I know I am a big giant copy cat for doing a Fitness Friday post. I am sure TONS of bloggers do that same thing. But I like alliterations, I guess that is probably obvious by now. Plus I don't plan on making this a typical Fitness Friday post. Just you wait.
Anyway. Fitness, or movement or whatever you want to call it is an extremely important part of my life - maybe not always the most positive part of my life, but I am working really hard to change that.
I have tried so many different things and am working on developing a positive relationship with my body. To be 100% honest I do not have a perfect relationship. I do not have rock hard abs, and that really isn't even my goal. It used to be. I used to beat myself up for taking a day off or chilling out a little on a workout. I used to CrossFit 5 days a week and do Hot Yoga on the 6th and walk the dog for an hour every day. Then I herniated a disc and pinched a nerve in my back, but didn't stop working out...
Crazy huh. I was in so much pain I couldn't sit down. I had to roll out of bed onto the floor. Yet I would roll out of bed at 5 am, lie on my stomach for 30 mins until I could move, and then go to the gym. Movement did loosen me up enough to get through the day. But I probably could have stretched at home, or stuck with slow walking and physio. I probably did not need to CrossFit 5x a week. Hindsight is 20/20. The real wake-up call for me came 8 months later when I was still having back pain. I saw a specialist and he said if you keep doing what you are doing you will injure your back again, and this time it will be worse.
It has been almost a year and I still have some back and nerve pain. Which sucks. But I am so lucky to have managed to heal without needing surgery. I also do not blame the workout for my injury. It was all me and my mindset. I took on more than I could handle until my body literally snapped.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE CrossFit. You know that crazy, dizzying, addictive kind of love? That is how I feel about CrossFit. That is not the sports fault. It is my fault. So we are taking a break right now.
It has taken me a long time to learn that exercise is not a punishment thing, nor is it a morality thing. I am not a bad person if I take a rest day. In fact I just took a rest month. Exercise is a stress on your body, typically it is seen as a good stress, but the truth is that if you are already SUPER stressed your body cannot tell the different and it just keeps pilling on with crappy consequences. I actually started to notice that despite working out every day I was gaining weight. Plus I was dead tired by 10 am everyday - no that is not a typo, I meant am. I was dragging myself through the afternoon and crawling into bed by 8:30 pm. Not ideal for a high school teacher.
So that brings me to what I am doing now. First I took a month off. Then I did a month of just yoga. Now I am going to hot yoga 3x a week. I only like hot yoga - because it makes me feel more flexible. OH except I hate hot yoga when the guy behind me puts his sweaty feet on my mat and in my hair. Isn't yoga supposed to improve your body awareness?!? I know I am a b-word. BUT please take your feet out of my hair...thank you.
Anyway - sidetracked. I am focusing on balance, flexibility and core strength. My back injury came out of a weak core and poor hip flexibility. So my goal is to really build those two areas. Not to lose weight. Not to have a rock hard core. But to work on these imbalances that lead to injury.
I am also doing a home workout program from Noelle Tarr of Coconuts and Kettlebells. She has a program called Strong from Home. It is workouts and you can choose short strength or conditioning. Most of them are about 15-25 minutes long and easily modified to be shorter. I am doing a few of these workouts a week - as long as I have energy and feel good! I want to be functionally strong. So that if I have to move a couch or some boxes or whatever life throws at me I can do it. The beauty of these workout is that they are short, sweet, and can be done from my living room. I can back off if I need to. I can just stretch if I need to. I can ramp it up if I need to. It gives me the ability to be more intuitive and nicer to myself.
I do also still walk the doggy every day, but since its minus a gazillion our walks are much shorter. I am trying to no longer have the mindset of "I must workout". Instead I am focusing on moving throughout the day and feeling good. If I feel good and energetic and ready to go, then great I workout. If I feel awful and tired and stressed then maybe I take the dog on a walk and chill out a little. Like by watching The Great British Bake Off. The most wholesome show on television.
We are, as a society, so hard on ourselves and our bodies. It is not good. We are judgmental and harsh and treat ourselves and others like crap. I am not perfect. But I am really trying to shift my focus. There are a couple things I am doing to try and shift my focus away from my appearance.
- I have paired down my wardrobe so that I only have things I really love
- I am okay with cancelling a workout if I feel super stressed
- I have decided I am not buying any clothes for 1 year (unless it is 100% necessary - like I lose all my socks or something equally ridiculous)
- I am going to work really hard on not associating morality with food
- Unfollowing Instagram accounts that make me feel bad about myself
- Working on eating intuitively once I am done my 21DSD to reset my palate
- Focusing on the word freedom in my meditation/ yoga practice. Like I am free from expectations about the way my body should look
Oookay so that got a little ranty. But I feel strongly about this. I see friends pushing themselves to utter exhaustion. I pushed myself to injury and exhaustion. I see and hear my students talking about the pressure they face. I hear people talking about getting to the gym 6-7 times a week. No matter what. That kind of thing is just not sustainable, and its not even healthy. Rest days are key. Liking what you are doing is key. If you hate the treadmill then don't do it! There are so many kinds of workout out there, try them all till you find one you love! If you just love walking then do that. Seriously there are no rules. Throw those out.
We are surrounded by pressure to look a certain way and I am not saying its easy to escape that pressure. I am not saying I have mastered ignoring it. I am just saying I am trying to be kinder to myself. Trust me it is not easy. I look in the mirror sometimes and think I am just not working hard enough, and I tell myself to shut up. There is not need to be so mean to ourselves. We would never talk to our friends that why, so why do we think it is okay to talk to ourselves that way? I don't have to love my body yet, but I am working towards being neutral and just thinking about other things. Because who has all this time an energy to spend hating your body, what a waste of my precious life and time!!!! I would so much rather spend my time planning a lesson that I think could be meaningful, or cooking, or spending time with my friends or family, or working on photography, or knitting, or snuggling the doggy. There are just SO many better things I could be doing with my time.
So I encourage you to just go for a walk in nature if that is what you feel like. Or take a rest day. Or CrossFit. Or go to yoga. Or lie on the floor. Do what makes you feel good. Just be honest with yourself and have some fun!
Some of the fun movement things I like to do are: yoga, dog walking and play time, skiing, paddle boarding, gardening and hiking.
Just chill out everyone and be kind to yourself!!