Monday, February 16, 2015

Motivation Monday: It's Not Fitness, It's Life

"I think there are few more potent metaphors between running and life than those derived from the subject of endurance. When we consider what we are really training for, why we care so much, why we are willing at all, it becomes as obvious as a black bra under a white T-shirt. We want to be able to endure. When life throws us some difficult miles, we want to know that we can suck it up and prevail."
-Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers; The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Women Run

If you've been to an Equinox or seen an Equinox ad you've likely seen the phrase- "It's Not Fitness, It's Life."  I'm no marketing expert, but I think it's perfect.  It's short, simple, to the point, and powerful.  In my last post I talked a lot about the difference between simply working out and training.   As I reread after posting, like every self conscious blogger, I worried that it was too sports orientated.  I wondered if people who don't compete, or race, or have specific "fitness" goals would think the post applied to them.  
"Do the things you used to talk about doing but never did.  Know when to let go and when to hold on tight.  Stop rushing.  Don't be intimidated to say it like it is.  Stop apologizing all the time.  Learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph.  Spend time with the friends who lift you up, and cut loose the ones who bring you down.  Stop giving your power away.  Be more concerned with interested than being interesting.  Be old enough appreciate your freedom, and young enough to enjoy it.  Finally know who you are." -Kristin Armstrong

 As part of my job I counsel overweight and obese pregnant women on how to exercise pre-and postnatally.  We go over what they are currently doing for exercise, what they would like to be doing over the next few months and once the baby comes, and what they should be careful of during and after the pregnancy.  It can be difficult to set goals during this stage of life.  Many women still fear exercising during pregnancy even though for years physicians have been recommending exercise to their pregnant patients for years.  Those that have not been exercising may want to start, but also fear that starting a new exercise regimen during pregnancy will be harmful to the baby.

"I want to get comfortable being uncomfortable, I want to get more confident being uncertain, I don't want to shrink back because something isn't easy.  I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can't and I can.  Maybe that spot is called I WILL." -Kristin Armstrong

Recently while discussing goals with one of my patients she told me she and her husband had decided, after much debate, to stay in their apartment on the 5th floor of a walk up building.  She knew she was in for challenge walking up 5 flights of stairs daily throughout pregnancy, and then with a baby for months following delivery.  So we began brainstorming together what would be important for her to start focusing on her daily life.  Obviously she would need cardio and so we discussed incorporating lunchtime walks, taking the steps as often as possible now while she was feeling good so she would be prepared to do it when she needed to in the future.  We also discussed which muscles she needed to be strong in order to support her in climbing the stairs.  Although she admitted she hated the gym we worked out some strengthening moves she could do at home and discussed times of day she could incorporate them into her schedule.  We also went over some stretches that she could do at home.

"If we write our dreams and goals down, we dramatically increase our odds of realization.  If we share them with others they become potent and alive." -Kristin Armstrong

It's clear I love fitness and I love working towards new fitness goals.  Like every other 20-something female I'm focused on being beach ready even when there is a foot of snow on the ground.  However, fitness is more to me than a beach body and I strongly believe it is vital for everyone.  My journey towards becoming physically fit gave me more confidence than anything in my life ever has.  Anytime I am feeling unsure of myself I can look back over what I have accomplished and I am not only confident but motivated to work towards achieving more.  It's also given me strength.  Not just the strength to run 15 miles at once and do more push ups than anyone else in the room, but the strength to keep going when I've failed in life.  It's given me the strength to help friends through difficult situations of their own.  It's given me the strength when I've lost friends or seen lives ruined by diseases to not back down and rather continue to fight for a cure.  I've included several quotes from Kristin Armstrong in this post because I love how open she has been about using fitness to get through the difficult parts of her life.  So the next time you are thinking about your workout don't think about it as an hour of your day you have to waste, but rather think about it as preparing yourself for what you want.  Make yourself strong so that you won't be worn out by carrying your children.  Improve your health so you are ready to combat whatever bad genes you are carrying.  Think about the things you've always wanted to do- hike the grand canyon, travel the world, care for your grandchildren- and how you can start preparing yourself for it now.  
"I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run.  I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged.  I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud" -Kristin Armstrong
Building a Good Warm Up
  • Incorporate movement specific preparation: warm up the muscles you will be using; especially muscles like the hip-flexors that are often tight due to sitting; if you're going to be doing squats do some body weight squats to warm up
  • Dynamic Mobility: It's now recommended that dynamic movements are done at the beginning of the workout as opposed to static stretches; these movements help increase range of motion and reduce the risk of injury
  • Increase core temperature: the increase in blood flow and muscle temperature helps make muscles more pliable, which helps prevent strains
  • Make it workout specific: Just like you are incorporating movements that you will be using in your workout think about the purpose of your workout; if your workout is going to be a speed workout include some intervals in the warmup; if you're going anaerobic at points during your workout set the stage now
Sample Dynamic Warm Up (for running):
  • 1 minute jumping jacks
  • 15 walking lunges
  • 15 walking toe touches (walk kicking the front leg out high and touching with the alternate hand
  • Prayer Stretch with Rotation (Place your hands together in front of your body, palms together. Lower them as far down as they can go, feeling a stretch in the forearms. Rotate the hands so the fingers face forward (if you can get them pointed towards the ground), hold for one second then rotate them back in towards you, attempting to point at your chest, hold for one second, return to the prayer position, and repeat.)

  • Side Shuffle (Get into a half-squat position and slowly walk laterally 10 steps out, not allowing your feet to touch, then 10 steps back.)
  • 5 Inchworms (bend over with straight legs and a straight back as far as you can, then reach your hands towards the ground. Walk out into a pushup position, drop your hips to the floor, then straighten your body out into a pushup position again. From that position, walk your feet towards your hands, on your toes with straight legs, until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Walk your hands out and repeat.)

No comments:

Post a Comment