How do you like your pain?
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
It's been god knows how long since you’ve worked out or went for a run and when you finally do, the next morning, you really pay for it. It hurts to move, you walk a little funny, and your arms feel like you've just been vaccinated. Welcome to my life right now.
It's DAY TWO from when I made the big leap, and took 'massive' action to get into shape. As my fingers clatter over the keyboard I can feel the burn in multiple areas along my arms, between the shoulder blades and in my glutes. I keep telling myself "it's good pain, it's good pain", "it's the start of something good". Here's hoping.
Even though I decided months ago that I was going to get into better shape, it was only this week where I finally did something about it. And you can bet your pretty buns off that I had to take myself on little mindset coaching journey of my own to get me here. And that's what this post is about- how I went from just thinking about getting in shape, to taking action!
Starting something new is tough
Let's face it, the thought of kick-starting a new fitness routine and making room for it in your already busy life (when you've got work, kids, a household, chill time, friends to think about) can make anyone want to scrunch the idea up into a little ball and kick it straight into the 'too hard' basket.
If you've been out of action for quite some time, it's a seriously. tough. ordeal. to muster up the motivation, create a routine, haul your butt out the door, and stick to it. Don't you think?
When too much thinking gets in the way
Before you've even lifted a finger, there's so much to think about (do I workout from home? sign up for a class? join a gym? where? which one? how much? what time? how often?), so much to do (take a tour, adjust your budget, carve out time in your calendar, try on and buy new workout gear, drive, park, show up, shower); and it's going to be really really painful at the beginning- two days of not being able to walk or lift your arms properly. Seriously, who wants to put themselves through all that? C'mon... too hard.
But at this stage, the idea of it being too hard is only happening in your head. And what can happen is, you can ponder over it for months without making a single a move. Even a small step, like opening up your calendar to figure out when can you squeeze in the time, can take weeks.
And that's where I was at. I was too busy thinking about it on and off, and took zero action.
Set a new standard for yourself
Most days (especially when I spent one too many hours on the laptop or cozying up to Netflix) I would tell myself "Yeah, I really should do something again"... but then nada.
And over time I noticed how I'd feel exhausted after a long walk, that my arms were weaker (now that I wasn't carrying babies for hours on end like I used to- buh bye biceps), and everything was feeling stiff.
All the physical signs telling me I needed to get my butt into gear and take care of myself more were there.
But gee whizz it felt like way too much of an inconvenience to do something about it! I was too comfortable in my routine and I didn't feel like changing things up again. It was easier just to ignore it. (What's putting it off for another day gonna do?)
Well, I was putting it off for months! And even though I could feel what was going on, it got to the point where I started to see what was going on too. Right in front of me. In the mirror.
My face looked tired, my muscles were far from toned (and they jiggled with a tap), a slowly-but-surely muffin top was forming, and most of my jeans (which I live in) were cutting off the circulation to my abdominal region.
And no, I wasn't putting myself down or anything. In fact there was a lot of self-empathy. After all, my body took a serious blow after two pregnancies, childbirth and breastfeeding (something that most people don't talk about) and it felt as though a few years down the track, I'm still recovering and getting used to the massive (and perhaps semi permanent) changes (hello abdominal separation)! And my schedule is FAR tighter these days, so it hasn't been an easy road to get here.
Anyways, after a good stare, I had my wake-up call. I knew the physical changes I saw in front of me were a clear representation of how I was ignoring the signs and neglecting my body. I could only imagine the state of health the rest of my body was in.
I decided I was going to raise my standards. It was time to really prioritise my health & fitness.
Be clear about what you want
During my wake up call, I noticed something else. Once upon a time I needed very little activity to stay slim. Don't hate on me. But thanks to some lucky genes, I used to be able to eat what I want and rarely needed to lift a finger. That advantage seems to have wandered off somewhere and it became clear how much I took advantage of the one gene I was blessed with, and how much I abused it. It seemed I couldn't get away with what I used to get away with, anymore. And with that, I knew there was only one thing I could do- try something different.
Being fit and healthy means something different to everyone. For me, I wanted to feel strong from the inside, have energy and vitality and feel healthy first. My view is, when you nail this you'll eventually start seeing the transformation on the surface.
Anyways, at the same time, I started checking out the many many ladies out there nailing their 'before and after' shots on Instagram.
It wasn't just their ripped abs and toned, tanned arms that made me swoon with envy- but more-so it was the level of self respect, focus on health, and self deserving confidence that oozed from their selfie facial expressions and their feeds. I was inspired.
Before when I used to think about exercise, I saw it as a 'should'. As a 'nice to have'. It was never a must. This time though, like these other ladies, I decided it was going to have to be a non-negotiable.
Making it work
For me, I needed to get real about where I was at. I had to understand the level of commitment I needed to put in to create the changes I wanted to see and feel. I was doing a 60 minute reformer pilates session a week and my yoga practice had started to drop off so all in all, it was clearly not enough. I had to turn up the dial.
When I ruled out what I didn't want to do or what I didn't enjoy, I then focused on what I'd be happy to explore.
To make it work, whatever I chose needed to:
have flexible times
be close to home
have a way for me to stay accountable
have variety (cardio & strength training)
be within budget
Take massive action
To get yourself over the line, there comes a point where you've probably done enough thinking and then it' becomes time to just do.
I settled with supervised gym classes. Boom.
And so the search began. For me it was rather easy. I simply typed "Women's gym Geelong". Luckily Geelong is a fairly small city so there were only a few options. And it must've been my lucky day because the gym I signed up with had just been refurbished and was a week old. (Winning!)
I studied their timetable to see how I could make it work, jumped in the car after lunch, and took a very quick tour. I signed up in less than 15 minutes.
Not only that, I got straight down to business and scheduled in three classes for my first week- FIIT 30, reformer pilates and a yoga sesh. Bam! I then scheduled a few sessions ahead in my calendar just to make sure I had a few locked in.
Even though I had never done these classes before, the thought of "maybe I won't enjoy them" did come up but I decided to kick the counterproductive thoughts out the door and go all-in with an open mind.
The classes I signed up for turned out to be awesome. They're only 30 minutes, but boy you work hard. What's good about 'em is they're brief, they change the classes up, everything is getting a workout, and you really work up a sweat.
So that's been my first week of getting into shape. It burns and I may have taken it too far 'cause it seems I've flared up the area where my abs are separated #TMI? But all in all I love how I'm feeling right now. I'm glad I took action, showed up and gave it my best.
I'm feeling super pumped and I have my sights set on the changes I want to make which makes me look forward to my next session. Hopefully I stick it out!
Over to you
What's an area in your life you want to work on, but haven't taken any action? What will it take for you to make it a non-negotiable? What's at stake if you don't commit? And what shifts can you make to fit it into your life and make it work?
By asking yourself some powerful questions like these, you can quickly shift your focus away from what's too hard, or why it's not going to work, and you start looking for what's possible instead. The more you search for what's possible, the easier it is to take action.