Why I Went Back to the Gym…That Has Nothing to Do with Fitness Goals

Today I want to ask you to think about something that is a little outside the box. If you had no limits to keep you from doing the things you want, what would you do? If you had enough money to do everything you needed and wanted to do, and then some, for the rest of your life, if you had no limits due to your weight, if time wasn’t an issue – what would your day look like?

REALLY…take some time today to reflect on these questions and write them down if you can.

Would you be working in the same job? Most people would say no, and some people might say they wouldn’t do anything. The reality is that most of us find joy in doing things that give back to others and doing things that are pleasurable for ourselves, but we get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle. We would love to be volunteering more, enjoying our favorite hobby, reading a good book, getting involved with our community and church, donating to a good cause, or just relaxing without a to-do list. There are so many things that we’d like to be doing if it weren’t for all of the limitations we feel like we have.

We think we can’t eat the things we need to because we just don’t have time to fix healthy meals. We think that we can’t participate in the activities we want to all because of these limitations we have allowed to take over. But here’s the thing. 💞Most of our seemingly insurmountable roadblocks and limitations to doing what truly brings us joy are things we can overcome…right away!

Getting past our limitations, in many situations, simply involves a shift in our mindset, and a mindset shift doesn’t cost any money and it doesn’t keep you from making money.

So, what does this have to do with nutrition and health?

At the end of last year, it became apparent to me (and my family) that I was not in a state of joy.  I was just RUNNING from one task to the next. After working through the exercise I mentioned above and journaling what my ideal day would look like if nothing else was standing in my way, I wrote that I would go to the gym in the mornings, but not for the reasons you would think. Due to health restrictions last year, I couldn’t work out and I had decided it was a waste of money for me to keep my membership because I couldn’t work out the way I wanted. Instead of focusing on the things I could do, I was focusing on what I couldn’t do. What I realized after six months of no longer going to the gym, and then the intensity of the feeling grew after being gone an entire year, was that the gym was more to me than the results I could get there.  Being away from a space that I have made MINE and a way for me to get away and work on myself made me miserable and I didn’t even realize it until I worked through this journaling exercise.

I was focusing on what I couldn’t do

No, I’m not big into hitting the gym. You probably haven’t heard me talk about it much actually. If it came down to having coffee with some friends or hitting the gym, let’s just say I’d enjoy my chai tea latte. However, this time, going to the gym was not about working out for me. It was about me creating time for me. It was about creating joy for me. It was about fulfilling a part of what I had written down in my “day-in-the-life” if there were no barriers to what I could do.  And this was something I could make a reality instantly – if only I could give up the gym needing to equate to a space that I could get fit and toned up.

I haven’t been able to pick up the kettlebells or hit the barbell class in the way that I would like to. I can’t get on the treadmill (which I loath anyway so I am okay with this) and pound out those steps for a long time. But what I have done is try out a few new classes, like a hot yoga class (this is INTENSE), began regularly attending a Surrender class that helps me refocus on peace and myself, and I am able to bring the kids for activities while I get in some me time. I turned the focus onto the good things that I get out of the gym instead of what I was missing out on and from doing so, it has brought back a whole new positive rhythm to my life.  And when I can have me time, I am better able to serve my family, my clients, my church, and my community!

So, what I would challenge you to do is write down what your day would look like without limits – any kind of limits at all. Chances are those top things on your list should be your priorities. Those are probably things that give you joy, and if your focus is on those things, the rest will fall into place.  Yes, you may have to restructure some things in your day and your family’s day to make them happen, but the restructure will give you the much needed refresh and restart day in and day out that your mind, body, and soul are screaming at you to obey.

All of this mindset issue applies to our nutrition too. Think about it. We create a healthy, nutritious plan. We’re eating right. The food is delicious. Our energy level is up and we’re feeling great. Our doctor even said our numbers are improving. But…the number on the scale isn’t moving. So, what happens? We quit! 

WHAT?! 

Despite all of the benefits, we focus on the one thing that went wrong and we let it rob us of all the things that went right. This is what I did when the gym couldn’t be the place that I could get the perfect physique due to my limitations. I ignored all the other benefits just like we all to often do when we feel amazing but the scale doesn’t reflect the number we want.

My ah-ha moment was walking into the gym the first time after I decided to change my mindset and go back. It was a place for me to go to so that I could focus on giving myself joy and strength and happiness. Because when I have that, it carries over into the rest of my life. Am I getting the arm and back muscles that I want? Probably not. But I’m not going to let that rob me of all the things that going to the gym is giving me.

When you can put yourself first in one area – aligning yourself with things you write down; things that you would do every day if all the other things were not in the way – then you will start to see that all the other areas of your life start to align too.  And you can’t get to the space where ALL of the things you write down are part of your reality unless you make the ones that ARE within your control right now, today, a part of the day to day so that you can begin to live into your greatest self and attract all the other things on your “day in the life” list.  Start with what you can change and put yourself as a priority.

So, if your eating and exercise plan is making you feel good, but it isn’t quite giving you everything that you wanted YET, I would encourage you to keep at it. Try to focus on all the things that are going right (maybe even write them all down and review it daily) and eventually it will all fall into place with the scale too. When it comes right down to it, what is it exactly that gives you joy? Now that you know what it is, it just might be time to go chase it. Why? Because you deserve it!

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