The Thrill is Gone: Getting Back on Track after a Fitness Fizzle

Back in March of this year I completed my second Gate River Run 15k. This event is considered one of the biggest sporting events of the year in northeast Florida, so needless to say there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the race.  I trained regularly for close to 3 months in preparation. I had a tons of motivation to workout since there was no shortage of people training for this run,  I had several friends to train with. Even when I trained on my own, I would always met other people training for the Gate. Whether it was on the road, at the gym or in the park. When race day finally came around, it was a cool crisp day with clear skies. You couldn’t ask for better running conditions. I had a great experience and when it was all said and done I achieved a new personal record (PR) by shaving off 30 minutes from my previous race finish. All the hard training and diet preparation had paid off.

So now what? As the old Blues song from B.B. King goes: “The Thrill Is Gone.”  There was an obvious void after the thrilling experience of completing the Gate River Run. I took a much needed break after the race, but the break continued for longer than anticipated. I began to realize that I was not motivated to get back to my consistent cross training, running and diet regiments. After speaking with a few other about this challenge, I realized I was not alone in my lack of motivation and the answer became clear: I didn’t have a clear plan of action for my fitness goals. Sure, I had some general goals, but they were not drilled down enough and not scheduled out over time. Though my experience I have created visualization of 5 motivating factors that helped me get my fitness groove back:

5 Tips for get your Fitness Groove Back

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You are what you think, not what you eat

Last month in April I hand the honor of being featured in employer’s Wellness Spotlight on our employee portal site.
I got such a positive response, I decided to expand on it and share it with you:

Wellness Spotlight Questions:

When you started out, what were your wellness goals?
Get out of the obese category on the BMI scale, get my blood pressure under control and become physically fit.

What goal(s) have you achieved so far?
I surpassed all my goals. In 8 months I lost 40 pounds, and my total weight lost to date is 65 pounds.

How did you do it?
For me wellness, or well-being starts in the mind (not in the waistline). In 2010 I made goals and New Year’s
resolutions about my health, but the difference this time around was I slowly changed my belief system. I once heard a wise person say: “a belief is just a thought I keep thinking.” So, I starting thinking more about being healthy and in shape and stopped focusing on my unhappiness with being overweight.

To help me maintain my focus I surrounding myself with people, places and things that inspired me. I started
exercising consistently, hired a personal trainer and took up running. In the first 4 months things move slowly, but in May I cracked the code. A co-worker introduced me to a body chemistry and blood nutrition diet book call the GenoType Diet. Long story short – I learned what foods were toxic to my system based on my blood type, body composition and genetics. I found that the food I was eating was canceling out the exercise I was doing. So, I wasn’t gaining weight or losing weight. Once I eliminated these foods along with gradually increasing my physical training to three times per week  and running 3-4 times per week — the weight started melting off.

Once I achieved this initial success — I didn’t get comfortable. In fact, I purposely put myself in the position of being uncomfortable. This forced my to grow to new heights. Back in 2009 the longest race I had completed was a 5k (3.1 miles). Fast forward to December of 2010 where I completed my first marathon (26.2 miles). Running isn’t for everyone, so find a sport or activity you are passionate about. It can be anything: swimming, biking, croquet, tennis, kickball, dancing or even chasing your kids around the house. If you are doing what you love, the consistency issue is a non-factor.

What’s next for you on your health journey?
My goals this year are to continue improving my health and diet, continue to work with my trainer at Cross Training San Marco to take my fitness to a new level. Lastly, compete in my first sprint triathlon.

What advice would you offer to others just starting out?
The biggest challenge is not losing the excess weight. The real challenge is losing the excess emotional baggage we carry around in our minds. This excess brings a feeling of unworthiness and self-doubt. Some specific advice would be the following:

Last piece of parting advice:

  • Be more consciously aware of your thoughts, feelings and the words that come out of your mouth. How aligned are they with the direction you want to go?
  • Get out of the habit of blaming your situation on people and things you can’t control. Take full responsibility for the direction of your life – the only thing that is stopping you is you!
  • Only think and speak highly of yourself and do things that honor your worth.
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • Set small milestones over time and measure your progress.
  • Lastly, when the vision for yourself on the inside becomes more compelling than what people see on the
    outside, you will become the master of your experience and achieve whatever you desire.

Loss, grief, and accepting change to heal and move on

We grieve over all losses whether we are aware of it or not. Any change in circumstances can initiate this process. Why? Because with each loss we feel something has been taken away from us internally. A void develops where that attachment has been ripped away. It is an emotional tear that makes us desperate to recover it and sad when we can’t. We feel diminished somehow by no longer having that person, place, or thing in our lives.

