2017 isn’t over yet, but I think I speak for most by saying it’s been the year for activism. No matter what your politics may be, we have had ample opportunity in every way and from every angle to make our voices heard, and to speak up for what we believe in. Whether it be on a social media platform, a simple conversation among peers, or traveling to a march or rally, stakes have become too high to simply sit silently on the sidelines.
And it started me thinking about how that same principle has guided me through my physical life this year. It’s been a busy & chaotic year juggling work & family – and there have been moments where the thing that had to suffer was my exercise regimen. I had gotten to the point where I thought I had to “do it all” and do it harder & stronger every time, so that when I didn’t have enough space in the day for it, I would be frustrated and let it go altogether. This was the biggest mistake I could make, as it affected not just my physical stamina, but my state of mind. As my husband says, I am an all or nothing kind of girl. I had to work on my "middle gears" . So I adjusted my attitude to grant myself flexibility & forgiveness. I started just showing up. And if that meant only running on the treadmill for 15 minutes and doing 5 minutes of biceps & triceps – that’s what I did. The result was a happier me as I was going back to my philosophy of “sweat every single day” – which keeps me not just physically, but mentally fit as well.
I woke up the other morning to a story on my news feed which really resonated with me. It was an article about Bob Harper, the famously fit CrossFit guru from the Biggest Loser, who had a heart attack out of the blue earlier this year, and was just getting back to exercising. He was talking about how right before his heart attack whenever he worked out it had to be better than the last time, and as intense as possible. He ignored the signs his body was giving him, and pressed on. Since his recovery from the near fatal attack, he mixes up his workouts with yoga & cycling, and doesn’t feel the need to push himself to extremes, takes it more slowly, but still getting results.
There is a time and a place for intensity for sure, but the “no pain no gain” principle cannot be our daily mantra. Slowing it down, mixing it up, listening to our body, finding those "middle gears", resting – these need to all be part of our exercise regimen. Whatever you can do, you do. Write to your congressman one day, speak to your close minded neighbor the day after that, and go to that rally with your best friends next month. Whatever you do, don’t stop because you can’t do it all. Get something in each day. Don’t sit silent. Don’t be stagnant. Show up - every day.