Somewhere along the way things got easy: easy workouts, easy runs, a little hard work here and there, but mostly easy stuff. Things had gotten easy and routine and I didn’t even know it, but I felt it in my heart. Something was not right. Even though I was training for my 7th half marathon I did not feel challenged, I felt bored. I was going through the motions and feeling pretty frustrated without knowing why. My former personal trainer and I had different goals-for me. He wanted me to back off of my running goals and just run for fun and try focusing on power lifting, because that is what he was interested in coaching. We played tug of war for months. I was looking for professional coaching and advice to help me achieve my running goals, while he was trying to nudge me into power lifting. I think he thought eventually I would just give in the way I gave in when he told me I should take up running. I became obsessed with achieving my half marathon PR and he became increasingly less interested in helping me achieve that goal. I no longer believed him or in him, I no longer trusted his advice, and I needed a change. I felt it in my heart, but I didn’t know how to do it.
That was a lifetime ago.
I have written about the law if destiny before, and although everything happens for a reason, “chance favors a prepared mind.” I had gained enough knowledge and insight from years of working with a personal trainer, along with my own reading and research to know I needed to find someone knowledgeable and skilled willing to work with me to help me accomplish my fitness goals-including running. So last May when I saw the article about a new gym that had recently opened, the gym with a new philosophy and a trainer with a vision, I took the next step.
That was 6 months ago.
Change is hard, but at least once a week my trainer reminds me:
It’s not supposed to be easy.
6 little words that make a BIG difference. Looking back over the last six months makes me believe those 6 words even more.
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different… C.S.Lewis
So what is different?
It’s pretty simple, really, things I thought I would never be able to do I can now do. I have enough reading material and video demonstrations to satisfy my curiousity and wonder about how to do things for the rest of my life. And I have a barbell in my living room. I have rediscovered what it feels like to be learning again and that has made all the difference.
But here are the big ideas:
PRACTICE MAKES BETTER
I am now paying attention to movement details-in everything from pushups, to foot striking when I run, to squats, arm position on the barbell, body position beneathe the barbell, breathing – everything. It is a work in progress and I will never be perfect. My goal is to become better.
I am incorporating the belief that practice makes better-not perfect. That alone is a huge weight (no pun intended) off my shoulders.
I am now paying more attention to muscles and joints before and after my workout sessions-beyond dynamic warmup routines and static stretching. My goal is 10 minutes every day.
Nothing is easy. Weight may feel light or heavy depending on the exercise, but there are so many things to work on improving, nothing ever has to be easy.
Striving for perfection is unrealistic. If you wait for perfection before trying anything new, you would never try anything new. It’s all about progression.
STRATEGIES AND SKILLS
Learning new stuff takes time. In the beginning there are strategies to learn skills; according to one of my favorite education authors, strategies are the step-by-step how-tos for internalizing skills. Strategies give way to skills. It is important to remember that strategies are scaffolds that we put in place to help learners develop skills. They are meant to be temporary, left in place only long enough for the learner to become independent with the skill.
POWER OF YET
I needed someone to challenge my fixed mindset; I am still working on maintaining what Carol Dweck refers to as a growth mindset; thinking: “I can’t do that yet” instead of “I will never be able to do that.” In the beginning I thought Justin the Trainer’s expectations for me were a bit unrealistic, and now I think, “Why not?” It is important to have a mental cheerleader standing on the sidelines when you forget, “It’s not supposed to be easy.”
CONNECTING THE DOTS-FINALLY
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.- Steve Jobs via www.http://www.brainyquote.com/
So when things get tough and you feel like you cannot run another step or lift another rep or you just don’t want to do it anymore, keep these words in mind:
It’s not supposed to be easy.