It’s been an interesting past few months. We’ve been stripped back to the basics, with no choice but to maintain the multiple aspects of our daily lives within the confines of our immediate environment.
It’s been challenging, yet refreshing. On a personal level, the restriction of choice has helped bring a sense of clarity; I’ve gained increased awareness of what's important to me & the few things needed to maintain sanity! I've adjusted several aspects of my lifestyle - my approach to training being one.
Pre-lockdown, I existed in quite a regimented training structure. I'd lift heavy (front squats & deadlifts) 3-4 times per week. I was about 5-6kg heavier than today. Far from a ‘gym bro’, I was still in a somewhat of a pursuit of aesthetics & numbers.
Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying my training. But, the time apart from the heavy weights has allowed for reflection & realisation. I've been able to assess how my body feels, whether that approach was sustainable, & what I truly find fulfillment in.
Recently, I’ve drifted more & more towards both bodyweight training, running & just playing football. . It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to commit as much time to simply having a ball at my feet. I can’t lie, I've missed it.
There's elements of my pre-lockdown training that I’ll undoubtedly continue with once gym's reopen - the feeling you get from moving a lot of weight is a good one -, but there’s no doubt that moving forward I'll be spending less time training in the gym & more time outside using my environment. Weather permitting, of course.
We go through several phases, periods of our life, that reveal to us a deeper understanding of our true motives. For me, these past few months have prompted me to make a conscious decision to pursue enjoyment; to commit to activity that brings me satisfaction from the inherent process of doing it.
FIND WHAT YOU LOVE
Enjoyment is crucial not only to training, but to the maintenance of health.
Why? Well, health is the product of consistent & prolonged commitment to a set of behaviours. Contrary to what you see marketed at you in the health & fitness world, significant & sustained change doesn’t come about after a few weeks of commitment. Nor even a few months.
Change is the result of continued & consistent lifestyle adaptation. It’s an ongoing process.
So where does enjoyment come into all this? Well, when we enjoy what we do, consistency & adherence becomes easy. Our perspective shifts; rather than viewing aspects of our lifestyle as something we ‘have’ to do - or as sacrifices we must make - we view them as opportunities for enjoyment, growth, & self-development.
If you’re guilty of perpetually putting off the things you know you ought to be doing, firstly, cut yourself some slack. Getting started is the hardest part.
Beyond that, take the time to think about the things you truly enjoy. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some kind of activity that you can begin introducing into your lifestyle immediately. If you can’t think of anything just yet, don’t panic.
What that means is that you’re essentially a blank canvas. You have the freedom to experiment and try out new, different activities - until you find one that suits you & your desired lifestyle.
Perhaps it’s walks in nature, it could be martial arts, it could be yoga. Try as many different activities as you can. The process of doing so can be humbling, but also drives self-awareness & self-growth.
It’s important to recognise that it can also take time to derive enjoyment from an activity; the discomfort of being a complete beginner can be demotivating. So whatever you opt for, stick at it. Try it for at least a month. The learning process & development of necessary skills is gradual, but once you begin to notice progress you'll find it highly rewarding.
Once you find activity that you enjoy, you become an active participant. The consequent satisfaction & results you’ll experience will provide you with the necessary motivation to maintain commitment, and therefore achieve real change in your well-being.
It’s Not What You Do - It's How You Do It
I've realised lately that the mindset I hold towards my training largely dictates what I get out of it.
When I view training as something that I have to do to achieve a certain goal, the inherent enjoyment of the process can be sucked out of it.
I've recognised that for me to get the maximum satisfaction & results from my training, it's vital I become immersed in the process of doing it - viewing it as an end in itself as opposed to a means to an end.
If we can find activity that we love doing, that's obviously ideal. But, sometimes it’s not a question of what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it - the mindset we hold towards the activity. This applies to everything in life. When we approach even the most mundane of tasks with a renewed & fresh mindset, we can find enjoyment & growth in the process.
Wanna start taking steps to improve your health & well-being? Get yourself a copy of my free e-book "5 Hacks to Enhanced Health".
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