If the saying "where you’re at right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be" is annoying for you it’s probably because where you are at right now is not where you want to be.
Feeling like you’re behind with your fitness, strength and, most importantly, how you want to feel in your body is hard.
But you’re not behind.
You are never behind.
Maybe you’re experiencing this feeling of frustration because ...
- You’re returning to exercise after a baby
- You’re coming back from injury
- You’ve had time away from exercise because of life
- Where you are in your cycle
- Your priorities with exercise had shifted (e.g. training for a 5KM so you focussed on building your aerobic fitness and now your strength has decreased)
- Your training has been disrupted because of a worldwide pandemic!
If things feel harder, slower, heavier than they did before, it doesn’t mean you need to do more. It just means that where you are right now is where you are. That is literally it.
Do these 2 things if you feel like you’re behind with your training.
There are two things to do from here.
1. Accept what is right now.
You put yourself into a place of suffering when you feel urgency to change your circumstances. The way to move away from suffering is to step into radical acceptance.
Radical acceptance is the process of embracing the good and the bad, the light and the dark. It is accepting the things you cannot change in this moment and acknowledging without judgement how this makes you feel. You can still feel negative emotions and be accepting of them.
2. Think critically about your circumstances and avoid attaching any meaning to it.
If you’re feeling negative things about your body or your fitness your brain will make up a host of stories about what this means about you as a human ('not good enough', 'no willpower', 'not strong enough', 'not fast enough' ...)
If you haven’t been training as consistently recently because you have a pandemic to deal with and kids to look after and your push ups have gone from 5 to 1, don’t panic! Before you make a plan to do push ups every single day from here on out to get them back, logically consider the things that have contributed to this outcome and give yourself some compassion.
Then, if doing 5 push ups again is a priority to you, reverse engineer and take the next best step, which can be as small as committing to one day a week of push up practice.
You have this incredible power called choice! At any time you can shift priorities and embark on a different journey with your fitness. It can look different than it has before.
If movement is important to you, you’re probably hoping to do it for the rest of your life. You’re invested in your fitness as a life-long practice. It will always be this up and down process, an ebb and flow of change.
Just like your life.
Fitness is a piece of you as a human. It is not everything. It is a thing that contributes to your physical wellness, physical strength and mental strength.
But it isn't your whole life.
Bring logic into the disappointments. Remind yourself of the power you have to choose how you’re going to handle the setbacks you face.
There’s a quote that says: "Don’t be afraid to start over again. You’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience."
We can easily default to this cyclical thing of feeling like we’ve messed up or feeling like we’ve regressed and that we have to start again. But you’re not behind. Every time you think you’re behind, you’ve just gained an experience and information about yourself.
You’re learning about yourself.
Starting over again is not a bad thing. It’s extremely helpful for figuring out how you don’t want to feel. Or how you do want to feel.
That is all.
If push ups feel harder than they used to, there’s no need to attach anything else to it other than curiosity: "Huh. Isn’t that interesting?’"
Practice radical acceptance, acknowledge the negative and the positive feelings.
Then, get critical about your circumstances. What are the things that contributed to where you are right now and what do you need to do to move to where you want to be and how you want to feel?
Then take the next best step.
Olivia is a women’s health and performance coach who helps women find liberation from the ‘shoulds’ of the fitness industry and the all-or-nothing mindset through training with intention and intensity. To find out more about her or get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram here and Facebook here.
Her training program Grit and Grace is opening for enrolment soon. It’s a strength and conditioning program for active women who want to feel athletic without living in the gym. Get your name on the waitlist for the next cohort here.