It’s that time when everyone reflects on the accomplishments of the past year and begins to ponder what we hope to achieve in the New Year. For many of us, our resolutions include fitness goals and I’m no different. I want to be better in 2015.
I don’t mean that I want to squat 300 or deadlift 400. While I believe I have the potential to accomplish both of those goals, it is more important, and a necessary precursor, that I make lifestyle changes that will reduce stress and help me to get healthy so I can start training hard again. All year, I’ve been driving down a busy road trying to avoid major potholes, while driving too damn fast and with a fair amount of road rage. Needless to say, I keep crashing.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was sick, again, with a stomach bug. A minor setback compared to some of my others but it left me with the feeling that I’m never going to get my training back on track. The truth is that I’m still not recovered from my recent bout with pneumonia; my daily HRV measurements confirm it. Jim continues to scale back my training volume so that I don’t “dig the hole deeper” and if I’m being completely honest here, I can get pretty emotional about it. Tears have been shed in the gym. Maybe that seems silly but when so much in my personal life can be “complicated” and I’m oftentimes feeling cranky and stretched too thin, the gym is where I find my “center” and my determination to get back out there. So, sucking is not an option.
Ok. Even I rolled my eyes at that last sentence. Even on a bad day, my strength is pretty impressive, and it would be dishonest to suggest I don’t know that. But somewhere along the way I have become obsessed with performance goals, and even worse is the notion that my self-worth is tied up with what I can squat on any given day. Saying that out loud (or typing it here) just sounds stupid, I know. How did I get here? Apparently, being performance driven does have a dark side and I’ve found myself there. Nia Shanks, coach and founder of Lift Like a Girl, wrote about this topic in her article, “The Unspoken Darkside to Training for Performance and Focusing on What Your Body Can Do,” and it really spoke to me. Nia points out that expecting “myself to get stronger or do a little bit better every single workout” is just ridiculous.
Clearly, what I’m doing is not working. It’s not healthy and it’s not fun. Personal records, state records, national records… it’s been an amazing journey but the value I place on these things need to be reevaluated, and I’m in the midst of that now. My focus right now is taking better care of myself outside of the gym and gradually increasing my training volume. This means listening to my body and taking a day off if I need it. I will continue to use BioForce HRV to keep me honest about when I need the day off. I am also reminding myself that I really do love training so I should be having more fun, and I intend to. It’s a new year.