When Does “Being Disciplined” Go Too Far?

I’m sure we all know someone who never misses a workout- no matter how tired, busy, sick, hungover, etc.- they will do whatever it takes to get a workout in. Full disclosure: this was me, to a certain extent,  up until just a few years ago.  And while some people may still think that’s me (social media only shows a little part of who I am!), these days I take plenty of rest days, especially if any of the above mentioned things are happening. Now, working out is a GOOD thing. A POSITIVE thing. Not a punishment or something I feel like I HAVE to do.

I got to thinking about this because I’ve heard a lot of people lately talk to me about people in their lives who never miss a workout, and these people tell me this in a way that almost makes it seem like their friend/family member/coworker/significant other is better than them for it: “He/She is so disciplined- never misses a run or a workout.”,  “He/She is always at the gym! I don’t know how he/she finds time for it”,  “He/She works out before work and after work- talk about dedication!”.

This got me to thinking- is this good? Is this something admirable? Is this something we should praise people for? Is this something we should strive for? Or compare ourselves to? When does “being disciplined” go too far, and end up controlling your day to day activities and schedule?

In short, no. I don’t think we should compare ourselves to those who are “so disciplined”. I don’t think we should think we are less than those who are “so disciplined” because we take rest days, skip days, do lighter workouts, etc. At the end of the day, we are all different and we all need/want different things. Our bodies are different and work differently, so what works for some people might not work for you- and that is OK.

But, coming from a recovering exercise addict, I can say it’s not for me, and I am so much happier not being “disciplined”. In fact, I put the word in quotations because I don’t actually believe it’s being disciplined when you never let yourself miss a workout or take some time off. Our bodies need rest. They need time off in order to help us recover, repair and build muscle. When I was working out day after day for 10-14 days in a row (embarrassed to admit that!), I was always tired, I was always sore and I was more prone to injury. Plus, mentally it was awful. If I missed a day I would feel so awful and so guilty. I would feel “good” if I did a class or two or an hour-two hour workout. I would feel “bad/guilty” if I missed a workout or took a rest day. And you know what? For me, that was no way to live.

At this point, some may say I’m not “disciplined”, but that’s ok- I’m healthy and I’m happy and I have a much better relationship with my mind and my body. I workout because it makes me happy and feel good. But I also rest because it makes me happy and feel good. There’s a fine line to find this balance and I’ll be the first to admit that coming from one end or the other of it, this balance likely won’t happen overnight. It’s something that requires work, but I’m so happy that I’ve worked for it because I am much happier and healthier (mentally and physically) because of it.

With that, I urge those of you who might compare yourself to others who seemingly “always workout” to stop comparing yourself- you don’t know what might be driving them to push themselves so hard. And for those of you who might still be struggling with taking rest days without feeling guilty, I just want to say it takes time to fully embrace the rest, but it is GOOD to rest and take time off from intense physical activity. I’m not saying you need to sit on the couch and do nothing, but maybe swap out a run or lift session for a long walk or some other “active rest” activity (shopping, stretching, cleaning, etc.).

I plan to do another post with more specific ways to learn how to embrace rest, so I would love to hear your tips, struggles, challenges, successes, etc. I love being able to incorporate your tips, trial and error experiences and things of the like. So- do you tend to align more with the “ultra disciplined” end of the workout spectrum, the middle or do you struggle with motivation to workout? Have you had to work to move from one end of the spectrum to the other? If so, what worked or didn’t work? What was the most helpful?

Reflecting on 31 & Looking Forward to 32

April 14th. My Birthday. It’s crazy how quickly this day seemed to sneak up on me this year. When I was younger (and by younger,  I mean like up until just a few years ago), I would be so obnoxious about my birthday- err- birthmonth, birthweek, etc. However, as I get older, I’m starting to lose that a bit. To be honest, I feel like this year my birthday totally snuck up on me- I feel like I was just planning our wedding! While I don’t think I’ll ever think of my birthday as “just another day”, I have taken a lot of the hype and expectation out of it, which helps me enjoy and soak in the day more.

