Fitness is a funny thing. We might get injured or distracted. Things we’d previously worked up to and got to the point of doing with, if not ease, then less struggle, suddenly feel impossible again.
This might be lifting a particular weight, a speed you’ve not matched, a yoga pose you’ve not done for a while… Just as getting stronger, fitter, more flexible and powerful has a positive impact on our confidence and mood, getting out of the habit can have a detrimental effect.
I often wonder how Simone Biles is doing.
After her phenomenal performances at last year’s Olympics, the image that stayed with me was of her daily workout’s inclusion of climbing a rope ladder using only her arms.
She made it look – like her gymnastics – like FUN.
You can see her brief pre-Olympic interview with Ellen DeGeneres, including some gymnastics clips and the infamous rope climb HERE.
‘It’s very easy,’ she tells Ellen as if she means it. ‘I do one rope a day like that.’
Every so often, when psyching myself up to cycle to the pool, I wonder. Does she still do it? What would happen if she had a week off?
I’m not an athlete (although, when I had a whole lane to myself at the Olympic pool in Stratford when it opened to the public, I did imagine – for a few seconds – being an Olympic swimmer).
Even so, I notice that if I don’t cycle for a few days, I feel the effort more when I do again. My 3 or 4 swims each week (sometimes I only manage two) are almost always for an hour but I notice that when I’m more on top of things and going more often, I’ll swim faster. Some of them – many of them – are pretty leisurely. I’m no Olympian but I love being in the water.
Injury means that for almost a year, my yoga practice has been lighter on the upper body work. I crave certain poses but know I’d be foolish to try them again before I fully heal (I have delayed the healing by not being so patient in the past). I’m also aware that I might not be able to do them again and that saddens me.
And this is another key, when recovering after injury or getting back into any kind of training: Being friendly to our bodies and appreciating what they can do today. Not beating ourselves up remembering through rose tinted glasses how we could do more in the past.
What do you do quite effortlessly? How often do you test yourself to keep it going?
What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?
How’s your self-talk when you’re in that zone?
What are you building up to?
What helps you be kinder to yourself when illness, injury or other obstacles mean you can’t reach your fitness goals?
I am regularly awed at how quickly I start to feel like an amoeba if I don’t swim enough and then, it’s like magic how much better it makes me feel when I get back into the pool and sea.
Do you notice an impact on your mood when you’re working out well and when, for whatever reason, you’re not?
Feel free to comment below.