Typically my posts are chuck-full of helpful tips, recipes, photos of my fabulously fit friends, and lists of “how-tos.” This one is a tad different, much more “me.”
I’ve been obsessed with health and fitness since I was 16 years old. I had a best friend (shout out to you Clinton Fletcher) who reluctantly drug me along to the high school weight room after classes. I’d pretend I had an inkling of what I was doing, lugging metal around and pressing the bar (barely) from my chest back into his hands. Thank goodness for spotters, am I right?
Usually, I’d end somewhere sweating on a cardio machine or slapping my soles against pavement as I ran until my lungs collapsed. Heading home I’d reach into the cupboards and rip open a granola bar – chocolate dipped were my fav.
Anyway, somewhere along the way I realized: I LOVE THIS! I found a coach, excessively watched YouTube tutorials of proper form, and began busting my butt in the gym for hours a day. My nutrition was on point. I was healthier than ever before, crushing my goals, and truly loving every minute of it.
Fast-forward to today – six years later, and the scene doesn’t look quite the same. Sure, I still binge watch YouTube tutorials, consult with a coach, choose healthy foods (most of the time), and make sure to sweat on a daily basis. The difference? The gym is no longer my lifeline.
I no longer cringe at the thought of scarfing down a chocolate chip cookie after dinner. I can sleep in on a Saturday instead of getting an extra hour of HIIT in. I’ve realized long walks soothe my soul now as opposed to 6-mile-long runs. I’ve found balance, and along with it, I’ve found a love for health – not just fitness.
Though I love this newfound sense of balance, there are days where it feels as if the fitness side of me is screaming, “Let me out! I miss you!” I look in the mirror and think, “Where did my abs go? Are my thighs getting bigger? Do I even lift?”
Fitness Kaili can be awful sometimes I tell ya.
These thoughts begin to seep into my rosy new world and cause me to question if I’m doing it right. Am I missing something? Am I truly just lazy? Should I care more about my body? Am I doing enough? Am I enough?
Sound like you? If so, stop right there! It’s OK if the gym has begun to take a back seat to other aspects of your life. We’re busy beings! We’ve got lots to do and lots to see. However, these thoughts could also be a wake-up call to remind you that health is important and your body needs love.
Next time you’re thinking this way, ask yourself these 5 questions to decide if the gym has really taken a back seat, or simply yelled “Shot gun!” and moved to the passenger side.
- How does your body feel? Are you lethargic and fatigued all the time? Do you feel bloated and icky? Or are you full of energy and able to perform everyday tasks? If your body says, “I need more attention,” it could be shouts from your backseat driver. But if it says, “I feel amazing! Never been better,” you’re probably overthinking things.
- Have you actually given the gym the cold shoulder? Or have you been sick, putting in extra hours at work, spending more time with family, or doing something else that’s needed your attention for a few days. Skipping the gym for the kicks of it is one thing, genuinely needing to get other things done first is another. As we get older our priorities change, and that’s OK. However, health should always top the list – but that doesn’t necessarily mean hours of gym time.
- How long has it been since you got in a good sweat? A few days, a few weeks, or a few months? A couple of days off can be incredibly healing for the body and the brain. But both need movement, so if it’s been a few flips of the calendar since you’ve smelled sweat, it’s probably time to get back in there. Plus, once you feel that rush of Adrenaline, you’ll be hooked again.
- What’s replaced that time in the gym? Re-connecting with friends? Volunteering? Reading? Writing? Doing something you love? Mental health matters just as much as physical health. If you’ve dedicated more time to fueling that side of your life, props to you! Don’t sweat it.
- How does your mind feel? Are you happy and satisfied with life? Or do you feel down, grumpy, or lost? The mind body connection is incredibly strong – pay attention to it. If your mind says, “I’m not feeling myself” it might be your body saying, “Me either.”
At the end of the day, you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete or marathon runner to keep a healthy body going. And it’s OK if you haven’t seen the inside of the gym or hit the trails in a while. Just check in with yourself and figure out why – then decide where to go from there.
You got this. One day at a time.