Have you ever tried to start making better choices when it comes to your health and fitness and all of the sudden you get "sick"?
Do any of the following sound familiar:
Start a new workout program
Within 3 days you are certain you have the flu because you have body aches
Start eating healthier
Within 3 days you are certain you have a cold or the flu because you started getting the chills, runny nose, stomach ache, or even, dare I say it, diarrhea
Start getting more active
Within 3 days you are certain that you are injured because something in your one leg just does not feel right . . . you are also certain that it's because you started being active, so logically you should stop walking immediately because it was causing you pain
Started to push yourself past your comfort zone during a workout
Within minutes you are certain you may throw up and you probably have asthma so logically you should not push yourself anymore
Get in the right mindset via yoga or pure exercise releasing endorphins
Something bad happens to test your new found mindset. like within 3 days your car breaks down, your dog gets sick, and you find out you have jury duty
Alright that last one is a stretch, but as for the others, just think about it for a minute. We have spent so much time filling our bodies with salt, sugars, chemicals, antibiotics, etc. We have spent so much time being sedentary. We have spent so much time taking medication with more side affects than positive affects. We are used to feeling . . .okay. We get by. Our backs are sore, ours stomachs aren't processing food well, our energy is lacking or missing, we get migraines, we feel bloated, we get stuffed up, we have allergies, and we get pimples. We just deal with it. We think this is normal.
IT'S NOT! Or rather it shouldn't be.
Let me just make it clear that I am not a nutritionist, I am not a scientist, and I am not an expert naturopathic doctor. I am not perfect, I am not immune to bad decisions, and I don't live off pure home grown foods. I am simply on a mission to get better and addressing concerns I have seen along the way. These are my opinions, and they are based on common sense:
So let's chat.
Why do you think your back hurts? Have you been sitting on your butt for hours on end, with all the pressure of your upper bodyweight crashing down on your lower back, on those couple of vertebrae at the bottom of your spine? Have you attempted to strengthen those back muscles in order to properly carry around the rest of you? Your back muscles are responsible for pretty much every single posture you can come up with. They need to be activated to be active.
So your stomach isn't processing food well? Have you ever looked at the ingredients in the food you are eating? Have you ever read an ingredient and asked yourself, would I willingly eat that on it's own and feel good about it? Are there more ingredients listed that you cannot pronounce than ones that you can? Sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there. When you consume loads of sugar and then attempt to start eating better and therefore cutting out sugars, your body is going to react much like an addict having withdrawals. Of course you don't feel good, your body is in shock, of course you have a headache, your brain is trying to determine how to function without something it was used to getting regularly. Your insides are trying clear themselves out of all the gunk now that you have stopped replenishing the supply. Does your stomach hurt? Are you going to be on the toilet a lot? How else is all that gunk going to get out?
Remember when you were a kid and had endless amounts of energy. You would run and run and jump, and climb, play all day until someone stopped you. As an adult you look at a kid and say "man I wish I had their energy". Let me share with you Newton's first law of motion or the Law of Inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. As adults we spend the majority of our time sitting; sitting at work, sitting on the couch, sitting in the bleachers, sitting at the dinner table. Do you ever notice that when you come home from work once you sit down it's difficult to get back up and get things done. This is the law of inertia. We need to start moving in order to keep moving and create that momentum, that energy.
So what should I do? I can't quit my job, I want to support my kids in their sports, and I can't miss Chicago Fire!
When at work there are several ways to make sure you keep moving dependent on your workplace and their policies, restrictions, and offerings. You can get a stability ball chair that will assist with working the core muscles throughout the day while also supporting the lower back better. You can take scheduled mini breaks throughout the day and do a couple laps around the office. Do the rounds in the morning to say hello to everyone. You can use the printer farthest from your workspace. You can walk to someone's office versus calling them. Use your lunch break for some exercise and eat at your desk later. You can get a headset and do some squats or walk while on the phone. And the list goes on.
Your ass does not have to be glued to a hard piece of wood or metal to support your kids in sports. First option: BE THE COACH!! Get involved. Don't know anything about the sport, be the team manager that assists the coaches, be the assistant coach. And if your not willing to do this STOP HARASSING THE COACHES (that's a whole different topic). If you have to be at practice, go for a walk while the kids practice, find some space to exercise outside, in the gym, or the arena. Do the stairs a few times. When your at the game go mingle with different sets of parents, move around, see the game from different angles. Stand up, walk around, move during intermissions. Supportive does not mean stationary.
Can't miss Chicago Fire, The Bachelor, The Voice, no problem; just get your tush of the couch while you watch. Put a TV in the kitchen and cook dinner or meal prep for the next day, or the up coming week. Do some exercises in the living room while you watch, see how long you can hold a wall sit while watching. See how many house chores you can get done during each commercial break, or how many squats, pushups, or burpees you can do during each commercial. Compete with yourself or you significant other, roommates, etc.
Dinner . . . Please sit down for dinner with your family. No TV, no phones, just conversations.
Let's get back to the examples given at the beginning of this blog. Starting a new workout program after taking an "extended break" from being active. Three days in and you are "sick", remember the last time you started a workout program and this same thing happened? Weird huh? Why is exercise making you sick? You have made a dramatic change in your lifestyle, your body is doing things it is not used to and is now adjusting. For all the time you weren't moving, your body is now adjusting the movement. For all the crap you have been eating, your body is attempting to find the right fuel to effectively process these movements and in doing so it is trying to get rid of all the useless fuel. Depending on how long it's been this can be a process.
