I’ve taken many steps on my personal journey to reinventing myself – improving my sleep habits, getting back to eating healthy, starting my own business while working full-time. The most challenging step, though, was getting back to the gym.
I was an athlete throughout my entire childhood. Practices, games, and off-season workouts kept me active year-round. As I entered adulthood, I exchanged organized sports for gym memberships, club sports, fitness videos – any new, fun way to stay active.
“I’ll Work Out Tomorrow”
Over time, I allowed myself to become consumed by my career. The workdays became longer and the excuses for not working out more frequent. “I’ll work out tomorrow.” “I’ll start fresh Monday, after I’ve gotten some rest.” “I just need to finish this project, then I can get back to focusing on myself.” I became progressively less active until stress and burnout finally took their toll on my body. I packed on thirty pounds in three months!
I set out to join a gym again, knowing I had a lot of work to do to get back into shape. I needed an extra push of motivation to get me where I wanted to go, so I hired a personal trainer. We spent the first training session taking measurements, talking about my goals, and assessing my starting fitness level. The results were embarrassing.
The Numbers Are In…
After a month of grueling workouts, a nasty cold, and the loss of a family member, it was time to take measurements again and assess my progress. The numbers were in – and they were EXACTLY THE SAME.
I felt completely deflated. How could the numbers be THE SAME after all that work?! My trainer asked me what I wasn’t doing right. Was I eating too much? How did I FEEL?
The truth was that most days, I felt healthier. I was already making tremendous progress in my workouts and struggling less to complete them. My clothes sometimes felt a little looser, and some people said I looked different. I knew that I was building muscle, which is denser and weighs more than fat, so the numbers on the scale could be deceiving. And I had to admit that I had been through quite a bit personally in that month which slowed my progress a bit.
As I sat there talking through everything I was feeling, I came to a realization I really already knew: the numbers aren’t the only thing that matters. It is important to monitor weight, body fat percentage, etc.; but exercise can impact many other factors before (and after) we see a significant change in these numbers. It can elevate your mood; alleviate stress; boost your energy; improve sleep; help to prevent/manage numerous health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression; and improve self-confidence and body image.
It is important to take your measurements and track your numbers when participating in an exercise program – but also be mindful of the other changes that are taking place as you progress through your program: how you eat, sleep, look, and FEEL. Agonizing over numerical results can lead to unnecessary frustration if you lose sight of all the other wonderful, positive changes stemming from your newfound fitness.
Are you interested in making lifestyle changes but are feeling stuck or don’t know where to start? I can help you! Visit me at www.yourvitalwellness.com.