When I first start working with a coaching client, we talk a lot about what they want to achieve, what they’ve tried in the past, and what their daily lives look like now. I feel very privileged to hear the things that people share with me, and I’ve been known to get the sniffles a time or two either during or after these conversations. My biggest goal for every single person I have these conversations with, whether we end up working together or not, is to help them feel good about themselves. And in the course of all of these conversations, and from talking to my fellow coaches, I’ve noticed that there’s a common thread in the way many women are so hard on ourselves about our bodies. We want to look the way we did 10 years ago, or the way we imagine ourselves 5 years from now, and we don’t spend a whole lot of time appreciating who we are NOW.
I see this come out most often when it’s time to select a fitness program. Some people look back at a time in their lives when they were running every day, or going to the gym five days a week, and think “Yeah, that’s when I felt healthiest. I’m going to do that again.” Some of them succeed, and they find a lot of happiness in what they’re doing – I absolutely love to see the updates from a friend who was able to begin running again after several years of rehabilitating her knee, and the pure joy on her face at the end of a race makes me SO happy! Others (like me) have a different experience. Before I had PJ, my neighbor and I would go to the gym almost every night after dinner. We had an awesome time and a running joke about training for the zombie apocalypse (“You can do three more reps! It will help you climb over that wall when the zombies come!”) When I was able to exercise again after I had PJ, I was really looking forward to getting back into that routine. The reality, though, was that between juggling the needs of a newborn, getting ready to go back to work, and the general sleep deprivation I was usually telling her “Go ahead without me,” or if I was able to go I just couldn’t get through it and I felt sad and frustrated, like this was one more thing in my life that was completely changed. By expecting myself to be able to function in a way I did at a completely different time in my life, I was setting myself up for failure.
Another mistake that people make is pushing too hard, too fast, into something they aren’t ready for yet, because they think “Well, that’s what fit people do, so I should do it.” Here’s a little secret to remind yourself when that kind of thinking comes up…fit people do all kinds of things. The goal isn’t to do the hardest workout you possibly can, it’s to make fitness and healthy habits a permanent part of your life. As a coach, I’m not here to shock your system and humiliate you with what you can’t do yet. I’m here to help you find something that will challenge you, but that you will also enjoy. I like yoga, kickboxing, lifting weights, and dance based classes, so PiYo, 21 Day Fix, TurboFire, and Hip Hop Abs are my JAM. I have had a couple of clients who have similar preferences, but felt they needed to “force” themselves to start bigger, with programs like T25 or Insanity because they felt they needed that shock to their system. Most of the time, they ended up feeling frustrated and defeated and then we need to work together to overcome that “I just can’t do this” mentality.
If that’s you, please know that you CAN do this. You WILL do this. You did not fail. You took another step towards succeeding, and that is worth celebrating. Let’s take another look at where you are right now, and see if we can find something that’s a better fit. There’s a whole wide world of options out there, and whatever you pick, picture your ten-years-ago self giving you a thumbs up from her run around Central Park, and your five-years-from-now self waiting to give you a giant hug for taking the step that brought you to her. You. Can. Do. This.