Over the last two weeks I’ve taken on my own little personal challenge.
I think I’ve mentioned before how I struggle with my flexibility (I know planks of wood that bend more) and as much as I’m aware I need to work on this and it’s something I would always say to clients and class members it’s an area of my health that I neglect.
With this in mind and knowing that tightness in my hip and quad is very probably the cause of a recent knee injury I sign up for a twelve week yoga course. Several things appealed to me about this course.
- It’s all video based so you can do it in your own time following the instructor via a weekly video.
- The yoga instructor is also a Body Combat instructor and having seen a previous video they had produced on mobility wok for Body Combat I felt this was likely to a type of yoga beneficial to my mobility.
- Each week has a different focus which appealed to both my limited concentration span and learning a variety of moves to be able to use going forward as and when I want or need to focus on one area.
- The sessions are around 20-25 minutes long and you are encouraged to practice several times across the week rather than just doing one hour long yoga practice- this for me seemed much more manageable.
- You are also part of a group with weekly Facebook lives where you can ask questions and get feedback, for someone not from a yoga background that is really useful and increases your accountability.
So far I’ve practiced three times in week one, twice on week two and once so far this week (week three) although I intend to get another two to three sessions in this week.
In my head when I signed up I said to myself – I will practice every single day. That obviously hasn’t happened, but that’s OK, because I’ve gone from zero mobility work to 50 minutes plus a week over the last couple of weeks. However you look at it, that is progress.
Another thing that I have gleaned from the last couple of weeks – and it’s been centred around the yoga practice but is really key to how you approach all aspects of your own health / fitness regime – is about being honest with your practice.
By being honest with your yoga practice they mean accepting your body and it’s current ability. That means not progressing a move to progress it until you are comfortable and performing the current move week. It means acknowledging when you need to adapt a move to get the best out of your session and not being too proud to do so.
These two key elements of the mindset of your yoga practice are equally beneficial when applied to the rest of your training.
I’ve had lots of conversations with people over the last few weeks, and can openly admit it’s something I’m prone to do as well, about the all or nothing approach to fitness. We want to be fit and healthy – and we want it now. Society is result oriented and whilst we all want change we also want it now, we tend to be less keen on the idea that those results can take time and require gradual change. It’s why we do often start a new plan or course with the intention to commit 100% and then get disheartened and feel like we have failed when we aren’t 100% perfect in week one. Then we get the urge to quit, start again, that this isn’t for me.
The reality is few of us will ever do anything 100% perfectly. Life will get in the way, require adaptations and compromises and if we give up on things when the first stumbling block comes along we will not reach our goals.
What experience does show me however is that if you do stick to things for ‘most of the time’ results come. Set backs are just that, they aren’t the end of the road, simply something to overcome and move on from. If you are doing nothing and this week you do something you have progressed. Results may be slower but they will be more long lasting. Quick fixes tend to be quickly back to ‘where you were before’ as well.
Equally, being honest about where you are and want to be with your fitness is important.
Your goals need to be reflective of the effort you can put in. If you can train twice a week then training for a physique show is unlikely to be a realistic goal for you. However, reducing your body fat and getting fitter in two sessions a week is entirely possible.
You also need to be honest about what you are really doing. Putting weight on even though you’re eating less? Yet you aren’t using my Fitness Pal to track your calories and aren’t really counting the calories in your two coffee shop coffees or the sauces that you put on food because they are barely anything. It’s easy to think you are in a calorie deficit but when you track EVERYTHING realise you aren’t. It really comes down to being honest about what you are doing.
You could even go more specific- what do you lift? Do you lift it was strong technique? Would you get more out of your session if you lifted less, better?
My message for this blog, which following the conversations I’ve had recently more than just me needs to remember, is this.
Wherever you are at with your fitness goals, it is a continuous journey, when you reach a goal it doesn’t end, new goals will arise and you will keep on working. What you can do and, indeed, want to do will change over time. Sometimes you will not do everything right, maybe for days and weeks on end, that doesn’t mean starting over or failure. Sometimes you will meet people who can lift more than you, are leaner, more flexible and this doesn’t mean you have failed because the only progress that genuinely matters is what you can do now compared to what you could do before.
Patience and honesty are key tools to have in your fitness armour.
Also, I can highly recommend adding a bit of yoga to your life!
I have been practicing Yoga with The Kicking Asanas 12 Week Yoga Challenge. You can find more information on the services Michelle offers here: