My favourite thing about traveling is that I always discover something new about myself (or the world), which allows me to grow and transform as a person. A better, more well-rounded, person.
After just getting back from spending a glorious 2 weeks in Barbados, I can’t help but realize how much my attitude towards exercise and working out has changed.
Before I left for Barbados, back in early March, I had the intention that I would find a gym in Barbados and do my typical weight lifting workouts 3 – 4 times a week (preferably 4 as that is what I was doing at home at the time), but once I got to Barbados things started to change. My mindset started to change and I started to realize some very important things…
Ultimately, I thought it was ridiculous if I were to find a gym and go there 3 – 4 times a week while vacationing. It was just not something I wanted to do. I realized that a workout does not have to be in a gym, with weights, etc. A workout just doesn’t have to involve lifting weights!
So, while I was in Barbados I simply focused on moving my body in a way that felt good to me on that particular day. After a couple of days of floating around in the ocean and walking the beach in front of our hacienda in which we stay, I wanted to try some bodyweight workouts in my bedroom. So, I began doing GPP Fitness workouts. New workouts are posted every day (Monday through Saturday) and most are fairly easy to modify for doing at home. I used to do GPP Fitness workouts a couple of years ago, so I had a lot of fun getting back into something I used to really love! I got really creative, too, which made me realize how fun fitness can be (and how versatile!) I was totally stuck in the mindset that I had to be lifting heavy weights in order to classify any workout “a good workout”, which is so far from the truth. So, it was absolutely refreshing to be doing something completely different from what I had been doing for the past couple of years (heavy deadlifts, squats, and other compound movements).
I felt really good while I was in Barbados and it got me thinking about how amazing these workouts left me feeling, as well.
I started to realize that fitness isn’t just one thing. A good workout isn’t just one thing. And I don’t just have to do or commit to one form of exercise. The intuitive way I try to eat and live can overflow into my training, as well. Every day (or every week, even) does not have to include lifting heavy weights.
Now, I would like to say that being able to lift heavy things makes me feel empowered and a sense of strong-ness(?) that nothing else really allows me to feel, however, I also realized that I do not need to be lifting 2x my bodyweight or squatting heavier than my bodyweight every week. There’s just no point!
I understand that many people lift heavy weights as their sport, which is totally great and completely inspiring. One of my good friends competes in powerlifting competitions and she inspires me with every video she posts, but I personally am not a powerlifter, so why do I even have a “goal” of lifting 2x my bodyweight or more? Why? Again, there’s just no point! It’s not my sport!
One thing I do with my clients is get them to be really clear on their goals because if we don’t really know or understand our goals, how can we know what we should be doing to achieve them?
Back when I was recovering from my ED and disordered eating, getting clear on my goals is what really helped me release what was holding me back and achieve the freedom I have today. I realized that what I was doing (read: following a meal plan, counting calories, tracking macros, and weighing/measuring everything I put into my mouth) was nowhere near in line with the goals I wanted so badly for myself, which was food freedom, body peace, intuitiveness. So I had to change what I was doing.
This sounds like such an easy, obvious concept, but trust me… many of us aren’t doing the things we should be doing in order to reach our goals.
Ok, back to exercise…
I guess I was in a rut. I was stuck and I totally forgot about my real goals. I was so focused on thinking that I “needed to lift heavy” that I completely forgot about my real goal… health.
Honestly, all I care about is being healthy… and happy. And after the two weeks in Barbados, I realized that I needed to make some changes to my fitness routine. Not because I dislike lifting weights, but because I love doing other things just as much and I don’t have to be lifting such heavy weights week in and week out (or following a specific weight lifting program, for that matter!)
When I got back from my vacation, I planned to continue doing GPP Fitness workouts because I was really enjoying them and I love their mission, health, which is actually why I fell in love with them and their workouts a couple of years ago. You can read it right on their website where it says “GPP is about being healthy. Period.” And I love that!
So, I planned to get back to the basics. Health. And forget the rest. Forget deadlifting 2x my bodyweight, squatting 1.5x my bodyweight, and sculpting my butt with hip thrusts (seriously, I much rather have health than a sculpted butt thankyouverymuch). But when I arrived back in Canada and attempted a couple of workouts, something just felt off. I was exhausted and my body was begging me for rest.
Honestly, years ago I would have ignored my body and pushed through because I knew if I didn’t I would have felt anxious, guilt, and an incredible amount of shame. But, I’m not that person anymore. I don’t push my body when it’s begging me to go easy. I don’t ignore my body when it’s trying to communicate with me. I listen, with loving ears, and I honour it.
So, I took a couple of weeks off until I noticed that my energy levels were back to normal, which was today, and I did my first workout. My first in a while, but I didn’t get back into things full force. My mindset has changed. Over the past couple of weeks that I didn’t workout at all, I’ve realized how much I enjoy walking and how much I enjoy actually not going to the gym. To be honest, I contemplated cancelling my gym membership today because right now I just have no desire to go.
Did these past 4 weeks away from the gym cause me to be lazy and hate working out? Absolutely not! What these 4 weeks away from the gym did for me was help me realize that there are so many ways I love to move my body that do not involve heavy weights or a gym. I can be happy, health, fit, strong, and confident without heavy weights or a gym. Although I did not cancel my gym membership today, I didn’t go to the gym, either. I followed day 1 of the Health in Strength program, which is ideal for anyone simply wanting to focus on being fit while also keeping their health as their top priority.
I write this post in hopes that if one person out there reads this who is currently afraid to take a step back (or away) from working out leaves feeling inspired to do so. I understand taking a step back may be scary or cause you to have anxiety, trust me, I felt the same way years ago. But, life is so much better and brighter when we treat ourselves with grace and compassion and listen to what our bodies need and honour it. If you need extra support, never hesitate to reach out. I would love to help you.