So I have been on my transformation journey for about 18 months, most of them spent working with Alex and there are some things that I have learned along the way. I’ve started to master some of the basic concepts of sustainable weight- and fat-loss and strength training, and seen some nice changes in my body. I have done things in the gym that I would never have imagined doing, like squats and dead lifts, and all sorts of hip thrust variations. I’ve had good days, great days, bad days and positively crap days when it comes to my eating and training, and I have kept going forward.
I am sitting at home this morning nursing a slightly bruised body after falling down a small flight of stairs on Friday morning. More like tumbling down them in a heap and smashing my phone in the process. Ego and knees slightly bruised, body feeling sore and tender, and of course there were plenty of people around to witness it. I never act out my clumsy in quiet streets or hallways, always saving this sort of thing for an concerned audience. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about what it has really taken to get me to where I am in my process and how I deal with the little setbacks.
I really did have that feeling of wanting to be in the gym this weekend. It’s when I get to have a training partner and share the time with someone which helps to motivate me and keep me accountable. It’s that weekly dose of fitness connection that keeps me going through the week, focusing on the advice and information I have gained from working out with someone who is a lot more experienced and knowledgeable than I am. It’s tricky for me to keep my motivation up when it comes to getting to the gym on a regular basis…even after more than a year I am still just going through the motions on certain days to get to the point where I am handing over my access card to the receptionist. Wake up…drink coffee…check emails…put on gym clothes…make and pack lunch…remove self from house…get into car…drive to gym…hand over access card. Phew, I made it!!
And then once in the space, I start to feel a trickle of motivation which builds as I move through my programme. ACTION…MOTIVATION…INSPIRATION. I keep thinking that maybe one day I’ll wake up and not be able to contain my excitement at the thought of going to the gym to do my workout. But those days only strike occasionally. The thing is that once I get to the gym then I am normally happy to be there, excited about my workout and willing to push myself to get the best out of the time I possibly can. It’s just about getting there! Okay, there is that occasional day when my energy is low and my body feels weak that I’d rather be chewing glass and gargling scorpions than attempting a set of RDLs, but those don’t happen to often, and are normally about stress and lack of sleep. I just find it so confounding that I still can’t simply get up, no mess, no fuss, and take myself to the gym.
ACTION…MOTIVATION…INSPIRATION. So instead of beating myself up about this resistance I have, I am trying to understand what it’s about. The truth is that I am really happy with the way my body is starting to look. I thought I wouldn’t like having a more muscly, toned body, but I do. I like the feeling of being stronger and I definitely like being leaner. So what is it about? Maybe it’s just so many years of bad habits and fixed mindset that I just need to keep doing what I do? Or perhaps it’s about reprogramming the way that I have felt about diet and exercise for thirty years!? That instead of it being something loving and nourishing for my body, mind and spirit, I have seen it as punishment for overeating and being lazy. A way of reprimanding myself for what I had done wrong when it came to food and exercise.
Eaten too much? That’s 60 minutes on the treadmill! Missed a workout? That’s an extra 10 lengths of the pool! Low energy workout on Saturday? Double reps on Sunday!
I suppose I can hardly blame my brain for being a little adverse to the idea of going to the gym on a regular basis. There are just not enough positive neural pathways associated with being there. And then of course there are all those crazy autobiographical memories, associations and perceptions around food and how I used to punish myself mentally, emotionally and physically when I did something wrong!
Even as I write this post I am getting a better understanding on how many layers and years of negative behaviour, memory, habits, perceptions and associations I still have to cut through. Of course I am constantly laying new neural pathways that are grounded in positive, self-loving actions, but I guess that it might take a little longer than just a year to get me to where I am bouncing out of bed in the semi-light of dawn to skip off to the gym. What I am asking myself right now is how I can make it more of a fun experience so that there is more reward associated with the action? Maybe it’s time for a couple of new workout tops so that I feel a little sexier when I get to the gym, rather than the raggedy old, far-too-big, tops I am wearing at the moment. I am tracking my movement on a daily basis and that’s something that makes me feel accomplished and motivated, but there needs to be more positive associations.
So, maybe something as simple as a couple of new shirts and a decent workout bra will make me feel a little more inclined to take the actions that I take in the morning to get me there!? The truth be told, I feel a little shopping coming on…and I’ll see how that makes me feel when I am getting ready to go and lift heavy stuff in the mornings. I’ll let you know how it goes! ACTION…MOTIVATION…INSPIRATION!