Last night was humbling. It was my first day back at the gym post-delivery. After my first round of sets, I sat on the ground looking at the five and ten pound dumbbells lying near my feet and couldn’t help but think of all my lost progress since last year at this time. This was hard. I hardly made it through two miles on the treadmill and now I had 2 more sets of a relatively simple arm workout left. I wanted to just quit and go home. I thought about a bet I lost to my clients last year during one of their training sessions and had to perform 40 push-ups in a row. I knocked ‘em out without lowering my knees or losing my form. Nose to the ground. How come I just struggled to get through 12 reps, knees on the ground, and hands on raised surface? I was embarrassed.
And then I looked around. Why was I embarrassed? Everyone around me had been at a starting point too. That’s how progression works. That’s how we get stronger. We all start somewhere. We all have the low points and the high points. Right now I am at a low point. I know that I can get to the high point again if I work hard enough. I know I am capable of that, but I need to put in the work.
I stared at the light (but extremely heavy) dumbbells for at least 5 minutes. I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment I had in myself. Looking back now, that was horrible and completely against everything I believed in. Completely against everything I used to teach my clients.
I thought about my progression over the years.
There was a time I could hold a plank for four minutes. There was also a time that I couldn’t get through 30 seconds without losing form.
There was a time that I could do six 45-second sprints at 12 mph. There was a time that I couldn’t run faster than 7 mph for 45 seconds.
There was a time I could bench 8 reps of ninety pounds. There was a time (last night), I struggled to get the two 10-pound dumbbells in the air for a full set.
There was a time I could run a half-marathon’s distance without needing to slow to a walk. There was a time that I couldn’t run more than a ¼ mile without gasping for air.
There was a time that I prepped my week’s food, all carefully calculated and measured to maximize my results and performance. There was also a time I ate ice cream for breakfast and dinner. And dessert.
There was a time I had enough motivation and energy to dominate each of my workouts, complete each rep of each set, and be compelled to keep going. Faster and stronger. That was my aim. Every bite that I consumed carefully picked for the sole purpose of fueling the body in the best possible way for my workouts, for my recovery, and for reaching my goals.
Last night, I didn’t have the motivation or energy. My only aim was to be able to say I got back to the gym. The only place I wanted to be was home, showered, snuggled on the couch with my boys and drinking wine. Maybe eating chocolate too.
Knowing that I didn’t achieve my past accomplishments by giving up, I picked up the dumbbells and started my second set. I struggled through, and then struggled even more through the third set. I went home feeling successful. Weak and exhausted, but successful. I did have a small glass of wine, but instead of chocolate, I had my favorite healthy turkey meat loaf and roasted veggies. And today, I will do it again. While my ultimate goals have changed immensely from last year, they are still goals that I plan on reaching. And it will take time.
I challenge each of you to take the next step towards reaching your goals. Maybe it’s taking that first step. Maybe it’s taking a step back before you can take two forward. Regardless of where you are, I hope that you too can find the motivation and energy inside you to keep on moving steadily forward. What’s your motivation? For me, it’s my son.
Run: 2 miles
Circuit One (3X12)
- Push Ups
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Cable Fly
Circuit Two (3X12):
- Push Ups
- Dumbbell Tricep Extension
- Tricep Push Down