Happy Holidays, everyone! 2020 is almost here. ‘Tis the season for making New Year’s resolutions. For some of you, it probably sounds something like this: “I really need to get into shape. This is the year! I know how important exercise is to my health and well-being. I just have to commit. I need to make this a priority. I can do this. My New Year’s Resolution is to exercise at least 3 times a week.”
How has that worked for you in the past? I’m guessing for many of you, not great. So, I’d like to suggest a new approach. At Forza!, I espouse a strong mind-body connection. I ask you to pay attention to your form and how your body is feeling. I’d like to extend that mind-body connection to before and after your workouts. Before your workout, I’d like you to check in with yourself and ask yourself questions like:
How is my energy level? Am I dragging my butt into Forza! or am I raring to go?
How is my general outlook on life? “Life sucks!” or, “You know, things are pretty okay.”
Do I feel ready to seize the day?
How did I sleep last night?
What is my current stress level? Am I able to roll with the punches?*
Then, after your workout, immediately as well as later in the day or even the next day, ask yourself those same questions. Ideally, your answers to the questions above should be “You know, I actually feel better, stronger, less stressed”. If you are conscious in more than just a general sense of how exercise improves how your mind and body feel, what do you think that will do for your motivation to exercise? “Gosh, I was dragging when I came in, but now I have all this energy.” And wouldn’t you rather approach exercise as a “feel better” endeavor than as a “have to” slog?
So what about the mind-body connection during your exercise? While you are in the midst of your workout, I still want you to pay attention to how you are feeling. For those of you who’ve told me that a particular exercise doesn’t feel good, I’ve given you alternatives. If an exercise doesn’t feel good, ask yourself why? If it is because it hurts your elbow, or hip or back and any corrections to form I’ve suggested don’t help, that exercise might not be for you.
We all have different body types and past injuries that make a difference, even from one side of your body to the other. On that particular day, you might not have slept well or are under a great deal of stress. I hereby give you permission to skip any exercise on the board that doesn’t feel right on that day (or maybe ever). If you want an alternative, I’ll be happy to provide one. If you want to simply do an extra set of an exercise on the board that works on one of your weak spots, go for it.
However (there is always a but, is there not?), this is not permission to “wimp out” (unless you really are under a lot of stress). If you don’t want to do an exercise because it is “hard”, ask yourself this: “When I do this
exercise, how do I usually feel afterwards?” If the answer is “I feel like Rocky at the top of the stairs, then “just do it” (I may be mixing my references, but at least they are all sports related). Look at the wall in Forza!: “Pain of discipline or pain of regret. Take your pick.” That still holds true. But how much easier is that discipline when you know how great you will feel afterwards?! Awareness is the key!
So let’s make a New Year’s Resolution together. I resolve to be more aware and present in my life in 2020!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
*Questions from the book Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch