Isn’t it funny how we get stuck doing things for our own health, simply because it’s what “we’re meant to do”?
There are SO many people, companies, commercials, professionals and everyone else telling us what we should be doing every single day in order to be “the best version of ourselves”. Should be helpful right? Truth is, it couldn’t be any less helpful. I don’t know about you but in my time, I have tried every piece of advice, every diet and every exercise and fitness program. Basically, I have listened to everyone…except myself.
The thing is, all the diets and fitness programs I have tried and which are out there for us all to try do actually work, for the right person. The catch is, we are all different, very different and that’s what makes us great! It’s also what makes it a little harder than “they” let on, to be the best version of yourself. We are all bio-individuals, which means we all respond to the same things in different ways; one mans food is another mans poison. So true. I can’t process too much dairy, it turns my body into a heavy-breathing snot machine, but for others, dairy is fine. Same with red meat, I just can’t digest a lot of it (read stomach pains and A LOT of gas), but I know people who find it difficult to function without a decent dose of it weekly.
I am a Health Coach and so I have known this for some time and coach my clients accordingly when it comes to all things nutrition, but recently I have discovered that the same principal applies for fitness and exercise. I have been doing HIIT (high intensity interval training), boxing, running and weights for years and as a PT I recommend all these awesome workouts, they all have amazing benefits and give great results. Funny thing is, I have done all these things for all this time and when I get an injury (always minor, nothing big time), I just put it down to over doing it, going too hard or not giving myself enough rest time. Do I stop? Do I change? Do I sit and listen to my body and reassess? Nope, I just rest a bit until I feel better, do the rehab and get back into it ASAP. Never before have I stopped to ask myself if the little niggling injuries are my body’s way of telling me that something I’m doing just isn’t what it needs/wants. Until now.
I took up yoga just over a year ago when I had an injury, as it was the only thing I was allowed to do. In years past I had tried yoga (my Mum was a yoga teacher) but I didn’t like it at all. I never felt like I was getting a good workout and I just didn’t enjoy it. This time I found a new yoga studio and after the first session, I was hooked. I felt strong, calm, happy and connected, something I had never had from exercise before. So I started doing my yoga twice a week, one Vinyasa Flow and one Yin session, and guess what? No injuries! Yep, my body responded in a way I had never experienced, taking the strength part from the exercise (yes yoga makes you sweat if you’re doing it right), and adding flexibility throughout my muscles and fascia (so decreasing injury) and connection, to myself and to a whole new tribe of like-minded people. OHM-mazing.
Now being me, which is somewhat stubborn, I added this yoga into my regular schedule BUT I kept the other stuff as well, pretty much flogging myself because even though I had found this amazing new way of moving my body, I STILL felt I had to do the other stuff because it’s what “they” said we should be doing. Then last week I came out of a heavenly yoga session feeling strong, calm and happy and had a light-bulb moment. If doing yoga twice a week and adding to that a bit of running, a bit of boxing and maybe some weights/body-weight exercises here and there makes me feel fit, strong, flexible, calm, connected and happy, then why the hell aren’t I just doing that all the time? Eff what “they” say I should be doing, Eff the fact that some peoples perception of a PT should include smashing myself several times a week and Eff anyone who wants to say anything else to me about my body!!! TAH-DAH!
So basically that’s what I have been doing ever since and I tell you, it’s a game changer! Not only am I experiencing all those benefits listed above, but because I am feeling calmer, happier and more connected, I have found I have more patience with my kids (and hubby), less brain fog and sense of overwhelm and have even found the space to pick up my meditation practice more consistently, which on its own increases ALL the said benefits! SO HAPPY!
I guess my point in all this is this. If you want to be happy AND feel fit and healthy AND feel calm and connected AND get the most out of your body and your mind, then STOP listening to all the BS out there and START listening to your own body and your own mind. You might be pleasantly surprised where it takes you.