I tried doing a workout yesterday that used to be my ‘go to’ exercises – a bar workout including chin ups, hanging leg raises and a few other hanging bodyweight moves. Yes these are advanced exercises, and no they weren’t ever ‘easy’ for me, but this was the type of training I did regularly and I used to be able to bust through this workout sweaty but smiling!
Since lockdown started here in Melbourne, over 6 months ago, my training has changed a lot and my body has changed along with it. On the positive side, I’ve done more running and pilates, so I’m fairly happy with my core strength and slowly learning to enjoy running (which in the past has been a struggle!) But on the other hand, I’ve lost a lot of my upper body strength, my grip strength feels like it has completely disappeared (as a trapeze artist this is something very important!), and I’m carrying a few more kilos than I was at the start of the year.
So when I tried to do my workout yesterday, I was pretty frustrated with myself. How could I have let myself down like this? I was so judgemental of my body and how weak I felt. I judged myself for being lazy, not staying focussed on my goals during lockdown, for not being good enough. For not reaching the certain standards that I felt I should be at.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to use negative self-talk as a motivator. ‘You’re fat and lazy, you need to get off your butt and workout more!’ This isn’t productive or motivating!
Contrary to popular belief, the feeling of ‘not being fit enough’ is what actually stops people from exercising, it’s not what motivates them. Showing yourself compassion for where you are now, knowing that you are good enough just as you are, will help you to look forward and work on changes to make tomorrow, rather than dwelling on the regrets of yesterday.
I have to be really conscious of being kind to myself, and constantly remind myself that negative judgements are not helpful. Nothing good was ever going to come from me telling myself that I sucked! All that did was make me feel like I shouldn’t even try. It takes practice, but I’m gradually learning to accept where I am now, without judgement, and replacing the negative self-talk with appreciation for my body and what it can do!
The last 6 months have been tough for everyone, and it’s totally ok to not be at the same fitness level you were before lockdown! Be realistic about the expectations you set for yourself, have compassion, lose the pressure and judgement and just do what makes you feel good.