I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and the timing is perfect as I just competed yesterday at a Crossfit competition. This morning I was hurting! I was excited for my rest day. But watching everyone workout made me want to workout too. I will feel better once I start moving I reasoned. For me not working out was important. I am still a work in progress…
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating all that he had done.
I love the gym. I love everything about it. I love to challenge myself, push hard accomplish the goals that I set for myself. I love feeling strong and capable. If I am being totally honest I love winning. I love being really good at things. I know it’s my pride I am working on it.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up tired. Really tired, by body ached and my head was cloudy I did not sleep well that night. But it was Thursday and Thursday is my double day at the gym. For a brief moment I considered not going but I quickly pushed that thought aside. You only regret the workouts you don’t do right?
So I went in and my body was waving red flags everywhere. I ignored it and kept my head down and worked. After a deadlift that was not really heavy felt like a ton I moved to some squats. I did my first set and my body at this point was begging me to stop. I added some weight and attempted my next set. As I started a voice told me “just stop”. I racked the weights and ended the workout. Deciding to do some mobility and chat with my friends.
I share this story because on the drive home from the gym I started to think. Why was it so hard for me to listen to my body? Why was it so hard to be kind to myself and rest with out feelings of guilt and beating myself up? I know that this is something many women struggle with. I have had countless conversations with clients who never rest. Even when I program rest. I cannot tell you how many times I find out that they decided to ignore my rest days because they wanted to get to their goals faster. Why?
For me it has always been the fear that I was not good enough. That if I missed a day that I was lazy and not working hard enough. I had to be the best. Being the best and working hard was my identity. If I wasn’t the working hard towards an impossible goal what was I? I may not have the best genetics but NO ONE could out work me. This worked for a long time. Then I hit my 40’s. I realized that no matter how hard I worked I could not hang with athletes in their 20’s. My body just didn’t have the magical recovery skill it did 20 years previously. Did it piss me off? Absolutely!! Did I try like my clients to ignore the direction my body was giving me, ignore the small nagging pains then the injuries? Yep. I could not stop, if I stopped the voice in my head would start whispering: Lazy, you were never going to be good enough anyway. You are weak just like everyone thinks you are. You are just getting old.
If finally took a real injury to my wrist and hip a year ago to slow me down. To force me to listen to my body. It also forced me to get creative with my fitness and to put things into perspective. I am not a professional athlete. I am not going to the Crossfit games. I am a 44-year-old wife and mom who loves to lift and be strong. AND THAT IS OK. I continue to give my best effort but my motivation has changed. I have decided to do my best for God. I worship through my workouts. I do my best so that others can see the strength that was given to me by HIM. I also do it so that at 44 I can feel better than I did a 24. So that I can be the best wife, mom, friend and business owner I can be.
I have also learned the importance of rest. Not just physically but mentally. Unless you are being paid to workout the gym should never feel like a job. Sweating and playing is FUN! But even I can sometimes get caught up in the GRIND and forget. Ultimately the reason we all work out should be so that we can enjoy our fitness. Run and play with our kids. Living long lives where we can take care of ourselves and not get sick. By taking time to rest you give you body a chance to catch up. To recover so that it can adapt. You do the same for your mind. Resting is like a reboot for my brain. Giving me a chance to put thing in perspective and to remember why I started this journey.
For me I constantly have to check in with my motivations, and myself remind myself of my purpose and ultimate goals. Am I pushing too hard? Do I need a break? What is my body telling me? I pray for clarity and discernment. I pray for God to remove my pride and striving and let me see things for what they are. I read my word to remind myself that I am perfect just the way he created me. To remind me of Gods love and that it is not given because of anything that I can do. I think that it will always be a struggle for me. But in the struggle I can only get better. The hard stuff makes us better.
There remains then a Sabbath rest for the people of God for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work just as God did from his