Do you workout because you ‘have to’ or because you want to?
Like so many things that end up being good for us, they don’t always feel good when we are just getting started. I remember for the longest time, I worked out because I had to, not necessarily because it was something I wanted to do.
Sure, I always felt better after I moved my body in some way, and still do to this day.
Check the intention fueling your workouts
My workouts became another way for me to measure my enoughness. Finishing workout programs became an [unhealthy] obsession.
Doesn’t it usually feel like the last few weeks of year are always kind of a doozy?
My family took a much needed family vacay over Christmas this year, but then I got sick. And it hung around for a few weeks.
I could only manage to walk or do some gentle yoga before feeling completely zapped of all my energy.
Back in the day, this would have stressed me out in a way it shouldn’t have.
Turns out I’m really into discipline and following programs and doing things to the best of my ability.
But sometimes that isn’t the best mentality. Sometimes you have to take a gentler approach.
The answer isn’t always to hustle harder
I’m so thankful for the slow mindset shift that has been happening over the past couple of years as I’ve begun living more of a non-diet lifestyle.
Vacations used to stress me out. I would try to figure out what kind of exercise I’d be able to do if I couldn’t do my normal program. Which made getting out of town even more stressful than it already is.
Does taking a break from your workout stress you out? You’re not alone.
We are bombarded with messages warning us against the dangers of being ‘fat’ or overweight. Rarely are we warned against the equally dangerous obsession with health and wellness our culture has created.
It’s normal to not want to back slide on your progress. For most people vacations and holidays symbolize a time of letting go completely. Over eating, over drinking, pretty much doing everything opposite of what they would normally do. They feel like they’ve earned it.
That mentality of being anxious or worried about losing your gains or gaining back what you’ve lost isn’t helping you relax on your vacation.
The #noexcuses mentality doesn’t allow you to enjoy your vacation. And, it keeps you from resting and recharging when your body needs it.
Addicted to exercise?
I had my first taste of just how addicted to exercise I had become when back when I was competing as a figure competitor.
At the time, I was studying exercise science and nutrition in college, and I had a professor ask us how we unwind or destress. Somewhat smuggly multiple people (myself included) replied with exercise, duh.
What she said next resonated with my subconscious or my soul more than I realized. She said “what will you do if/when you can’t exercise” ?
Like what if you get hurt, what if you are sick, what if you’re on vacation and you can’t hit the gym. Then what?
I didn’t have a good answer for that. And when I finally DID get hurt training for a show, I had to figure it out.
I was stressed because my training had to take a very unexpected and un welcomed detour. I was stressed because I was a full time student with two kids under 6.
I was stressed because I was still trying to do everything 100%. Not feeling like I could ease up in any area for fear I’d lose all my hard work.
My mental and emotional health took a back seat in the name of fat loss and “wellness”.
Everything was a top priority in my life, which basically meant nothing was.
The world wasn’t going to stop if I couldn’t get my workout in.
I wasn’t going to undo all the work I had done, wasn’t going to gain all the weight back in a couple of weeks.
While developing self-discipline and self control is an amazing thing that will help you in so many ways, turning it into an idol isn’t one of them.
Priding yourself on #noexcuses or vowing to never miss a workout is only a set up for disaster. Because there will be days you can’t or you shouldn’t do your prescribed workout.
As I was learning how to become a bit more free around food, I also started to explore the same concepts with exercise.
I began to use the same principles I was using to help me learn how to eat in a mindful and intuitive to movement as well.
Sometimes the voice that says you can’t rest, you have to keep hustling comes back. When it does, you feel guilty for not doing more.
But at the end of the day, that voice is a lie. You need rest just as much as you need movement. Our bodies require it. And sometimes sickness, an injury, or a vacation is the way life forces you to take a breather.
Since ditching the diet-lifestyle that says I have to follow a plan to a ‘T’, I have found more of a sweet spot that allows me to still move daily without it feeling like a chore or one more thing on my laundry list of things that must get done that day.
Movement daily in some ways is still kind of a non-negotiable, but there’s a way to do it that is less rigid, and leaves more room for life’s little interruptions.
If you can’t or you don’t get to your daily programmed workout, move your body. Listen to what you might need, and most of all be patient. Your health is about so much more than what you look like or what you weigh.