Every Tuesday morning I do a class called Fitness Solutions at Applied Fitness Solutions in Ann Arbor with the class starting sharply at 6AM and ending at 7AM. The first 20 minutes of the class consists of three different weight lifting movements. This morning it was RDL’s, lateral sweeps with a band, and bench press on an incline. We did each exercise three times with 15-20 reps, so basically 60 RDL’s, 60 lateral sweeps, and 60 bench presses. The pace is quick as you are paired with a partner and as soon as they’re done then it’s your turn again. By the time you get to the 16th rep on your third set, your arms and legs feel like jelly. On the flip side, by this time you have buns of steel and convince yourself if you keep going, your body will slowly look like Kelly Ripa’s. After the strength portion is complete, you move into the HIIT portion of the class. This part consists of 4 stations with 6 minutes at each station, leaving you breathless, thirsty and starving.
On the second station, we had to do TRX bands with a squat. This exercise internally excites me because I’m all about getting dat a$$! Summer bodies are made in the winter, especially for us Michiganders who have nothing else to do right now. A few seconds into the circuit, my trainer stopped by and informed me this exercise is a squat WITH a jump. At this point, I quickly turned my head to him, bothered by this information. The kind of head turn from the Exorcist when Linda Blair’s head completely spins all the way around. I think to myself, “what did you say? You want me to do a squat WITH a jump at 6:30AM after I just did RDL’s? Don’t you know that my knees and butt are already in severe pain? Can’t you see I’m still out of breath from doing high knees at the last station?” This small addition to the workout takes the exercise from a four to an eight in intensity. Then I thought about it, this small addition to the exercise is only going to make me stronger and in better shape. Why am I putting mental limits on myself when my body is physically able to do this? Once I decided to commit to adding the jump, I was fine. It was my mind that was saying, “no” not my legs.
It was then in the workout that I realized I am always putting limits on myself, in and out of the gym. When something scary, unknown or difficult arises, my first reaction is “ahhh *$%#@” What I’ve slowly started to realize, is that this is absolutely the wrong approach. If I’ve never done something before or it seems difficult, instead I should approach it as an opportunity. In hindsight I should actually be grateful that I’m able to challenge myself physically, mentally, or emotionally. Once I’ve committed to the task, if I physically, mentally or emotionally can’t do it, that is okay. At the gym, this is when you modify the exercise so that you can get still get something out of the workout. In life, you go about solving the problem a different way or ask for help. It’s also important to note that mistakes are going to get made in the process, it’s inevitable. Not to sound too cliche, but I have learned most from my mistakes and those learning lessons have served me well in the gym and out of the gym. This goes back to my favorite saying, “oh well at least I know versus always wondering what if.” In that exact moment, I learned that I can actually do the exercise. I didn’t leave the gym this morning wondering if I could have pushed myself more. Challenge, change and unknown circumstances are okay and we should embrace them more. When you’re in the middle of a challenging work, situation or uncertainty remember to follow the self-care tips below:
- Always remember to breathe: I’ll never forget when a trainer told me that I am struggling with the workout because I wasn’t breathing. Learning this was a game-changer. If you are struggling through a workout, chances are you are not breathing correctly. We tend to hold our breath during strenuous exercise without realizing it. Just like in life, when we feel overwhelmed, we need to breathe through the stress.
- Rest when you need to: sometimes we need to rest during our workouts. If you’re running a long distance or putting in a couple of hours at the gym, don’t forget to stop and drink water. Also, depending on the workout allow your heart rate to slowly come down before starting back up again. Just like at work or in your personal time, you need to take breaks. Sitting in front of your computer for nine hours drinking cups of coffee, Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy’s is unproductive and bad for you. How can you possibly be focused for nine consecutive hours? It is literally impossible – you need to take breaks in order to make rational versus emotional decisions. Unless something is of urgent matter or time sensitive, I tackle all of my bigger projects first thing in the morning when I am most alert. With the remaining 30 minutes of my day, I organize my notes, look ahead to tomorrow, create to-do lists and flag e-mails in my tasks bar. That is how my brain is wired, and I’m all about working smarter.
- Get excited: I absolutely love the workouts that I am currently doing at Applied Fitness Solutions and Pure Barre. Part of this excitement is because of the people that I work out with at the gym/studio. They’re positive and they challenge me to push myself. This is also the same for my job. For me this is more than a job, it is a way of life and I am 100% passionate about what I do. Working in the sports and entertainment industry is fascinating, exciting and ever-changing. The people that I work for and with push me, excite me, and make me better. They’re excitement, is my excitement even when a project does not directly affect or impact me. This mentality is from our CEO down and I feel incredibly grateful for my career. If you’re not loving your workouts, career path, the people you hang out with, etc. you can should change it up. Don’t be afraid to do something new or start over again. You only get one life and in my opinion, you should make the absolute most of it.
Have a great rest of the week & remember you CAN!