Health is not just the absence of a disease. It’s an inner joyfulness that should be ours all the time; a state of positive well-being.
Life is busy.
It’s not getting any less busy. Every year just seems to get busier. We are connected 24/7. We are getting unhealthier but more importantly we are losing the joy of living. More science is being discovered everyday which links our stressful sedentary lives to illness and disease but what we are not acknowledging directly is the strain on our feeling of well being by being “plugged in” all the time.We have the ability to take back control and significantly improve our joy, all we need is to put our big girl panties on.
This phenomenon of busy, busy lives is something I have been mulling over for a while and it was once again in the forefront of my thoughts after a particularly depressing session in the gym recently. I had a session where three clients were all working out, not one of them in the moment, each one engrossed in their thoughts, all just going through the motions. There was none of the usual banter, the music stopped and no one noticed or cared, they were all on the back end of a really busy stressed out day at the office. Now the effects of this were threefold. Firstly, not one of them gained any real benefit from the workout, secondly, they all left feeling as stressed as when they walked in and thirdly, I as a trainer, felt like my clients hadn’t really got any value from our time together. The vibe in the gym was low, there was no (wank word alert!) energy! At training, it is really obvious for me when someone walks into the gym and is very obviously still thinking about work/life/whatever. Training suffers, the gym suffers, other members suffer. The workout is conducted without any thought, just a robot going through the motions because it is something that was on the to do list today.
So this had been on my mind and then something I heard in the gym last night brought those thoughts into clear focus. One of our best clients, let’s call her Jill, is known to have her laptop out working away while at the hairdresser. The hairdresser?? Isn’t that the place women go to escape the kids, gossip about the bachelor and swap cupcake recipes? I got to thinking after I heard that and I realised something. We are forgetting how to disconnect and are placing unnecessary pressure on ourselves to push harder which is leaving us unhappy, depressed, angry and exhausted. This is true for men and women, in fact, in my observation, equal but different. Men seem to suffer more depression and a general feeling of “there has to be a better way” and the ladies all seem to be exhausted and unhappy.
Now I’m no psych and I definitely am not going to try spruik some pseudo therapy here, I am just going to pass along some observations I have made as a coach and trainer. The solution to this is very simple. SWITCH OFF THE DAMN PHONE!! TALK TO EACH OTHER!! GET OUTSIDE!!
Here are my observations.
- Commit to your program. The best results are achieved by those people who commit to the training program, show up every day and have the ability to make it their primary focus for the time they are in the gym or at bootcamp. They forget about life for a while (I’m sure those are song lyrics) which makes them feel great! Less stress, ready to tackle the day.
- Show us your happy face! Bringing your happy face to training, even if it’s a fake happy face, makes you feel better. Your interactions with others are better, you feel part of the community and you contribute to a fun session. We all need to be part of a community, it is in our DNA. By feeling happy on purpose you are not allowing those negative thoughts oxygen (I have seen this in action many many times).
- Get outside. Even if you train in the gym, you need to get outside. Whether you believe it or not, we have a fundamental connection with nature. I challenge anyone not to feel less stress and not to feel happier once you have been outside engaging with nature. By spending time in nature with someone significant does two things. Keeps you disconnected from technology for that time and makes someone feel special because they are important enough for you to spend time with.
- We need balance. Without balance, sooner or later something is going to give. Unfortunately for me as a business, what usually gives is the gym when actually that is the last thing which should give. Life is not all work. Life is not all play. Life is not all the gym/bootcamp. Life is not all family. Life is a combination of those. It is up to you to prioritise. As a trainer I see everyday that the most successful at having a balanced life are those that prioritise their own health. You owe it to your loved ones to look after yourself. You are not being selfish by doing this, in fact, you are being the complete opposite of selfish.
- Join a community. It is really important, in fact more important than any other factor, that you find a community with who you enjoy training and doing things. This will ensure you keep at it because you are accountable, you are part of a team and you are needed. Everyone is an inspiration to someone. Countless times have I seen the strongest fittest men be unbelievably awed by what an overweight, middle aged women has done. You feel good when you inspire someone!
- Be a bloke! We are not real blokes anymore! Doing something manly (cant talk for the girls here, sorry!) on your own will drastically improve your mood and confidence. We have become a society of risk averse softies (polite term for wankers). Don’t be stupid, just do something that makes you feel like a bloke again.
- Take a little time. I have the luxury of having Tuesday mornings off. I designed it that way. I go for a paddle, a walk, or work. The point is I have factored time in my week to do what I want and to disconnect from the world if I choose. You can do it too. It doesn’t have to be a whole day, just a couple of hours. You will be amazed at the power of spending a little time on your own, unplugged.
- Put you big girl panties on (yes, you too boys!). You are responsible for your life. You are not a victim. You make choices, deal with the consequences of those choices. Have the balls to switch off, say no to the boss once in a while and put you and your family first. As a trainer how often do I hear these excuses? Way too often, that’s how often. The busiest people on the planet and you only have 168 hours in the week. Are you running a country? A multi billion dollar empire? Will the world end or your company collapse if you don’t answer an email tonight? The only reason you are not keeping fit and healthy is that it is not important enough to you. Fact. If it was important you would make time for it. I guarantee that you would trade anything and I mean anything to get your health back if you lost it. Don’t let it come to that, look after yourself now!
We must acknowledge how technology is sucking us in and keeping us tied to our desks and how it is disconnecting us from our family and friends. If we don’t acknowledge how important it is for us to find the joy in living again then we are in deep trouble. The simple joy of being alive is becoming lost. Find your joy, look after your health and fitness and take time out to spend with your family and friends without your technology they will love you for it.