I remember the days when an ab workout was crucial to the way my day went. It was a part of my exercise addiction, feeling inadequate if I didn’t get it done… If I didn’t spend at least a half hour shredding the muscles in and around my belly, doing everything that I possibly could to flatten them, then I didn’t do ‘enough’ that day. It was pretty exhausting. I was unable to view the beauty I already held and radiated within my body, I kept saying, “when I’m skinnier,” “when I can run farther.” So there’s no wonder that when I overcame my exercise addiction I stayed away from ab workouts all together.
I’ll admit it. In avoiding ab workouts and intense workouts, I deprived myself of something that I loved. The burn, the adrenaline, the energy high. I secretly missed working hard and then feeling super powerful because of it, knowing that I exceeded my own expectations of myself, and knowing that I was capable of producing so much strength in my body. Every exercise I did would be challenging, heart rate pumping and in a way, fun. Going faster on each run was exhilarating! Getting home and noticing I did a 5k 3 minutes faster than a few weeks ago really proved to me how much a person can grow. It showed me that the things I once thought were impossible to achieve, were very much achievable through hard work.
When you work hard for something and fight through the mental pains, telling you to hurry up, to finish, that you’re tired, that you can’t do it, you really feel how fulfilling working hard can be.
So here it is! I did my first “intense” ab workout in over a year. Now I say it’s intense because it surpasses the intensity level of my regular physical activity. When I would usually release poses, I held them longer this time. I counted, I said “In 10 breaths you can release,” and then when 10 breaths would come I would say, “okay 2 more.” And it felt POWERFUL! I forgot about this power, inner fire and discipline I so very much could harness. I forgot how incredibly hard working and determined I really am. It was liberating.
Through the workout, I had many thoughts telling me to stop, to not do anymore ab exercises. I didn’t listen. The difference though, was that the whole time, I appreciated my body. Every little part of it. I wasn’t working out determined to cut my belly in half. I wasn’t working out to shrink my body, or to fit a physical ideal of what beauty is. For once, I was working out to FEEL its effects. I had gotten so caught up in working out to achieve a certain physique, that I forgot to acknowledge the endorphins rushing into my brain. My body thanking me. When I finished, instead of standing in front of the mirror and thinking I didn’t do enough, I looked in front of the mirror and felt like a Goddess. When I finished, I felt energized, instead of self-disgust.
I want to share with you some CRUCIAL things I did through the workout to help me feel SO empowered.
After every exercise, I took a pause. This pause did not include looking at my social media feed, it did not include distracting myself from what had just happened. These pauses included me, closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. I really acknowledged what I had been feeling, and what my body was doing now that I had finished a pose or exercise. I noticed what I felt in my legs, in my torso, in my abs. I took deep breaths into these places and I told myself silently how proud I was of myself to have put that work in, no matter how “little” or “inadequate” the voice in my head wanted to call it. I dismissed that voice, knowing wholeheartedly that I had done myself and my body a service. This really is so crucial because it gives us those moments to really, ACTUALLY appreciate it and ourselves. To appreciate the burn and feelings of work we had harnessed. To appreciate how RAD we are! Working hard for ourselves, to be stronger, to learn discipline. They are all such beautiful things.
So this is what I challenge you to do:
The next time you’re working out, doing something physical… whatever it is. Put aside your doubts, your limitations and your negative self talk. The next time you think “I didn’t do enough” or “I need to do more,” or “I can’t do this,” take a second to breathe and AFFIRM that you can. That you did do enough. That you are proud of yourself. That you are STRONG.
TELL YOURSELF YOU ARE STRONG EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT.
I hope this helps guys, I know it’s really transformed my life in many ways.
Let me know in the comments something you might do to help heal your relationship with exercise while exercising. I’d love to hear the different perspectives.
You all rock. Namaste My friends! Happy moving. ❤