There will be setbacks, but that’s ok. Fitness and wellness are projects you will work on for your whole life. There is no end goal for a lifetime of being healthy.
I’ve started over a bunch of times. That fact used to worry me. Will I always struggle with eating issues? Is weight always going to be a factor in my life? Will I ever be as strong as I want to be? I used to worry all the time. I used to yo-yo diet and try the newest fitness craze (Crossfit, I’m looking at you) to get “the perfect body”. It was as physically exhausting as it was mentally exhausting.
I have gone years where I was “on track” and in top physical condition. I spent an hour or two in the weight room at 7am before classes and then hit the treadmill after school and work later that night. I fell into bed exhausted and sore but happy. That did it for me at that time of my life. That was exactly what I wanted at that time. But I’m not always there, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.
The first time I injured myself working out, it was a shoulder injury. They are pretty common and even people who don’t lift are often prone to shoulder injuries purely because of the mechanics of the shoulder complex. With an injured shoulder, I still did half marathon training and ran a Tough Mudder. When I partially tore my rotator cuff later in the year, I took things a little more seriously and did what I needed to in order to get better.
That shoulder injury was just a minor setback. When I was back in the weight room, I knew I had lost a lot of strength. I agonized over it at times when I was moving half the amount of weight I was lifting before my injury. Little by little though, I got stronger.
While training to compete, back in top physical condition, I suffered a low back injury. I ignored it for as long as I could until I was unable to get through a single day without suffering. When I saw a spine specialist, I learned that I had done some damage and would need physical therapy. My doctor told me that I would never be able to bear weight overhead in the manner that I had been. I was devastated. For a while, I ignored her advice. I continued to do what I had been doing in addition to physical therapy. I saw slight improvement from my pain but my quality of life was still quite low. I finally accepted that I needed to slow down and focus on getting better. I stopped lifting and changed my approach to working out. I incorporated more functional training into my routine, became serious about yoga and started taking physical therapy seriously.
Because I had to slow down significantly, I put on some weight. At first, I was really bummed out. It made me sad that I didn’t look like I did when I was in top shape. But then something interesting started to happen. I started to notice my friends and the people around me achieving amazing goals. My friend Julie ran a half marathon. My friend Steve completed a Spartan trifecta. My aunt Gail got certified to teach kettlebells. I saw people at Vent Fitness killing NXT Bootcamps at all fitness levels. I realized that just because I was down, doesn’t mean I was out. So, I started over again and I feel awesome about it.
You might not be an athlete. You might not be training for anything other than “life”. If you get off the fitness horse because your job gets in the way, you have a baby, you just never have the motivation or the time to get to the gym, or one of many of the other reasons why we might drift away from our goals, try not to let it eat you up. Try changing your goals. Maybe you can only give 30 minutes, twice a week right now. Start wherever you are and go from there. Start over again because its ok.
There will be setbacks. Fitness and wellness are projects you will work on for your whole life. There is no end goal for a lifetime of being healthy.We are all on this journey together and we will be waiting for you.