As a matter of principle, I try to learn from every experience. Exercise is one of those things that is so broad and varied that the opportunities for learning and growth are endless. As 2016 draws to a close, I thought I should reflect on some things that being involved in fitness has taught me.
Resilience - I know it takes a lot of tenacity and grit to get through a tough workout or training program, but pushing hard alone is only half of the picture. The true meaning of resilience is the ability to bounce back; to get beaten down, regroup, and jump back in the game. In a literal sense, when it comes to exercise, you can only build muscle tissue while at rest. In order to improve your physical condition, you must have adequate rest and recuperation practices. I learned that my mind as well as I body can only be as resilient as the rest I give it. Thus, I have learned to not work myself into the ground and instead, make time for slower days. As the old saying goes, sometimes, less is more.Nothing Exists In A Vacuum - Just like your bicep alone can’t pick up that cup of coffee, working on only specific muscle groups or eating strictly for weight loss/gain are not effective at achieving optimum health. Between the musculoskeletal system, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system, the nervous system, the digestive system, the gut flora, and many more aspects of the body, it is impossible to fix a problem without looking at a bigger picture. Just as I look to see why someone’s knee keeps snap, crackle, and popping, I make sure to take a step back in everyday situations to determine what led to the current scenario, and how I can improve things for the future.
Hardship Is A Necessity - We’ve all heard the saying that character is built through adversity, and it’s absolutely true. Regularly pushing yourself through hard exercises, despite the little voice in your head telling you it burns too much to keep going, is one of the ways you can experience hardship in small, controlled doses. Lifting heavy weights, working on my form, and hitting the pavement for several miles at a time are some of the ways I have learned to improve not only my physical conditioning, but also my mental strength. Although no one welcomes hardship in everyday life, (and no one really should), when it arrives, you can be certain that is going to be another building block for your character.There Are Always Answers - Each time I have suffered an injury or some kind of ache or pain, I found that if I looked in the right places, I would figure out how to heal myself. Since nothing exists in a vacuum, when something goes wrong in life, I know I can always find a solution. Sometimes, it takes awhile, (like years), but it can be done, and it will. In the case of my health, because I have continued to find ways to improve both my mental and physical wellness every year, I feel like Benjamin Button! The same can be said about my career, my home life, and my relationships with other people.