Fitness v Fat

Since Lockdown and gaining weight I’ve not felt great about my appearance or fitness. Confidence wise I guess the two are linked, I don’t feel great about training because I don’t feel great in my body.

The way I’ve been trying to rectify this is losing weight, to feel better in my body, as if that will then make me feel better training, because I feel better in myself.

Recently though I remembered when I’ve felt like this in the past and tried changing my thinking. Instead of worrying about appearance I’ve just thought about training and more than just focusing on training, hitting specific goals.

One of those was run a half marathon, another is to get my deadlift to 120kg, I also want to get closer to an unassisted pull up.

By focusing on those specific metrics and doing what I need to in order to reach those, I have in turn lost some weight and feel a bit better in myself. Instead of feeling bad that I’m not where I want to be I can see I am making progress and that is much more motivating than just being unhappy until I hit my ‘perfect’. Instead of being upset about what I can’t do, I’m focused on what I can do to get better at those things, and with that I feel more confident and happier about my health and fitness.

I think it’s easy when you feel like you’re not where you should be to get bogged down in the negatives and the assumption that you can’t feel good until you’re at your goal destination. Ultimately though it doesn’t really benefit you to do that, whereas making small changes and working towards specific, performance related goals, allows you to shift your focus a bit and actually make progress and feel better. Ultimately it’s unlikely we’ll ever be totally happy with our body and fitness, even if we get to what we think is our goal, by the time we reach there we normally manage to change the goal posts for ourselves.  So I think it’s important to remind ourselves sometimes that fitness isn’t one static moment in time and we are ever changing and as such we kind of need to roll with it a little bit.

Goals

Do you know what I think we are all guilty of sometimes?  Not being clear enough on our fitness goals.

By this I don’t mean training without a specific goal.  I mean having a goal but not being clear on what that goal means and what you can expect from it

For instance – do you want to train for performance?  This might also lead to you being able to reach an aestetic goal at the same time, but at other times training to reach a performance goal may mean you cannot also attain to or maintain a certain size / weight.  You need to eat adequately to assist your training and this in turn could also affect your physique.  Aspiring to both drastically change your shape and also hit a physical peak could lead to frustrating disapoitnment in yourself (equally trying to become a body builder and a marathon runner at the same time will probably end in tears).

Do you want to lose weight / get leaner / whatever you want to call it?  Realistically to do this you need to eat less and move more.  This might not be compatible with also aiming for a specific training goal, like lifting more, if you are drastically limiting your energy intake.  Have you ever tried going harder in training sessions when you’re also eating less than normal?  It’s not massive amounts of fun.

I have long said about myself that my training goal is largely mindset orienated.  I train to feel good, it helps my mental health and acts as an anchor.  Equally I enjoy eating and try not to be restrictive with my diet.  For this I also have to accept that I’m not going to be super lean or be breaking any training records any time soon.  Training has a point and that’s to kee me fit, healthy and to make me feel good.  I can quite happily stick to light weights and not feel bad about myself. 

If I wanted to change that, lose some weight or improve the amount I lift I’d also have to seriously reconsider how I approach my diet and how I train.  I’ve done that before and it can, I’ve found, have a negeative effect on my mindset and how I feel about training.  In trying to focus on multiple things it has a negative impact on the thing most important to me.

Essentially, we need to be aware that we can’t do everything.  Of course, there will be knock on effects, you may well find that as you train for an event or to hit a certain PB you also find your body changes and you’re really pleased with that.  But if you’re goal is one specific thing try honestly focusing on that one thing – not getting distracted by trying to do everything at once.