I’m writing on a post workout high. Why? Because this is the best time to understand why I started this whole weight loss process and why I keep going back to it. I’m feeling really good right now, but I know that this feeling won’t stay this strong forever. Life likes to pull you in all kinds of directions an distractions run rampant. But I know with this new year there’s friends and family out there looking to start the year off right and get their health in a good place. For that I applaud you, congratulations, you are doing a wonderful thing. I also know that right around this time people tend to start wondering if they can commit to his change because it can be difficult and downright painful to go on. I’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions for those who are feeling themselves wavering or thinking about quitting.
Don’t fear the pain. The word pain is a bit paradoxical. Most of us understand pain as a warning for danger. Which is why with exercise we use other words like ‘feeling the burn’ or ‘feeling sore”. Yet most of us conclude that all those terms mean the same thing: ‘It hurts!” And this is especially true when we are in the middle of our workout. Therein lies the trap that so many of us fall into when we start a fitness program. We associate the soreness, the burning, with pain and we think pain is a bad thing. We become afraid of pain so we do what we can to avoid it. But this pain is a false signal, it doesn’t alert to danger but it signals CHANGE, and change is exactly what we’re looking for.
Don’t think about the pain. Working out is as much a mental as it is a physical challenge. The biggest obstacle of which is embracing that pain as a marker of a good thing, that you’re doing the right thing for your body and you should keep going. It’s easy to say that when you’re done but it’s one hell of a challenge when you’re in the middle of your burpees. The only thing I can say about that is to push away the thoughts of pain an focus on what you’re doing to get through it little by little. Don’t think about how many stations or miles you have left to finish. Just stay in the moment and focus on getting through that one set or push ups, or those 30 seconds in your station or running to the corner without stopping. Live in that moment and don’t think about whatever’s left to do. The body can withstand anything, it will finish that set of lunges, it will run as fast as it can for as long as it needs; the biggest obstacle is getting your mind to stop standing in your way so it will cooperate and push to give your very best effort. It takes time and effort to do this but the change will happen.
Enjoy the high afterwards. After your workout you will feel SO GOOD. There is this rush of chemicals and hormones rolling around your brain that makes you happy and thirsty for more of this feeling. I know from experience that this might sound like b.s. when you’re feeling sore and you’d rather sleep in but give yourself a moment to feel that post-workout high. It happens immediately after you finish a workout or a class, when you know there is no more pain to come. There is a feeling of relief and accomplishment that is very satisfying.Additionally this is the time when your body most clearly tells you what it needs rather than what it wants. It becomes thirsty and hungry for things that are good for your body. Water tastes delicious, vegetables become rich to your mouth and fruits taste like candy. On top of that your body will actually use those nutrients rather than store them. Isn’t that exactly what we want?
The change will be good. When they say weight loss or fitness is a lifestyle change I think most people associate that with sacrifice. I have to change my life by giving up things I like or can’t live without. I would rather think of this lifestyle change as more of an evolution. It’s about ADDING life to your lifestyle. Adding energy, knowledge, skills, enthusiasm and so much more. You get to ad so much to your life that you’ve always wanted. You’ll add so many good things you won’t have time or room in your day for those things that don’t add value and quality to your life. That’s the best way I’ve found to think about this process.
It’s ok to falter just get up and try again. There is this saying “If you’re tired of starting over then stop giving up” It sounds kind of harsh and discouraging in some ways but it does ring true. A lot of us know that starting a new workout plan can feel daunting even when we know we need it which is why so many of us postpone it. This is especially true when you fall of the proverbial wagon and feel like you’ve gone right back to where you started. I know that shame feeling very well. But your body will still need to be active and it will always perform better when it’s treated right so it’s just best to let go of any regret or embarrassment and get back at it. Because the truth is that EVERYONE has been there and no one will judge you, they will just be happy that you’re back, an so will you.
In summary, here’s some last things to think about:
- Don’t look forward to the pain, look forward to the glory your body will feel after you’re done.
- Enjoy the evolution of your body and your mind. Ask of your body and your body will deliver.
- Stick to it, trust the process and you will see results.
- Everyone is rooting for your success. Don’t ever feel alone, because you’re not. There are people out there who want the best for you, but most importantly make sure that motivation comes from you.
I’m right there with you. I have my ups and downs an I’ll be as honest as I can about them. That’s the best way to do it, just strive for progress a little bit at a time.
Happy training an keep at it!
Until next time.