I used to thrive on lots of intense exercise. Rather, I thought I was thriving.
5-6 workouts per week. Every week. If I missed, I went into the cycle of guilt + food weirdness + ‘feeling fat’. You know those feelings?
I used to be a person that all or nothing’d workouts. And food, too.
If I didn’t have time for 45+ minutes, it wasn’t worth it. I’d do nothing. But then, you better believe I’d have to make up for it in the next workout (read: punishment, catch up, burn the calories).
This legit makes me LOL now when I think about my pieced together, hack job workouts with a toddler crawling on me.
I used to be the person that had to still get runs and lifting sessions in on vacation (on a freaking cruise ship during a spring break trip…OMG REALLY JESSIE?).
On said cruise. Had likely worked out that morning so I would feel more comfortable wearing a bathing suit.
I used to need intense exercise to feel like myself, mentally. This was a really great feedback loop to break before getting pregnant, BTW.
I had such deeply rooted attachments to my body shape and size that I needed my exercise plan to be super structured and specific because that was something I could control. That felt comforting.
So, no, as you might have guessed I wasn’t actually thriving on lots of intense exercise. I was using exercise as a tool for control. I was good at it for a while.
I was primarily using exercise to keep my body looking the same, or to make it smaller. Those were the two acceptable options I decided were true for my body.
What are you trying to fix in 21-days? And, why?
It’s the start of a new year. So much of the fitness and diet advice you’re being sold is bandaid solutions and false hopes.
The resolutions, detoxes, cleanses, 21-day fixes. You name it. You’re seeing it. Maybe you’re doing it.
As much as you might be putting that UNFOLLOW button to use, the ads are still popping up for the latest and greatest diet and fitness program that’s going to be the thing to help you _________ (enter ‘lose the last 15 pounds’, or ‘fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans’ here).
It can be big-time triggering. It can send you deep into comparison mode. It can be crazy making if you’ve lived that life and know that there is so much more on the other side.
I encourage my clients to double down. Stay in their lane. Put the blinders on.
The message that your body is too big, or too small for a good body is bullshit. Period. End of story.
My focus stays on strong
One of the main reasons I’m active, lift weights, and exercise every week is to be strong enough to live my life and have confidence that my body can do things I need it to do.
This is another one of the most important reasons my focus stays on strong.
The thought of her wanting to 21-day fix her body is hell for me. I can’t guarantee she won’t have body image struggles, but that role modelling sure as hell won’t be coming from me.
Clearly, this was not always how I thought. A huge shift.
Physical strength for me over the last 3 years has meant so many different things. I’ve been not-pregnant, pregnant, in C-section recovery mode, newborn and now toddler life focused.
Strong has felt like:
• A 250lb deadlift
• Taking a month long break from exercise because I felt like it
• Rehabbing my core and floor after pregnancy and C-section
• Being able to do 1 chin-up when my previous best was 10+
• Walking 15 minutes at a time
• Pushing myself hard during hill sprint sessions
• Squatting with a barbell on my back
• Holding my baby, and now toddler, in my arms for hours a day
Strong for me right now is so different than it was 3 years ago. And, it will be so different again in another 3 years.
The kind of strong I’m talking about isn’t an absolute. It’s not about constant PRs in the gym.
Strong is about staying the course to take care of your body through the constant change of life.
It means understanding that your body is ABSOLUTELY, 100% going to change shapes, be different, look different, function differently as you live your life and you’re going to support it through as best as possible.
So, hold up.
Before feeling like you need to cut the alcohol, the grains, and the sugar…
Before you think about getting up a 5am, 6 days a week to get your high intensity workout in…
Before you think that your body is a problem, needs fixing, tightening, shrinking, de-celluliting…
Before you think that the a ‘good workout’ needs to leave you sore AF for the next 5 days…
Start with strong. Literally, put your exercise focus into activities that help you feel strong in your body and mind.
Strength training is some sort of magic. It elevates you.
It’s totally fine if your goals include improving your health, reducing your body fat, or starting a new fitness program.
If you’re looking to change the shape of your body, that’s fine, too.
I would simply encourage you to figure out what else you’re looking for in terms of a workout routine.
What makes you feel really, really good?