Recently, I have been on a personal journey of fitness. Both physical, spiritual, and emotional. And in this post I’m going to dabble a little into all three aspects, why they are important to me as an individual, and the mindsets I do my best to foster.
I started this journey of physical fitness and body building rather recently, but had previously dabbled rather halfheartedly into it before, but at that time it just fizzled off into nothing. I either rather conveniently forgot or just didn’t feel like doing anything. But I figured, why quit in the first place? It doesn’t do me any good to quit in the long run…I’d still be just as exhausted as ever, struggling for breath just by walking up the hill after getting the mail. I’d still barely be able to stand carrying the 50lb pounds of chicken feed to the coop….I’d still be lazing about in my spare time, feeling like I should probably do something, but not having the motivation to actually do it. I’m a tall girl, 5.11, and my body is naturally built strongly…but I was wasting it. I wasn’t doing anything about it, so I was tired all the time, pretty depressed and anxious, had very low muscle mass, and had ZERO motivation to do anything. But a few things happened two weeks ago at once that got me thinking.
Previously, my mom and I had been working out on an exercise trampoline that we have in our living room, approx. five minutes, three times a day, spaced out in morning, afternoon, and evening. When she went on a week long trip to Kansas, I fell out of the habit, though I didn’t even notice it at the time. And although working out for 15 spaced out minutes a day felt pretty good, it still wasn’t as much as I needed to get stronger, or happier. After she got back, and after some motivational self talk, and some much needed encouragement from my two best friends, I decided to get back in the game. I don’t currently have the funds to go to the gym with one of my friends, but that doesn’t have to stop you from working out at home. I think when some of us hear the word “fitness” or “workout” we immediately picture a gym setting. All those wonderful, fancy machines, other people working out next to you, looking good and making you feel more motivated to actually do what you’re doing. (Or…sometimes making you feel less than capable, which isn’t true at ALL…) But that’s not what you actually need to work out. You have to find that motivation within yourself. I WANT to be stronger…I WANT to be healthier, I WANT to be happier–less anxious, more secure. If you want something bad enough, trust me you’ll do something about it.
Physical labor of any kind makes my body feel good. It makes me feel like I’ve DONE SOMETHING with my day. Our bodies are meant to function like well-oiled machines, yet so often we just sit around and do nothing, literally nothing, about it. I know because that’s what I did, and sometimes still do. I let the “rust” build, and my machine of a body just sat back in some dusty corner. Disused and ill-cared for. I can honestly say that I got really tired, of being REALLY TIRED. So, tiredness aside, wimpy muscles aside, no gym or workout equipment aside from a 10lb weight and a trampoline….every excuse that I’ve come up with aside…I started to work out. But listen, you can’t go from 0 to 100 in one day, one week, or one month. It takes a long time to build your body, and for some people it takes longer than others. You might not see ANY results for a while, and that can be discouraging…but when you see that first glimpse of a bicep standing out just a LITTLE more than it used to, when you do the classic “Lift with your Legs” at work, and that heavy box that felt like you were carrying an elephant just got a LITTLE bit easier…those are HUGE motivation boosters. But they do take a long time in some cases, and you can’t let that beat you down. When you wake up in the morning after working out the previous day, you might feel sore and stiff as a board, but don’t let that stop you from gently stretching, each day. That stretching will eventually pay off, and you’ll stop being so darn sore before, after, and during a workout.
Something you do have to be careful of, however, is what’s BEHIND your motivation. If it’s to look good in that new swimsuit…is the looking good for YOU, or is it for someone else…or a whole lot of people? I think we can very easily fall into the habit of people-pleasing, because I am very guilty of that. But that’s not the right motivation. Don’t do it for other people, do it for YOU, for YOURSELF, and most importantly, do it for GOD, because HE gave you YOUR body, and it’s between you and Him, how you treat it, how you value it, what you do each and every day to treasure that body. Personally, the way I feel that between me and God that I can treasure my body the best, is by working out. My goal? To be stronger, to be faster, healthier, happier, more peaceful. I will pursue joy in every way I can, as long as it honors the Lord. I think working out is a truly wonderful thing to do, but you have to really love YOURSELF before you will be able to do it in the right mindset. If you go at it with a mindset of hating yourself, being disgusted, discouraged, and wanting to change who you are for other people…that’s the wrong mindset to have. That will NOT bring you happiness at all. Sure, you might feel a rush in the moment, but I’m talking about long term happiness here, not happy for a few days, not happy for a few minutes, but happy for the home run, the long term, the long haul of life.
And another thing, you have GOT to be proud of YOURSELF for EVERY little thing you accomplish in working out. You’re not always gonna have those other people to cheer you on, and even when you do, if you’re not fostering that self motivation, that self love, that self praise in yourself, you’re gonna get nowhere. Honestly, you really do have to say it outloud to yourself “Hey! Great job, I’m really proud of you working so hard…I know it’s hard, I know it hurts, I know you don’t want to, and yet YOU STILL DO IT, that’s motivation.” You add and take out your own lines, and yeah, it might feel kinda dumb and silly saying those kinds of things to yourself, but trust me it pays off. And it really does work! You also have to realize that the only “Person” that you want to be proud of you, is God. And guess what….He IS PROUD OF YOU, you don’t have to work out, work hard, do a ton of stuff to make Him proud of you… HE IS PROUD OF YOU, because YOU are HIS child. Not because of what you do, what you don’t do, what you want to do. As mothers and fathers, you don’t love your kids for what they do or don’t do. You love them because they are your BABIES, those are your kids man, you adore them no matter what. That’s the thing, GOD LOVES YOU THE SAME WAY. He really does, and you have to believe that, because that is what’s gonna get you through everything.