It's funny, because up until a few-ish years ago I never thought of myself as am athletic person. Looking back I realized that maybe I always was. I loved playing sports, skipping rope and even was part of the running club in elementary. Maybe I wasn't so much in Junior High and High School but afterwards I would have spurts on and off with the gym and sports. I tried yoga for the first time 12 years ago and was a maniac about going for years. 5 years ago I completed a half marathon while 7 weeks pregnant with my second child. After she was born I was heavy into weightlifting and did a bikini competition. I think I have loved exercise, sports and working out my whole life. As long as I'm enjoying myself.
Two years ago our lives changed dramatically. My husband was laid off from a job that we never saw coming. In the middle of a terrible recession, just 6 months after buying a new house. We of course went into scramble mode. We were both exhausted from working our tails off. I was teaching lots of yoga and tons of hard on my body fitness classes. Yes I was still keep active, but at this point it was about survival, not fun.
Forward to a little more steady life a year later, I had surgery for my Endometriosis. A disease that causes awful and random pain in my abdomen, low back and pelvis. Working out hurt. And on top of that during my surgery, my tubes were removed, causing crazy hormone changes. I was a hot mess mentally and physically.
I have felt in a slump. For the better part of two years. Which is super frustrating as someone who loves fitness. As someone who's body has done and once was capable of great things.
I've spent some time sitting in thought about why I'm missing the pleasure from exercise. And here are the questions I've asked myself in order to arrive at where I am now.
- WHY? Why do you want to exercise? This is a very personal question. It can be for improvement of health issues, weight loss, time to yourself or anything really. Know that the answer to this is NOT wrong. It's okay to want what you want.
- WHAT? What do I want to achieve? For me I thrive on a end goal challenge. Something that scares me a little. This year I have decided I want to do the Spartan Trifecta. You may have a weight loss goal number, a certain amount of hours a week you want to yourself, learning how to do a pull up, reducing or eliminating medications (please work with your doctor). A specific goal is helpful to "keep your eyes on the prize".
- HOW DO I FEEL? Ahhhhh the one question I feel that is skirted a lot in the fitness industry. Take some time to journal or think about this one. And often. How do you feel about exercise? How do I want to feel? How do I feel about myself/my body? How does the answer to that positively or negatively impact you? How do you feel in the process? Maybe take some time to notice if some goal are motivated by shame or someone else's expectation of you. This alone is likely not a good motivator. It has to come from a place of you wanting to do good for yourself.
- WHEN? When will you start? When do you want to complete your goal? Remember to be realistic and allow for set backs. They happen. Trust ME!
- WHO? Who do I need to support me? Let spouses, friends and family know of some of your plans. More often then not I find most are ready to cheer us on. Sometimes there are those that aren't. That's okay. I find journaling helpful. Writing down accomplishments along the way. "Jen you are a badass! You finally were able to do......." Be your own cheerleader!
After all of these questions. I leap.
It doesn't have to be perfect.
It doesn't have to exactly as you planned.
It CAN be fun. It SHOULD be fun. Try different things. Different classes, studios, music, friends, trainers and so on. Rather then it being this awful thing you MUST do, it can be a fun thing you LOVE to do.
This is my motivation. I have goal. Because personally I do very well with scary goals. Just thinking of the Spartan Beast gives me a little butterfly in my stomach. The workouts aren't what I've done the past 4 years. It's new and different and fun. And I've now told the world (okay just my readers and close friends at least) that I'm doing it and need their support. This all makes the 5:45 am alarm clock not AS grueling. I look forward to the next time I run. I compete with myself to jump higher and be even better then yesterday.
Because it's about me. Not anyone else.
And that's how I got my fitness motivation back.