Bank Holiday Monday and I found myself in the gym. Actually I made a choice to catch the bus into town for my session.
When I stated this journey, I only had one objective, which was to make it to a session. That has since grown into turning up, learning and applying. What’s been interesting is how much my objectives have changed since I began. I had an image in my mind and a number to achieve but experience is a good teacher. While I was convinced I was going back to an old body that I thought was ideal; my journey has revealed something better. I am building a new body, a healthy one and in this process I am also dealing with the issues that got me here in the first place.
There are four barriers I have had to deal with in this journey;
1. Emotional issues – there are a number of things that get you to that unhealthy weight. Dealing with these issues is essential. This is where you find your why, “why am I doing this”; your motivation. Answers like,” I want to be toned” don’t cut it here because one could still ask why you want to be toned! Something like, ” I’m embarrassed by my body, I find it hard to find dresses that suit me. This has led to me going out less and as such I don’t have much of a social life which makes me sad.” A response like that leads to motivation because you are dealing with your true feelings. Please note we cannot judge this stage and try to psycho- analyse it. We have to be honest about how we truly feel about things in order to resolve them. Sugar coating my feelings only led me to a place where I still felt unhappy with my body.
Let it burn!
2. Physical pain – working out is a physical exercise, the more excess weight you have coupled with limited mobility, the harder the workouts are going to be in the beginning. You should expect this and as you get better at the exercise you do start to feel less pain. But this is when you need to push yourself; make the moves more difficult with more sets, reps or weight. You need motivation to keep going, motivation you get from understanding why you are doing this. Without motivation, it’s easy to talk yourself out it. This one is intertwined with the next.
Mind over matter
3. Mental strength – I say this one is intertwined with physical pain because it is the physical effort that gives rise to that burn in our muscles (commonly referred to as lactic acid) that sometimes determines whether we continue with a specific routine or increase the repetitions. Starting out, it was always at this point, when my muscles were “burning up” that I always gave in. This is where your mental strength must kick in. I have learned to breathe through this burn and focus on my routine in order to complete my reps. It’s not easy, but it’s essential in order to push yourself further. I still struggle, especially when I am doing a new routine but you can do it. It’s not going to kill you, in fact if you’re feeling that burn you’re doing better on that routine and thus creating the desired results.
4. Other people: This could be people in the gym with to-die-for abs, people on a weight loss journey who just seem to be dropping pounds, people who don’t see what the problem is with your current weight. While I call this barrier ” other people” this is really about you. I came to understand that this was my journey. You could go into this as a group or pair but this is a solo adventure. It is essential for you to understand what you can share and who you should share it with. If you’re open to every opinion, you are going to struggle to settle into a routine and with that, results will elude you. Most important, is your perception of what other people think of you. Most people have a lot on their plate to be concerned with your progress and those that do bother to make it their business are probably not about your progress; ignore them. Simple words, but you’ll have to work at it.
It’s a marathon baby!
I have watched people lose the same amount of fat that I want to drop within record time and in the past, this would have set me back. But the reality is that some people will do “better” than me. Their emotional issues, pain threshold, mental agility and perceptions mean that we cannot have the same results. Stick to your lane and run your race; you’ll get there: That’s what I continue to tell myself!
To a healthy you.