Are you getting in your own way when it comes to your health and fitness? Managing the mental game when it comes to health and fitness can be really challenging. It can feel like we are getting pulled in a hundred different directions, and often times, our fitness and health are the first to be pushed aside in favor of “more important” tasks and responsibilities. But really is there anything more important than our own health and wellbeing? If we are not taking care of ourselves first, how are we going to be able to show up 100% for our kids or our jobs? Easier said than done….am I right?!
This brings me to my number one way to stay on top of your fitness: Make it Manageable!
Exercise has always been a regular part of my life; however, it used to a bit of a rollercoaster. There would be weeks and months when I was regularly getting in my Pilates sessions and runs maybe even mixing in a fitness class or two, and I would feel great. Then I would get sick, go on vacation, or come up against something stressful and time-consuming at work, and my fitness would get pushed to the side. I know I am not alone here!
This was a never-ending cycle for years of my life. When I was in one of the low points, I would get so mad at myself and then absolutely dread getting back into my workout routine. Even though I knew I would feel better in the end, it’s those initial runs where you can barely make it around the block or when The Hundred feels more like The Thousand that had me dreading retaking the first step.
I know you can relate to this. Despite our best intentions, sometimes life gets in the way, and our health and fitness take a backseat. Listen to me when I tell you that is normal but not inevitable. So how do we overcome this?
What I realized looking back on those experiences is I was going about fitness the wrong way. I needed to work on my mental game. I needed to get to the point where my mental state was in the want to and not the have to when it came to working out. This is perhaps harder than any physical aspect of exercise. How do we make that shift?
The first thing I did was totally change my workouts, more specifically, my expectations when it came to working out.
I am a runner and always get great results mentally and physically from running. It’s my meditation. There was a time when I was clocking 3-4 miles a day and beating myself up when my body wasn’t feeling it, and I would have to walk or cut a run short. I started dreading my morning runs to the point where I would find any excuse not to do it (humm…looks like it might rain). I loved to run and knew that something was wrong if this was the way I was approaching them. So I gave myself some grace and stopped running 6 days a week. I dropped down to 2-3 days a week. You know what? That is a hell of a lot more manageable, and the most surprising thing was that I was now able to kill the runs that I was getting in each week.
As for my Pilates practice, I used to believe that anything less than an hour of Pilates wasn’t worth my time. So if I didn’t have an hour, I would just skip it entirely. I started the realize, especially after I had kids, that my time in the studio or on my mat had shrunk considerably and my body started to let me know in a big way; I had aches and pains, a short fuse and my endurance and strength were beginning to wain.
Just like with my running, my expectations were getting in the way of my own success both physically and mentally.
To get my Pilates practice back on track, I did two things:
- I scheduled a regular 60-minute private session with my instructor for once a week (check out my blog on why I think privates are the best bang for your buck). I made sure I planned it for a time when the rest of my life (i.e., my kids, job, etc.) couldn’t get in the way. I paid up front for 10 classes and made it a non-negotiable. This way, I knew that I would get at least 1 hour of Pilates in a week.
- I started to embrace the 15-30 minute blocks of free time I found in my day and used them to get in a little Pilates. This might look like a 30 minutes online class or 15 minutes of stretching or abdominal work in front of the TV as I catch up on my favorite show.
What I described above is manageable for me and ensures that exercise remains a regular part of my life no matter what else is going on. When I started to add up the exercise sessions I was getting in, no matter how short, I realized how much I was actually able to accomplish, and it felt great both physically and mentally. I was no longer beating myself up for being unable to meet unreasonable expectations too. Let’s be honest; it’s not the minutes or hours that you intend to do, it’s the ones that you actually complete that matter.
To schedule, a regular in-person private or virtual session reach out to me and we can schedule a time and place to ensure that it works for your schedule and meets your needs. For online classes of various lengths that you can do anytime and anywhere check out my online membership.