As I started to write up a list of my favorite memories of the past year, I realized that I already hit on most of them in my 2016 reflections post that I shared at the beginning of the year. I guess that means they were really my favorite things, huh? 😉

As I look back over the year, I can’t help but feel so thankful and so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life, as well as hobbies that I am so passionate about. And even though blogging has its frustrating moments, being able to go back through the year by reading through the blog posts I’ve written is pretty wonderful, and makes me so happy that I’ve continued to write, not to mention it’s helped me connect with so many of you!

As for 32, I have no idea where this year will bring me, and that’s totally OK. These days, I’m trying to focus on living more in the moment and worrying less about the “what ifs” of the future. I continue to try and do things that make me happy and that I truly want to do, rather than because I feel like I should. After reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, I’m also trying to better balance what I give a F*ck about, and letting go of the little things that, in the bigger picture, mean absolutely nothing and just take up unnecessary mental space. Life is just too damn short for that!

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me throughout it all! xoxo

Just Do Something

As part of one of my book clubs, we read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson. This book was incredible- a true must-read for everyone (seriously), and while I could talk about so many things, I want to first talk about one part/method that really aligned with my views regarding getting sh*t done. What he calls it is the “Do Something” principle.

In this section, Mark talks about how we have it all wrong when it comes to trying to get something done. Generally speaking, we operate in an Inspiration ->  Motivation -> Action circle, which basically means that we think in order to get things done, we first need to be inspired, which will in turn motivate us to take action.

But what about when you are having trouble getting inspired? What do you do then? Nothing, right?  It’s all too overwhelming and frustrating not being able to find inspiration to do whatever it is you need to do (work, design, workout, clean, homework, project, shopping, meal prepping, etc.).

However, the  “Do Something” principle is all about showing us that the aforementioned chain is not really the best way to go about accomplishing a task. Instead, he says that we need to DO something. Anything, really, just to get started. Once we get started, we will usually get some inspiration and then motivation to keep going and continue taking action, getting more inspired and more motivated. Make sense? In other words:

Action-> Inspiration -> Motivation

As soon as I read this, it all made so much sense, and it aligns so well with one of the messages I try to get out through my blog.  Take this list for instance (all things I talk about a lot on the blog):

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Meal Prepping
  • Working out
  • Responding to emails
  • Picking up the clutter in your house
  • Working on a big project

Am I right saying that when these are weighing on you, it’s hard to get motivation to do them. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to think about how much you have to do or how long it will take. Maybe it’s just dread because you simply don’t want to do them.

However, when you apply the “Do Something” principle to these tasks, it simply means that you just have to start. Just do something towards reaching your end goal, and that could look a little something like this:

  • Looking through your cabinents & refridgerator and making a grocery list
  • Making a meal plan for the week
  • Getting your workout clothes on, new playlist downloaded or finding a new workout to try
  • Opening your inbox and deleting all of the junk/spam/not important/no response required emails so as to knock your “unread” count down a bit
  • Creating a timeline or a “big picture” outline of what needs to go into the project

By breaking it down into small, mini-steps it does a few things: 1. It makes it seem easier and more doable and 2. Allows you to focus on what’s in front of you and what needs to get done first, rather than feeling overwhelmed by thinking about the item as a whole. The key thing here, though, is that if you just DO SOMETHING in relation to any of these things, you’re one step closer to accomplishing said task/project, and for me, that right there gives me motivation to keep going. I celebrate each small victory (making the grocery list, getting my workout clothes on and to the gym, etc.), which helps push me towards the end goal.

I just recently talked about how if I don’t want to meal prep, I tell myself to just cut up vegetables, or set a timer and see what I can get done in 30 minutes, and usually I end up going longer because the simple action of doing something motivated me to continue doing something. Same thing for the gym- if I don’t want to workout, I give myself a small goal: 10 minutes or just start by walking or just do one circuit. And again, 99% of the time once I get going, I’m motivated to keep going.

These are just a few examples, but I’m hoping that they shed a little light into ways to help you start working towards whatever it is that’s weighing on you or that’s something you dread by following the “Do Something” principle and just starting. Not worrying about finishing or the steps along the way, but just starting.

Questions for you: Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on it? How do you get yourself to do something you may not feel like doing? Does any of this resonate with you?

