Here I am. Forty-four years old, married, in mid pandemic trying to figure out what’s next. Looking forward to the next goal, the next challenge and like everyone else trying to figure out how to survive. It got me thinking about how I got here and if there were any lessons or wisdom (if you can call it that) that I could pass along. I realized that you can scroll through Instagram or Facebook and find lots of posts from fit people, abs rippling, telling you to eat this, lift that, but no one that looked like me (and I’m not picking on the fit, just stating the obvious). We are all told that we are too heavy, aren’t strong enough, eat the wrong things… Media today is a blessing and a curse.
So here is what I have learned so far on this journey to become healthy (and notice it’s healthy and not fit).
This is the foundation of finding health. If you skip this piece, then maintaining health in the long term becomes nearly impossible. Sound preachy? It’s not as simple as you are what you eat, but it’s close. You won’t turn into a head of lettuce if all you eat is salad, but you may not be getting everything the body (mind and soul) need daily. You need to ensure that your meals are balanced with lots of vegetables, lean proteins and a reasonable amount of carbs. This is where I tend to struggle, because food is fun and I love to eat. There will be times when you fall off, but you can’t let it start the chain reaction that completely derails you. If you have a meal that isn’t perfect, don’t worry, just understand that the next one needs to be better.
So how can you be successful?
- Meal Prep – You are less likely to bail on the plan if you have meals ready to go.
- Have Snacks Ready – Dice the carrots and keep a stockpile of quick (healthy) snacks ready.
- Have the Pizza – A slice or two won’t hurt, but add a serving or two of vegetables on the side. Oh, and skip the garlic dipping sauce and don’t have the whole pie.
We’ve covered food, now let’s look at getting a sweat on. Over the years, I have been around the block once or twice (literally). I have a wide variety of activities in my ‘toolkit’ and over the years each has served a purpose. Regardless of what you do, consistency and habit are one of the biggest keys to success. If you don’t have to think about it and just do it, then getting the work done becomes easier. You also need to Be cognizant of your training load. I’ve done (or tried to) 7+ hard workouts a week and all it did was led to a body breakdown (more on that later). Be smart and tailor your training to how you physically feel.
Here are a few things that I’ve tried:
- Cycling (Outdoor and Indoor)
- Gym Workouts (Both Strength and Cardio)
Here is where I have to set your expectations. With all the work you are doing on your body, there will be setbacks. They aren’t always big ones, but stiffness, a sprain or just general fatigue is going to happen. Don’t get discouraged, you just need to change up your plan and take care of your body. Trust me, I have had just about everything happen to me over the course of this adventure. Modify as required, take a walk, do some Yoga or just spend some time gently stretching. All of these little things are a big investment in getting you back to full strength. Consistency is the key, if you have to take a few days off, no problem, just try and keep moving as soon as you can. Head to the Maintenance section for tips on taking care of the body.
When you go beyond the stretching, sometimes you need to seek a professional for keeping the body running in tip top shape. Some people are worried about being adjusted by a Chiropractor (I was one too, until I met Dr. Spin), but I can honestly say go see one. If you are worried, ask them not to adjust your neck, but getting into alignment is a great feeling. I’ve also spoken about the virtues of Acupuncture and if you have stress or anxiety give this post a read Buddha’s Triangle. To finish off my trifecta of awesome professionals is your friendly neighborhood RMT. There are also things you can do at home, take an Epsom Salt bath, take magnesium supplements, roll out your sore muscles, ice/heat sprains and strains and above all KEEP MOVING. A sure way to get derailed is to stop.
My Professional Team
- Massage Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Anyone else that can help…
Is that enough? I know it’s been a lot today, but I have one more important knowledge bomb for you. Be Patient with Yourself. This one is easier said than done, but it might be the most important thing you can do. Unless you are being paid to do fitness, most of us have many competing priorities. Family, work, school are usually the big three, but there are thousands of others. Sometimes you just won’t be able to get that workout in or eat that perfectly balanced meal. That is OK. Do the best you can with what you have at that time and come back full steam ahead tomorrow. Don’t be discouraged, take a note of the challenge and work to move past it. Good luck, keep working and above all, don’t stop.