Until I recently began working with a trainer, I must confess that I had never spent much time in the gym. In fact, it really wasn’t until college (when I was on my own for the first time, working and going to school) that I began to realize that regular exercise needed to become part of my life. I had gained a few pounds, so I bought some rollerblades (yes, I said rollerblades!) and began doing long laps around Green Lake near where I lived – why I never took advantage of the incredible rec center at University of Washington, I can’t tell you. Fast forward a couple of decades and two beautiful daughters and cardio (though no more rollerblades ;-)) and healthy nutrition just weren’t cutting it anymore. So as I said, I realized that I needed to do something different and to help me with the process, I found a gym and trainer that would both keep me interested, and from hurting myself! Below are a few things I’ve learned so far from the process:
- Start. I took way too long researching gyms, types of exercise programs, types of trainers and so on before I started. While a little research is fine, the most important thing you can do if you want to make a change in your life is to get moving in a direction that takes you away from your current circumstances. Inertia is defined as “a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged,” so motion in any direction away from the status quo is going to be productive. Might you (as I was) be really bad at your new endeavor in the beginning, you bet. But as you gain experience in your “new thing,” you’ll be able to refine your technique and adjust both your direction and goals. That’s probably why Nike’s famous tagline, “Just Do It,” resonated so deeply with so many people around the world.
- Take three deep breaths then get back at it. Obstacles are a fact of life, both in and out of the gym. When I feel my energy dropping and the quality of my movements starts degrading (which can lead to injury), my trainer has me literally take three deep breaths (i.e. a short break) and then continue. I have found this approach to be shockingly effective in my day-to-day life as well; whether dealing with traffic on my way to meetings or the girls’ practices, working through homework, the seemingly never ending pile of laundry and dishes, or my husband deciding to wash the colors with the whites (again!). Just take three deep breaths and get back at it. Don’t lose your momentum and allow zero inertia to take hold all over again.
- You are capable of achieving more than you know. There are times in the gym when I have reached failure and yet, with the encouragement of my trainer, I am able to finish the set of whatever diabolical exercise he has devised for me. The point is, life is constantly grinding us moms down to the point that we forget how capable we are and that we can, in fact, rise to the occasion and achieve what sometimes would seem impossible. I think many of us have started to believe the naysayers who would limit our potential for greatness, when we really have so much more to contribute if we decide to just dig deep. It may be really hard and really uncomfortable, but YOU CAN!
- We need a support team. As with the example above, when we face and push through life’s challenges, having someone (or better yet, some people) there cheering us on enables us to succeed. In my life, I’m blessed with both family at home and amazing business partners who provide me with the support that I need to win. Life can be very hard at times, so being intentional about building your support team is critical. Explaining to family, friends and business partners your goals and enlisting their support in advance will help keep you from being derailed as you pursue your dreams.
- Time and intensity are a powerful combination – if you are consistent. One of the first things my trainer told me was that to achieve my goals I would need three things, time, intensity and consistency. If I failed or refused to give any one of them, I would be disappointed with my results. I thought about that and said to myself “wow, that pretty much sums up anything in life!” Many of us are willing to kick in and give great time and intensity in short bursts, but doing so consistently seems to be the hardest part of that “trio of success.” It gets back to momentum and inertia; picture a locomotive getting a train moving from a standstill and the incredible amount of time and intensity it takes to get things moving just a few inches at a time. After a while though, if that locomotive consistently applies energy, the train has positive inertia and will keep going (and will do so with less intensity than required initially). Whether in fitness or business (or anything) the analogy applies, and the most frustrating thing you can let happen is to find yourself at a standstill because of inconsistency.