Wednesday Workout: 25 Minute (or less!) Shoulder Burner Workout

Hey there! Look what I have here for you- a new workout! I haven’t been making my own workouts lately as I’ve been playing along with Jen Sinkler and her #30daysofkettlebells training program. As part of this, we would get an email each day with a new KB focused workout. I did *most* of them and absolutely loved them- some were super short so I could double up, while others were longer so I kept it to just doing one of them. I think what I loved the most was that the workouts were not complicated, but they required me to use KB’s (or DB’s if I was at home), which is a piece of equipment that I still need to work at getting comfortable with.

But, sadly, the #30daysofkettlebells is over, which means I’m back to making my own workouts. I did this one on Monday and loved the way the exercises flowed from one to the next, obviously with a heavy emphasis on shoulder work, as indicated by the title 😉 I went heavy-ish (for me) with the exercises as I’m trying to increase my shoulder strength, which is why it’s only 8 reps for the non-cardio exercises. I used 20 pounds for the single arem OH press and 25 pounds for the side lunge double arm press.

In case you’d like to see demo’s, I’ve uploaded the videos from my Instagram story to YouTube:

On top of it being a shoulder burner, you’ll notice that your core is getting a workout, too- especially the obliques in the single arm OH press since you have to work to not lean away from the weight. I did 5 rounds and it took me a little under 25 minutes- just in case you need an idea of how long it will take you.

I really enjoyed this total body workout – let me know if you try it!

Questions for you: Have you been following any new workout routines lately?

You Never Know Who You May Be Inspiring

Last week was an interesting week- I worked my normal 40+ hour work week at my day job and taught 4 classes in 3 days (3 of those classes in 1 day). But, I was also able to get to the gym after work to take a class one day and then on another, I was able to come right home after work, which never happens. RM and I were even able to go out for a mid-week drink, which also never happens! It was a good mix of work and play, and even though it was tiring because of long days, there were were so many times when I felt really thankful for what I am able to do on a daily basis.

Blogging, teaching, sharing workouts, organizing workouts, etc., while so rewarding, can also be time consuming and hard “jobs”. It takes a lot of behind the scenes prep work and execution in order to make things go smoothly or to have content to share, and while I get to see people benefit from the work I put into making playlists, planning workouts, trying out new moves, etc., blogging doesn’t always provide me with such clear “rewards”. Often times- especially lately- I wonder if anyone is even reading, enjoying or relating to the posts that I write.

Do people even do the workouts I share? Do people relate to any of the more personal topics I share and talk about? Are the time saving, meal prepping, organization tips valuable or useful to anyone who might be reading this little blog?

I’ll be honest when I say that I probably question these things too much, which is a big reason behind why I haven’t been blogging as much over the past few months (although I am trying to make it more of a priority!)- why bother if no one is reading?

But last week, I had validation from three different people telling me that you guys actually DO read this little blog. You DO try the workouts. You DO relate to stories or situations I share. You DO appreciate the tips I share to make healthy living a little easier.

And while this may not seem like a big deal, it means the world to me to hear these things. To know that I am helping you in one way or another validates all of the time I spend on thinking of topics to write about and then actually writing them.

In the world of fitness, I also had validation that I am motivating and inspiring people, which is both amazing, but also humbling. I put so much time and energy into making myself the best instructor that I can be, to create challenging yet doable workouts, to connect with the members, to lead by example in my own workouts, etc., so to have people tell me that I inspired them to try something new or to get a workout in even when they didn’t want to or that they pushed themselves harder in class because they saw me pushing hard, is crazy, but crazy awesome.

And it just goes to show you that you never know who you might be inspiring by your daily actions. A simple smile, holding the door, offering your help, nailing a presentation, lifting heavy weights, doing burpees, cooking a nice meal, etc. All of those things can impact others around you without you even realizing it.

I want to challenge you this week to tell someone if they inspire or motivate you- whether it’s at work, at the gym, at home or somewhere else. Because, although simple, it could help make someone’s day (or week), and maybe even inspire or motivate them to share the love.

So, I want to thank all of you for your support and for letting me be a bit of inspiration or motivation – you guys are what make it all worth it.

If you want to hear more about why I teach and why I love it so much, check out this video. I’m really proud of how it came out 🙂