A client sent me an email last week to say how life-changing it has been to work out with me. Up until now, she felt very defeated by exercise and can't believe the difference it makes working out at the proper level.
I get it! When I started my fitness journey, I worked out way too intensely for it to be sustainable and safe. But I didn't know that at the time. I thought the harder I tried, the fitter I would become. But fitness isn't like that. Fitness has very specific levels that correspond to a variety of goals.
Rarely is it ideal to work out as hard as possible. Like I say, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Working out in the red can leave us feeling exhausted and defeated, when the goal of fitness for most of us is to feel energized and victorious.
We want to experience, "I did it!"
Not, "I couldn't do it." Too much of that leads to wounds and fear around fitness. Here are some of the ways we can get wounded in fitness:
1. Weigh Ins
I believe weigh ins are an attempt to shame people into changing, which never works. Love works. Encouragement works. The scale is a terrible indicator of progress, and I am sorry if you were ever shamed for what the number said on the scale; by a parent, a spouse, a fitness professional, a doctor, anyone. You are not your body weight.
I remember my mom and grandmother coming home from their TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meetings and either celebrating because they lost 1/4 of a pound, or lamenting because they had gained weight and had to sing this song to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean:
"I am the pig of my tops club, I am the cheater this week, I am the pig of my tops club, I won't cheat till I'm slender again".
Talk about wounds...and shame.
2. Weight Loss
The fitness industry is hung up on weight loss, but it does not have to be one of your fitness goals. You are allowed to be happy with your weight, whatever it is! If anyone made you feel like you needed to lose weight to be fit, that's just not true.
Try it! Go through an entire week without allowing any thoughts about your weight, except you are perfect as you are. You won't believe how difficult this is. But, it is true and we can heal from the wound/lie.
There have been many times I ended my workday and thought, "I really blew it today", because a client shared an issue they were struggling with, and I acted like an adviser instead of a friend. It's hard to discern when to offer expertise and when to just shut up and listen. I am pretty sure, most of the time, we all just need to be heard.
With injuries, it is often fears that come along with injuries that are much worse than the pain itself. Is my best behind me? Do I have to struggle with this forever? Am I losing my abilities and falling apart? I understand completely. This wound is healed by remembering that the best is yet to come!
I have been to fitness classes over the years in which I felt like such a failure and left defeated. That is the worst. You would not believe the number of clients I've had come to me, afraid of personal training, because they were pushed too hard in the past. No one should throw up, feel like quitting, or have a self-esteem meltdown. Our workouts should help us feel so good about ourselves (even if we're all sweaty), that we can't wait for the next one!
Pursuing a fitness goal can bring up a lot of old, buried fears about our weight, feeling uncoordinated, basically reliving middle school gym class again. Most of us received enough wounds in middle school to last a lifetime. We don't need to incur more through our fitness program, but if we have, we can heal.
Find a level of sustainable fitness that works for you. You don't have to compare yourself to anyone else! This is YOURS, and it is personal. Find your happy pace, and heal the fitness wounds of your past. You are good enough just as you are. You are worthy of all the good things of this life, just as you are. Fitness is just here to make everything a little more fun.
Founder of LYBU, Specialized In Home Personal Trainer for Women 40+, Coach, Speaker and Author of I Know What To Do, I Just Don't Do It ©