Over the past two years, my exercise mindset has shifted. In the past, I focused on pushing myself to maximum capacity. I would sacrifice consistency, enjoyment, variation, form, mobility, flexibility, and rest for the sake of increased reps, weight, and "mental toughness," all because of an internal competitive, perfectionistic urge. However, now, as college athletics has come to a close, I've taken a different, far healthier, and more balanced approach to exercise.
I've abandoned the ultra-intense collegiate athletic mindset and adopted a balanced mindset. My balanced mindset is compromised of 1) consistency + enjoyment + variation, 2) proper form 3) mobility + flexibility, and 4) rest.
Consistency + Enjoyment + Variation: Instead of killing myself in a workout and then needing a few days off because it was so miserable, I've moved towards consistency, enjoyment, and variation. For me, pushing myself in a workout is hard-wired. I can't help but desire a hard physical workout, and maximum output (which varies day-to-day!) This is why implementing consistency + enjoyment + variation is so helpful.
Consistency: I choose to follow a workout program that keeps me consistently working out 5-6 days a week.
Enjoyment: I choose to move my body in ways I truly enjoy! I follow a specific workout each day, so I no longer can give into the gym guilt. In the past, I often went to the gym without a plan and often left feeling guilty if I wasn't completely exhausted and maxed out. Following a plan allows for me to feel proud & accomplished at the end of each workout, knowing I did what I set out to do.
Variation: My workouts are different every day to keep my mind & muscles guessing. This helps me stray from boredom and plateauing. I also vary the length and intensity of my workouts. For example, in my current program, I workout 20-30 minutes 6 days/week (one of the day of stretching) for 100 days. This past winter I followed a program where I exercised at a high intensity, mentally challenging level for 45-60 minutes 5 days/week for 6 weeks. Variation allows for different seasons of life to happen, for continued challenges, continued growth, and continued enjoyment!
Proper Form: This is the most important thing I focus on when I exercise! I make sure I enage my core in each move, and perform each exercise carefully, and properly. Improper form can often lead to injuries and poor results.
Mobility + Flexibility: My hope in prioritizing mobility + flexibility in my workouts is to cultivate an injury-free, vibrant, and energetic future! I want (Lord willing) future pregnancies that are as optimized as possible, energy to play with kids and grandkids, and the ability to stay active outdoors for as long as possible.
Rest: Lastly (and quite possibly most importantly), I prioritize rest. I listen to my body when it needs a break, and I don't give in to guilt for taking a break! Without rest, I could not...
...be consistent in my workouts
...enjoy my workouts
...vary my workouts
...maintain proper form in my workouts
...cultivate mobility or flexibility
Proper rest allows my body to recover, heal, and rejuvenate. Simply put, proper rest allows for all of the above to be possible!
These four balanced mindset shifts allow me to approach my workouts as an opportunity to care for my body, improve my health, optimize my daily productivity, and as an opportunity to energize myself. These mindset shifts changed my outlook on wellness, and it is such a gift!
I want to challenge you to reflect on the way you view health, wellness & exercise. If it feels a bit imbalanced, I'd be honored to partner with you through one-on-one health coaching as you reassess how to view your health, wellness, & exercise.