Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Always reaching for the next level

Making goals to increase your strength and health is an important part of any exercise plan. It's always helpful to see the progress you have made and then create new levels to aim for. When you shoot for the stars, you will find that you are climbing higher and higher and eventually you will reach them.

I remember when I started exercising in earnest again after taking a long lazy hiatus. It made me cry when I realized how much I actually let myself go. I could hardly keep up in classes, a five pound weight might as well have been 100 and I was winded within the first five minutes of class starting. I struggled to keep up and I was humiliated. I had taught these classes three in a row at times , kicking every one's butt, without a problem, and now this one class showed me very how far I had fallen and kicked my butt to the curb. It was sobering. And I cried huge tears. How could I have let this happen??? Life, of course, and just not finding me important enough to take care of.

That was 2 and half years and 45 pounds ago. I decided then to face reality. I wasn't going to get any healthier doing nothing and pretending this wasn't happening. I faced the hard facts and chose a different way. I was worth it. I deserved to be healthy and strong. I was determined to get back to where I knew I once was . . . strong and conditioned and in shape.

To get there I made goals. Easy ones I could obtain so that I could see success. Yes, I even used a sticker chart with smiley faces . . . why not? It worked for my kids, why wouldn't it work for me too? I gave myself a smiley every day I worked out. It was great incentive to see what I had accomplished, especially when it took more energy than I would like to admit just to get me out the door and not turn around and give up. I would increase what I could do a little at a time until what was astronomically out of reach and harder than Hades to accomplish became a piece of cake, and then I would adjust my goals and increase what I required of myself and continue forward.

In this way, I am stronger than I've been in years. I don't let myself say . . . "I don't think I will work out today." I say instead . . . "We are going out the door and you are doing what needs to be done. Period!" And everyday I am finding I can do more than I imagined.

For instance I never imagined I could run and sustain a ten minute mile. But I can now . . . the weight I literally throw around now (really, I mean throw, if you ever saw me in the gym you'd know what I mean) is now 35 pounds and higher. And I'm not done yet. I plan to keep improving and growing and setting goals I can reach and obtain and be successful.

In the pool I am faster and stronger than ever, and I love how my body pushes itself through the water and how it works to keep in control of the water weights, to where I control them not the other way around, using muscle to keep firmly planted and not let buoyancy take over.

I tell you these things so you can make your own fitness plan and watch as you adjust it from week to week with new goals, how strong you will become. To show you that if I can do it, anyone can do it! I have seen it in a lot of people who take my classes already. They are beating me at my own game and becoming faster than me. It is great to see. Keep working hard at mastering your body and building strength. I believe in you and I know you can do it! Tell me your goals and let me hear your successes. They are inspiring!

Bill Phillips asks "Being healthy is a decision we have to renew each and every day. Today in your thoughts and actions are you choosing health?" He also said, "A person's state of health can often be predicted by which he or she takes two at at time- pills or stairs." Remember nine out of ten of the greatest accomplishments were done on a deadline. What is the deadline for your next great accomplishment?


Danyelle Ferguson said...

Excellent post, Debbie. I have been working with a personal trainer for the past year. I've lost a few pant sizes, but iroonically the scale has not changed much. But the best part is that I'm stronger, have more endurance and feel great! Setting small attainable goals helps to keep you excited and happy with your progress. You're such a great example. :)

Canda said...

Thank you! I set a goal to work out again. But I'm so out of shape it's pathetic. I have started using a stationary bike under my desk at work at lunch time. I move my legs, eat soup or salad and then write. It has seemed so insignificant but your encouragement has left me feeling renewed. 10 minute mile huh? Congratulations!

Rebecca Blevins said...

I LOVE this post, Debbie!

I got back into exercising regularly last fall, and I nearly cried when I felt like I was going to die after ten minutes of Zumba. For January and February I only went two or three times, but since winter and illness got better I went back last week and since then have been four times. It feels so good, even though I'm worn out after!

I have a bunch of weight to lose, but I know I can do it. The best part is feeling better overall.

kbrebes said...

Very inspiring, Debbie! I was an exercise fanatic until I went to StoryMakers last year. When I got back, I started writing and stopped exercising. Now, I'm having trouble balancing the two, but I think your post really helped me. I'm going to set some smaller goals--very small--and work up the way you did. Thanks!

Maria Hoagland said...

I like the sticker chart! What works best for me is to print out a training schedule (I usually have to be training for a race to be motivated) and then write down each day's time and distance. Accountability. In whatever form.
Thanks for your post!