.
If exercise is really hard or really unenjoyable… it’s probably because you are in horrible shape..
What did she just say to me?? Yeah, you heard me right. When my Fiancé first started training me, I dreaded it. I thought it would be fun for us to have something to do together that would check two things off of our lists - quality time together and physical exercise. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard. I thought I had actually been working hard at the gym prior to earning my guinea pig status. I am pretty stubborn and independent so having him tell me what to do a few times a week was my motivation for learning how to consistently do this on my own. Like I said, almost a year has passed since I dedicated myself to fitness. Here’s what I realized: the reason why it was so hard in the beginning was because I was in the worst shape of my life. I had little muscle, no core strength, the only endurance I had was from going hard at the bar during late nights in college and trying to figure out how to get in a good workout during a 60+ hour work week. The more I continue to push myself and get into better and better shape, the more fun my workouts have gotten! I now look forward to my workouts and I’m proud to say it’s the longest I’ve gone without giving up.
High value + high priority = Dedication
The reason why you can’t stay dedicated to your workouts is because you aren’t placing high enough value on physical activity. This is what I used to do: consciously I could understand the value of making sure I got in enough physical activity...but subconsciously, because I wasn’t actually placing any value and priority on getting up and getting moving, I would let all other aspects of life come first. Oh, I can’t work out today because I last minute agreed to a happy hour, or no, I can’t get up this morning to work out because I didn’t get enough sleep last night, or shoot last night was too much fun and now I’m too hungover to get to the gym. I’ve had to work at making fitness one of those non-negotiable aspects of my life. It’s becoming a habit like showering or eating. I do it because I need to and I do it without a second thought. Placing value on making sure I get myself moving took a long time. It had to work it’s way up the totem pole of my life, and it had to be planned. I would have to decide on Sunday what days I was going to work out and then I had to go as far as to plan what I would do if 1) someone/something jeopardized that plan with an unexpected proposal - how would I turn it down? And 2) if it was a completely unavoidable or unexpected someone or something that jeopardized my plan, how would I reschedule the rest of my week to make sure the workout was completed? This wasn’t easy folks! But I tell you what, feeling confident and proud of my body has been worth every minute of it.
Give yourself a realistic amount of time to get dedicated.
It has taken me a YEAR to get to where I am people!!! A YEAR!!!! Do you know what idiotic idea I had in my head prior to that? “It only takes 21 days to make a habit”. 21 days my un-toned a** (excuse my french). Yeah, sure, that might be true for some habits, but it is definitely not true for a LIFE CHANGING habit. Seriously, be easy on yourself and set a goal for sustainability and not for quick, short-term results. Those can be temporarily rewarding, and I get it - us millennials love us some instant gratification - but be realistic. Take the amount of time you think you need to build your physical confidence and dedicate to the lifelong practice of fitness and then double it - wait, triple it - even quadruple it! You will get there - and it will be so, so worth it. Oh, and you will stumble along the way. But, the more muscle you get, the easier it will be to get up ;)
Final Thoughts: Don’t dedicate yourself to fitness for the aesthetics. Think of the aesthetics as an added bonus. Do all of this for how it makes you feel emotionally. An extremely inspirational woman and someone who has helped me along this journey via podcasts, Chalene Johnson, says this when people ask her how often you should work out, “only exercise on days when you want to be in a good mood.”Life is hard. Exercise will energize you and pep you up with all those endorphins. You’ll feel more confident, proud and accomplished. You’ll feel like you’re in control of your life. Do it for yourself!