By Gemma Needham
In our never ending quest to be the fittest version of ourselves, we often find ourselves on a hamster wheel of exercising more and more, training harder and harder, in order to achieve what we percieve to be that “perfect body”. Until suddenly, you push a little bit too hard, or take one class too many and suddenly you fall off that hamster wheel. You find yourself getting injured, falling ill, or you stop enjoying your workouts.
Does this sound familiar to you? It certainly does to me, and as a Trainer I should know better, but sometimes we are the worst culprits.
As I sit here recovering from a virus that I fell foul to after training a little too hard trying to get back into my groove after the summer holidays, I am left reflecting what it is that leads us to this point of loosing our balance, and over training. Why, as an intelligent individual, trained to know how hard to train, and when to take rest, have I pushed myself too hard?
A lot of it has to do with the perfect images we are presented with day in and day out on social media. The presentation of the ‘ideal’ body that we constantly strive for, and yes, measure ourselves up against. The thousands of fitness accounts we are privy to on a daily basis. It makes even the most self confident people doubt themselves. We put pressure on ourselves to look good and feel fit. Its addictive, and whilst it is an addiction that can lead to a better version of ourselves, it can also become an unhealthly addiction that can actually lead us to feeling unfit and unhappy with our bodies.
In addition, with so many fitness classes for us to choose from these days, and with more popping up every month, we begin to feel like a kid in a candy store. We want to do them all, and there just arent engough hours in the day for us to fit it all in. The more you do, the fitter you will become right? Wrong. You need to find the right balance between the intensity and frequency of your workouts, and your rest periods, so that you allow your body time to repair and build itself back up from your previous workout.
As a society that is driven by success, many of us still try to do it all; juggling a career, family life and the other thousand commitments that make up our daily lives. Something has to give, and quite often its our health or mental well being; we feel unwell, run down, prone to injury and have stopped enjoying our workouts.
If you too are feeling a little off kilter, and need to try and refind your balance, try asking yourself these questions:
What are your fitness goals and motivations?
Do you have a realistic plan to help you achieve them?
Do you take enough rest days?
Are you seeing the results that you want?
Are you enjoying your workouts?
Do you end the day feeling energised from your workouts, or just exhausted?
I believe the key to finding the right balance that works for you, your body, and your life, is to make sure you are clear on why you are exercising. What are your goals? If you are not clear on what you want, and how to achieve that, you could very easily find yourself getting lost along the way.
You should exercise because it makes you feel good, makes you feel alive, and NEVER EVER judge yourself against anyone else. Its pointless and potentially destructive. Their journey is not your journey; you should be working out for yourself and no-one else. Remember to celebrate your achievements and milestones. They are important. Focus on the positives. Always give yourself credit for what you have achieved, and how far you have come. Don’t agonise over what you feel you have still to achieve. Have patience and faith, and remember to enjoy your fitness journey.
Finding the right balance of exercise in our lives will help lead us to a happier, more confident version of ourselves. One who doesn’t beat themselves up if they miss a workout, one who can truly enjoy a rest day without feeling guilty. One who has confidence in, and is happy with, themself. Ultimately we only have one life to live, and we should enjoy the gift of life, and live it to the full.