I had a very inspiring conversation with my trainer/bff/soul sister Sarah about moving far from Boston, aka my home for the last 6.5 years, and starting up my workout/athletic creative outlet/training in a whole new place. If you didn’t catch my previous post Well, hello there then you should check it out – I open up a big Can of Feels and tell you all about how I was feeling uninspired, frustrated and bummed out about starting a whole new workout routine after having such an amazing, supportive, kick ass group of women (and a few men) to get my Booyah on with. Sarah drew attention to the fact that I was lacking a few key components of a successful workout routine:
- Now that I had moved, I was on my own! I have spent the past few years in Boston doing small group training, participating in 5 am workout classes, and coming up with my own workouts with the same solid, core group of women. We inspired and encouraged each other through tough days/moments (whether real life or physical challenges). We were approximately at the same fitness level, were familiar with each other’s limits and could push each other within a comfortable and known range. All of a sudden, my support network was only via group text (super funny group texts, but group texts just the same). I must say that is it so understated how important it is to have a supportive network around to keep you motivated and encourage you through tough times – it is indispensable. Luckily for me, there are other graduate students who share the common interest to be active and fit, as well as running groups in the area, so I am able to take some time to find my tribe of fitness freaks.
- My routine was disrupted. It’s hard to get your gears moving when they have ground to a halt. When I finally got back to the gym, I felt there was no balance: I either pushed myself so hard that I walked like an arthritic robot the next day, or I left the gym barely sweating. I couldn’t edit my workouts and put them together in a way that had flow and made sense. I needed some organization in my life. Cue Sarah’s tip: “You already know what to do.” She was right: the fitness library contained in my brain is immense, I have a huge pool of things to choose from. She suggested to check out the Spartan WOD for some inspiration. They have a ton of workouts to chose from, some are super intense and beyond my capabilities, but just reading through them gives you some ideas of how to put a workout together. You’re able to edit and adapt their plans for your fitness level. Cha-ching.
- I needed some motivation. Filling in a box in my training journal only motivates me so much; I needed to tap back into the why behind my workouts. It took me some time and energy to push through a few blah workouts to get that reward center in my brain to light up again and remember that, hey…these workouts are really fulfilling! A good run or a solid workout makes me sparkle from the inside out (da daaaa!). It makes me remember why I like feeling strong, capable and empowered – the whole world domination/I’m the queen of the universe feeling that comes after accomplishing something that seems impossible (lifting heavy things, running really far, doing that one last burpee). Once you’re in a routine, working out regularly is a piece of cake – it’s pushing past the mental hurdle it takes to jump from zero activity to regular routine that is the real challenge in staying active. It takes an immense amount of mental toughness and grit to force yourself to throw off the duvet at 5 am and put on your sneakers to workout, before 99% of the people you know are awake. You’ve really gotta dig deep and tap into that why. And you really have to believe it, or it just won’t stick.
As much as it would be great for everything to automatically fall into place when you pick up and move your life a thousand(s) miles from where you were before, it’s just not realistic. The key to successful change and adapting to a new place is knowing that you will find your place. It’s easy to place a lot of pressure on yourself and tell yourself you will have everything figured out immediately (guilty as charged), but it’s okay to take your time to get your jazz together.
So take my dad’s advice: be your own best friend. Take some time to get used to your new surroundings, and if you keep chipping away at it, it will eventually fall into place.