I looked everywhere I thought I may have placed it. I was desperate to find it. “What could I have done with that ankle bracelet,” I asked myself half expecting to hear me say, “You put the ankle-let in the top drawer of the nightstand next to your bed.” This wasn’t like me. I don’t throw things away … so, where was my ankle bracelet?

Grief happens when things change or when we lose something or someone who we care about. It matters not whether the object of our affection is animate or inanimate, we grieve over that loss. Be it a dollar or a dime, change in our situations and/or circumstances, a dismantled relationship or the loss we experience when a loved one transitions from this world to the next, the grieving process will be the same.

This process is called the 5 Stages of Grief, acknowledged by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying or the 5 phases of Managing Change, like the loss of my favorite ankle bracelet.

MY PROCESS:

      1) Denial: What’s the first thing you do? You try to find the lost object. You tear up the place to locate the comb, the brush, or the penny that rolled under the sofa. In my case, it was the ankle.
      2) Anger: “Where did I put the dang gone thing? I should have taken it off before I went for that run, dang it!”
      3) Bargaining:“Please God, just let it be somewhere in the house. I promise I’ll never wear it outside again.” Yeah right!
      4) Depression: “O-mi-god, what am I going to do now? Oh man, my ankle looks naked.”
      5) Acceptance “Enough,” I said. “Get over this and move on. You can’t change what happened.” I had accepted the reality of my loss, experienced the pain, adjusted to my ankle without the bracelet, and reinvested in a new one.

We don’t have to go through the five stages in sequence. But we must go through them to heal and become whole again.

A story of moving beyond stuck

We are not defined by who we are, but by who we are becoming

Everything that has personal, professional, and spiritual meaning for me today began with a choice to do something different. Albuquerque, New Mexico was my Turning Point…

Up until that time, one of my favorite quotes used to be: “When you are stuck, throw a hand grenade, close your eyes, and JUMP!” Why was this one of my favorite quotes? Because I felt as if that was the only way I could move when I was stuck with no perceivable way out. You could say it was a “leap of faith,” but it wasn’t. It was more like a stab in the dark and my way of “busting loose.” However, that approach was not the best way to handle what I thought were insurmountable circumstances. When I jumped with my eyes closed I never knew where I would land. I often found that I had exchanged the skillet for the frying pan.

My dream job as a Hospice Nurse turned into a not so beautiful nightmare when downsizing reordered my life and I found myself without a job and receiving unemployment … When I received the notice from the state informing me that my benefits were nearly depleted, reality hit me like a brick. I had to get a job — and with a quickness. I was back to being placed through home health agencies, something I had done earlier in my nursing career. “Oh boy”, I sighed. I remembered why I traded the hospital setting for home health — too much drama! I had now traded the skillet for the frying pan. And I’m looking at a request from the city to vacate the premises. Where is that hand grenade? Life sucked.

There are times in life when you need something to help you navigate through and around rough waters until you are able to float your own boat, like how I dealt with the dismantling of a dream and my identity. I had defined myself by what I had become: a Hospice Nurse. I had attached my personal power to a position. And I did not know if I could be anything else. I felt powerless.

I needed to do something different. However, knowing that I needed to do something different was not enough; I had to want to do something different. I had to become sick and tired of being “sick and tired.” I had to become teachable. I had to stop running away from myself; and run towards ME. So, in July of 1993, I relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico with my family, and I moved from Hospice Nurse to Life Coach.

Truth: We will not live up to our potential until we give ourselves permission to move beyond the words; to live boldly and to take measured risks.

Here are some pointers I have personally found helpful in motivating myself:

Take Charge of your Destiny

Finding your voice in the midst of mediocrity

In my previous post I defined the rule of three: find your voice, tell your story and trust the process. I can’t tell you how profound the first step of finding my voice was. In the past I allowed other people’s voices, thoughts and opinions drown out my voice. We are all surrounded by people who constantly projecting their visions on us. This eventually ends up influencing our decisions and has us going down a path that doesn’t always align with our core values.

Once I became aware of this — I had to really assess what I value most. What am I truly passionate about. For me this is visual communication and personal development. Finding my voice wasn’t enough though, I have to constantly fight to maintain my voice amongst resistance and distractions. Part of my process is periodically eliminating things in my life that no longer serve my vision and intentions. Below is a tool I have incorporated into my process of finding and maintaining my voice:

Stop Doing List Visualization

Live for the Journey, not the Destination

One of my major intentions for 2011 is to launch a visualization blog to inspire and connect with a tribe of like-minded people who share a passion for discovering their personal calling. Today marks the birth of that intention and I hope that you will join me and my fellow tribe members in our attempts to make a collective dent in the universe. I began this journey two years ago. Along the way I’ve had diverse experiences and connected with several people who have inspired me to create my own personal GeniusMap (below) to guide me on my path to infinite potential. This map will serve as the framework for future blog posts on various topics from the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and Physical pillars.

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