Every now and then, I like to reflect on my journey through life and in this blog I will try to share and summarise some of my experiences. For as long as I can remember, training and working out has been a solid foundation of my lifestyle; it is my joy and love.
A few years ago, I came to realise that without educating myself about and doing the proper research on healthy eating and different types of exercise, I was actually harming my body. While I was trying to recover from previous injuries, I was causing more damage and making things worse.
Exercise had the same effects on me as it would do to someone addicted to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. You’re probably thinking that “a lot of exercise can’t be that bad for you because it makes you healthy”. The amount of exercise I did wasn’t good for me and it didn’t make me healthier. The aim of fitness in general is not only to boost your energy levels, but to make you happy and healthy.
I wanted to be perfect; I was being anal about my self-image at a time when I should have been having fun. I was stripped of my confidence and incredibly insecure. I was a walking critique of myself. I compared myself to all of the glamorous women around me; I wanted to be thin, athletic, beautiful and successful just like they were. Because of these feelings of inadequacy, I spent at least 3 hours a day in the gym, pushing myself to the point where I was drained and exhausted.
Training, not draining
Now I understand how my “workouts” had worked against my body; I trained for a max of 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. I was running for 90 minutes, lifting weights and boxing. For a while, I felt like the weight of all that stress was being lifted off my shoulders (pun intended). At the time it was a great release, but after a while it became more of an escape. I was frustrated; once I left the gym I wasn’t really happy, and it was doing more damage than improving my physical wellbeing. Every diet plan I tried left me broke, depressed and dissatisfied. Dieting messed up my hormone levels, which made me even feel more down and withdrawn. It was a vicious and sabotaging cycle.
The “real” me is actually more sensitive and fragile than what shows on the outside. Now, after working towards a new optimistic frame of mind and seeking advice, I am fit and healthy again. I am the person that I want to be. Recently, I started working with coaches /personal trainers form Integrated Movement Arts (IMA). I have learnt how to use my body; understanding where I was going wrong and why I felt so unsatisfied with the lack of results after working out for so long. It has made such a positive impact upon my life and I would highly recommend seeking a coach or taking a course on the website.
I can see how much of an influence the media had on how I viewed myself in comparison to others and I believe that I am still influenced by it to some extent, but now I feel like I have control over the way I see things. My recovery from old habits has paved the way to a healthier outlook on life, where I am happy and am no longer suffering from mental and physical stress. The quality of my everyday life has definitely improved.
Understanding the differences between “exercise”, “practice” and “workouts” has been liberating. When I started going to the gym I was doing grilling and pointless workouts, but now as I come to integrate my body in movement, play, and general enjoyment of the process, I find I’m freeing myself in ways that I once found were alien concepts. I admit that I am still learning, although I have come to accept myself and my physical abilities more. A great quote to sum up my experiences is “exercise is optional but movement is a must” Frank Forencich.
Note to self: “I will no longer treat my body as a prisoner and punishing myself. I am more than happy being imperfectly perfect. My wellbeing comes first”.
Your body is a precious gift; you should honour it and respect it by taking care of yourself. If you know anybody who may benefit by reading this, then please share and just maybe it might change someones perspective towards exercise and better enjoyment of life.