Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Obligatory Year in Review Post- 2015

Recently, I went to a website that generates your best nine Instagram pictures of 2015 into a collage. Best is determined by the most likes. When I saw mine all I could do was smile and think, Yep. That’s about right. You see, whenever I skim my gallery or review any of my posts, they all have the same cohesive themes throughout: fitness, fun, and friends.

It’s pretty cool when you see your highlight reel. You get to see what matters most to you. It’s one thing to say connecting with others through movement is a strong value. It’s another thing to witness it in action throughout the year. It’s very affirming when you realize that your values and lifestyle are congruent and you truly are living the life you say you want.

My goal for 2016 is to experience fitness, fun, and friends in increasing measure. I want to continue building upon these values and fostering them in others. I hope that by this time next year I have even more group pictures with people laughing and moving and living joy-filled lives to the fullest. Here’s to 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Small encouragers

It’s hard to believe we are just one day from Christmas. Families all around will be awakened at ungodly hours by their little ones who are eager to tear into their presents before the sun comes up. For the record, that was never my scene because it wasn’t allowed. My siblings and I were never permitted to bum rush the Christmas tree. We learned to wait.

It might be hard to picture three kids patiently waiting until the adults got out of bed, but that was Christmas when I was growing up. The adults stirred when they felt like it. We ate a full family breakfast. We cleaned the kitchen. Sometimes it was 11 o’clock before we even went down to the den to open gifts. When Christmas fell on a Sunday, we went to church and Sunday school first, and then opened gifts when we got home. When it was finally time to open gifts, we each got our pile and went around in a circle taking turns opening them one at a time. That’s right. After waiting for hours, there was even more waiting. This might sound like some form of cruel and unusual punishment to some of you. I suppose it did seem unbearable when I was really young. But I quickly adapted to the family tradition and now it’s just how we do things. It’s hard to imagine any other way. I can tell you though that my family tradition taught me delayed gratification early. In life, you must wait to get many of the things you really want.

Because we often had to wait so long, several years in a row my mom allowed us to open one gift on Christmas Eve. And, of course, on Christmas morning we were allowed to open our stockings right away. In a way, opening the stockings was just as joyful as opening the rest of the gifts. It wasn’t about the stocking contents necessarily. Usually, we got things like lotion, clementines, pocket calendars, and mini snickers- your typical stocking stuffers. It was just the process of opening something that tide us over until the big stuff later.

I suppose that’s become the story of my life. Few things have I gotten outright. Usually there’s a wait involved, and a long wait at that. It’s a good thing I was thoroughly conditioned in my early years to wait patiently. It doesn’t always make it easier though. Sometimes the wait can be downright frustrating. That’s when I find refreshing in the small things- witnessing an answered prayer that no one but God knew I prayed; getting a parking space right in front of where I’m going; getting a surprise gift or token of appreciation from someone. Sure, these aren’t the life changing miracles or big ticket wishes of my heart. They are subtle reminders though, that I am deeply loved down to the detail. And if I am fortunate enough to get small encouragers like those along the way, the bigger stuff will come in just a matter of time.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Just do it

I recently realized that I’ve hit a plateau in my fitness regimen. In the first two years of my fitness journey, everything was so new. I was hitting personal records and knocking out goals right and left. It was easy to do when you go from completely nothing to venturing into a little of everything. Now that I’m wrapping up my third year of a fit lifestyle, I’m seeing how I’ve entered a maintenance phase. I’m still moving regularly, of course, and teaching classes, which is a good thing. I don’t know how much I’m challenging myself anymore though, and I think it’s time to step up my game.

I have to be honest. I think I stopped pushing myself because of fear. The idea of adding more repetitions or more weight made me nervous. There was a mental block to running farther than the distance of my longest race. I already felt a sense of mastery right where I was and didn’t know if I could or should push beyond. However, it’s been said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” There’s nothing wrong with just maintaining for a period of time. There’s a lot to be said about just being consistent and keeping with the routine. You just have to know when it’s time to push again so aren’t lulled into complacency and get stuck where you are.

So, this week at the gym has been a push. I’ve added weight and added sets. I’ve had to take a break in between at times. I’ve had to grimace to get in the last few reps. I’ve had to mentally tell myself, “Just two more…just one more.” It hasn’t been all that fun for me necessarily. But I do feel a fire igniting once again. I feel energy and motivation propelling me forward. I feel a fight rising up in me as I start the climb once again and push myself to the limits. There’s really no deep strategy involved. Don’t over think it. If you want to go beyond where you’ve been, then like Nike says, just do it.