So what do I do?
You start slow. Go for a walk, play outside, use a push mower, maybe go out dancing. You make small changes to your eating habits, and get moving again, but not from 0 to 60. You take rest days, not rest weeks. You DRINK WATER! Water will help push all that bad fuel out while you restock with the good stuff. It will keep your joints oiled and ready for movement, and it will keep you hydrated. Don't quit because you are certain that the exercise program was making you sick. It's not, you are already sick, you just didn't know it because you got used to it. You got used to feeling okay, feeling average.
One of my favorite quotes: "Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better!" Why would you choose to be average when you have the option to be awesome, to feel amazing, to kick ass!
Let's take a look at the example from above that looks a little more into once you've gotten past the initial change and try to push yourself just a little more. You have gotten active. You are walking regularly. Your body has adjusted. You have hit a plateau. What's next? You push yourself a little, and start to jog during your walk. Within 3 minutes you are winded, you might throw up, and you MUST have asthma because you can't breathe. This is ridiculous . You don't have asthma simply because you pushed yourself in your workout and it was hard. Without challenge there is no change. You need to push out of your comfort zone in or to move your comfort zone to a higher level.
So what do I do?
You work slowly. You push yourself a little bit each time in short spurts. You incline that treadmill for 2 full minutes, start to do a slow jog on your walk, add the on your knees push up to your burpees, or touch ever step on your way up the stairs and increase your speed a little. AND YOU DO THIS CONSISTANTLY. Consistency is key.
Let's go at this from another angle before we end the conversation. I could go on about this for days, but I won't; your welcome. You have a new car. You drive it regularly right away, get your scheduled maintenance, and keep the tank full. You start to not use the car as much and skip a few oil changes. You fill it up with gas, but instead of filling it with the usual fuel, the kind of fuel that runs smoothly throughout the car, you fill it with fuel that has a bunch of extra things added to it because it was cheaper, convenient, easier to pump, and make the car sound like a race car when you pulled away. The extra things in this fuel make your car go super fast for 3 minutes, but then clog up several areas in the internal workings of the car. Your car is now making funny noises and not running well, so you park it in your driveway. You don't want it to breakdown, and you don't feel like working on it so you figure you will just not drive it. There it sits. After a few years a of VERY MINIMAL activity you need your car again, but now it won't start. You jump the battery to get it going and your off, but it's still not running right and you know it could break down at any moment. Your options now are you put in the work or the money to repair your car, or get a new car.
Here's my question . . . you know you need that car. So if you put in the work, time, and money to repair that car, will you make the same mistake twice? Will you go through this again a few years down the road? If you decide to get a new car, how will you treat it? Will the new car end up the same way as this one?
You can put in the hard work, invest in yourself, and make the time to take care of that car you have and not have a car payment the rest of your life! OR you can break it and continue to pay for it forever, never really knowing if you will make it to the next destination before the transmission goes completely. Hopefully by now you understand that I am not a mechanic, but I do understand that we tend to take better care of our cars than our bodies. This is crazy.
Once you get started, don't let one set back, one misstep, one obstacle shut you down. So you get a flat tire, does that mean you remove all the tires from your car because tires suck and they just don't work so you sit down next to your tireless car on the side of the highway pouting? NO, you put on the spare or you call AAA and get that shit fixed so you can keep on truckin! GET 'ER DONE!!! . . . Okay I think I'm done with car analogies for now.
Some thoughts as you get on with your day . . .
I had many moments where I felt like this. I started and I was "sick", I must be allergic to the fruit that I ate, I missed a day of workouts so I guess I better have pizza tonight and blow the rest of the day, and so on. I chose to educate myself and be better rather than be average, feel okay, and watch my kids play without me.
When you look at your kids, or think about your future kids, or your nieces & nephews, are you thinking, man I hope they grow up to be overweight, miserable, and lazy; or are you dreaming of a professional athletic career in something that makes them happy everyday? What do you think your parents wanted for you?
When your kid says mommy will you play with me, is your response mommies to tired right now? When your dog looks at you with sad eyes sitting by the door with the sun shine outside, is your response to open the door and go back to the couch or go for that walk where your dog is visibly excited and smiling back at you?
When you were a kid, was your dream that someday you got to sit on the couch and watch as much Netflix as possible, or were you dreaming about being on the baseball field, on the pitchers mound in your home-state with the entire state cheering you on? Were you dreaming about a leather recline with a built in cooler and cup holders, or were you dreaming about the Olympics? When you were in high school was the ultimate goal to make it out and be average? Or were you on your way to being amazing and coming back to a 10 year reunion like "Yea, I did that!".
When you look in the mirror, are you happy? When you think about tomorrow, are you ambitious? When you stop go to do something you've always wanted to do, is something stopping you from doing it? When you know something needs to get done, are you still on the couch?
Challenge your body and challenge your mind to get out of your comfort zone. When you get there don't let yourself get confused. Your not sick, your getting rid of the sickness. Start drinking more water, and don't give up now! Get up, get moving in anyway that you can and trust that your body knows what it's doing, it's just stuck doing what your mind tells it to. Get your mind right and everything else will follow.