I hit the gym yesterday much like any other day — hard and fast. My workout motto this past year has been “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” Most of my workouts are 20 to 40 minutes of intense, lung-bursting, strength-building goodness. In fact, in a coming post, I will be sharing a workout that you can do at home (with nothing but your body as equipment!) which follows this principle.
As I packed up after my workout, I made small talk with the woman beside me. To be honest, I love getting a chance to talk to women at the gym because I can tell that when they see me work out, they are thinking one of two things:
“Holy hell that woman is crazy — what did she eat for breakfast?!?”
“Must be nice to be so skinny — she has no idea what it’s like to be overweight.”
Either thought process is one that separates them from me. It makes me some sort of foreigner that they could never relate to. A different breed, so to speak.
My comment about the gym’s choice in music prompted Katie to tell me that she uses her own music to help her get through long sessions of cardio and me sharing with my new acquaintance that I hate cardio with a passion. Oh nice — nothing like a skinny chick telling you how much she loathes cardio! I could almost see her eyes rolling!
But with this being her first gym membership, Katie was intrigued and wanted to know how I keep thin without doing much cardio. To her surprise, I told her about my highest weight. I told her how I counted calories to start, then added strength-training, and eventually added 20-30 minute sessions of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I told her that over the last year, I don’t even do HIIT anymore — kettlebell is my main form of cardio and offers a double whammy of muscle-building and fat-burning.
Katie admitted that she looks at fit people and catches herself thinking that they’re a different species. That it could never be her. How many of you can relate to that?! I know I can! I’ve shared before that being a size 8 – 12 for most of my life, there was no way I would have ever believed I could be the size 2 that I am now. It wasn’t even in the category of when pigs fly. I truly thought it wasn’t physically possible!
But it was possible. My mind just couldn’t fathom what that actually looked like so I opted for the easier version of “I’m not built that way” and continued on with my comfortable habits. It took me having to lose pregnancy fat to really see that my mental blockage was the only thing between me and a svelte frame.
Whether it’s Katie watching me in the gym, or you at home reading my blog, don’t think for one second that you’re not capable of what I do. As soon as you think that something is beyond your reach, you’ve effectively placed it beyond your reach. The truth is, anything is possible. You just have to believe it! As you hear me say all the time, your body is more capable than your mind. If you can get your mind up to speed with what your body can do, you’ll be unstoppable. People don’t run ultra-marathons because their bodies were designed differently than ours. They run them because they’ve first conditioned their minds to withstand the training and brutality.
Once you make this mental leap, will you reach your goals tomorrow? Well, no. And that’s okay! It would be overwhelming for most of you to live the way I live. It would have been overwhelming for ME had I tried doing it all at once a few years ago. Likewise, I can’t really see myself following the stringent lifestyle habits of a fitness competitor. That’s not where I’m at right now. We all have our own path to travel.
The Journey To Fit
Case in point: Although I would never think of getting training tips from that magazine now, it worked for where I was back then!
I had never used a Bosu before and was a bit intimidated at first. I don’t remember the whole workout but I do recall having to do push-ups on it. I could only get through ten reps by doing the push-ups on my knees. I don’t even know if I could do real push-ups back then, actually.
Last week, I saw the Bosu Ball while stretching and it reminded me of that first workout and all the times I hit the gym to see that thing (when I really didn’t want to see it!). I smiled to myself at the thought of ten modified push-ups being a struggle.
And even though I had just finished a more-brutal-than-usual workout of a 45-minute spin class and a chest/back routine, I grabbed the Bosu, flipped it over and braced myself in a full-plank position. I then proceeded to bang out not 10, not 20, but 30 military style push-ups on that thing. 5 years ago, I could barely do ten on my knees! And here I am now, ripping out a set of 30 after an intense workout.
The point I’m trying to make is that your journey may start today, but it doesn’t end tomorrow. Or next week, or next month, or even next year! Mine has been years of learning, growing, changing, and figuring out what works best for me. Even if it means slower progress, making continual small changes month over month is one way to ensure that your new habits are truly a lifestyle change and not just temporary matter of will (which eventually fades).
The Two Major Road Blocks to Getting Fit
In summary, I see two major road blocks that anyone will face when seeking to change their unhealthy habits and get fit.
SELLING YOURSELF SHORT
Everyone knows they need a goal. Make one. But let me challenge you to make that goal bigger than the voice in your head telling you that you are not cut from the same clothe as those “fit chicks”. Have a goal that’s big and believe that you are capable! Write it on your bathroom mirror and read it every day!
Once you’ve broken through that mental barrier, recognize that just because you don’t reach your goal in three months (or even three years), does not mean you have failed (which will tempt you to give up). Instead, see every step as a part of the overall journey — both good and bad steps are getting you to the end destination. You’re not failing, you just haven’t finished yet!