What does fitness mean to you?
As a personal trainer on and off over the last 18 years, Fitness to me has always been about taking care of myself physically and mentally, as well as being fit enough to play soccer. Ok, occasionally it's also been about posting a workout to instagram with a fluffy inspirational quote, I'm only human. Once I finished playing soccer however, I've found that the mid to late 30's can be a little lonely. The regular comradery of teammates is gone and your friends from everyday life are in the same boat as you - working hard to forge a career pathway, important family commitments take centre stage and those relationships whilst still there, take a back seat and it's difficult to make time for yourself without feeling guilty about it. I've recently started training again with my best mate, sometimes it's once a week, sometimes it's twice a week but it's become a real highlight of my week. This is for a couple of reasons.
- I'm getting to hang out with my buddy
- Adding a social aspect to my health and fitness has taken the pressure off training for health
- I get to boss my friend around in the gym
So if you're working your way back into fitness I highly encourage you to try doing something you enjoy. Taking myself as an example - I've tried all sorts of training, Strength training with sets & reps, yoga, pilates, HIIT, Crossfit, Swimming, Running and so on. Over time I've come to realise that Strength training brings me the most joy. The main reason? The repetitive nature of hitting a certain amount of reps and sets is actually really calming for my mind. I tried Crossfit, not great for me because I'm too competitive so I made myself sick trying to finish first. Also, if I wanted to shout at people listening to loud music that's what nightclubs are for. Anyway, I've got a lot going on, all good stuff, just a lot. A young family of 3 kids (my house is LOUD) I work full time in the Brand department of a fitness equipment company, I still pull a radio shift at Mix 102.3 on the weekends (just to stroke my ego) and somewhere in there I want to find downtime with my wife and kids and also keep myself fit. Ooof I'm knackered just writing it all down.
If you're stuck in a rut, training doesn't have the same appeal it once had or it seems like too much of a mountain to climb - try layering a social aspect into your health and fitness goals. Training with a friend is a great way to add enthusiasm and a new sense of commitment to your training. It's also fantastic for your mental health as you're able to connect socially and emotionally, something we all need. I highly recommend.
Lastly, if you're stuck in a rut I highly recommend writing down some fitness goals (thanks Dad). This will help realign where you're at with fitness and also help keep you accountable. A great tip is to make sure you create some behavioural goals that help get you towards your outcome goals. Eg; "I will commit to training 3 days a week" is a behavioural goal that will help you get towards your outcome goal of "Lose 3 kg's by the end of November".
Ok, one more tip. Did you know that walking in nature stops you from ruminating over negative thoughts? Find a trail, contact a friend get outside and go for a walk, it's such an underrated form of fitness!
Fitness is still about taking care of myself, there's just another layer of enjoyment to it now thanks to layering the social aspect into it. I'd love to hear what fitness means to you and how you keep yourself motivated!?!