Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stay Strong, Do The Work

I’ve been with Fitness Together three and a half years this month, and over that time I’ve noted many Michael Watkins quotes that have gotten me through some tough times. One of the things I respect the most about Michael is how he keeps it real by telling me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. And one of the best characteristics I have found in Michael as a trainer and friend is that he has a way of saying these things and is still be able to encourage and motivate me. And even when he’s not around, not only do these things pop into my mind as I struggle, but I can hear his voice as if he’s in my head.

One of the things I did in the first year and a half, is I focused A LOT on my cardio. I would be in there twice a day just for cardio doing anywhere from an hour to two hours on the treadmill at a time. I still focus on cardio, and even get it in daily outside my sessions; but this past year and a half I have drifted away from basic cardio such as the treadmill, elliptical, or just going out for a walk and have focused more on HIIT or AMRAP cardio workouts. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact the HIIT workouts can be very effective because they focus on intense intervals of work with very little rest period.

But what I found out yesterday is by getting away from the basic, less intense longer duration cardio, is I lost some of my endurance when it came to the incline intervals I was doing and even the speed and distance. And that’s when (despite how annoying it can be at times….lol) having Michael’s voice inside my head with all the random things he’s said to me over the years, really is beneficial. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I am a strong believer in getting in there and at least doing something, because it’s always better than nothing. So, my plan was to do like an incline interval ladder, where I did my 5-minute warm up, increase the incline by five levels every five minutes until I get to the highest level of 15 and then go back down, then end with a 5-minute cool down. Well, when I was at the level 10, I noticed it was harder than I remembered, but didn’t really worry about it because I was determined to get through the five minutes at that level. But, then……oh my gosh!!!!! Level 15 for five minutes, I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I got to the two minute mark and really thought about decreasing the incline because my legs were just aching so badly. But, I thought no, I can do this. And so I turned my focus on my music that always inspires me and off of the timer and just told myself I have to keep going. Next thing I know, I’m breathing harder and I have sweat running down my face, neck, arms, and I look down and there are just drops of sweat on the treadmill belt. I look at the timer and I still have 90 seconds to go and my first instinct is to just drop the incline back to 10 and do six and a half minutes on a lower level. But, then all of a sudden Michael’s voice popped into my head saying, “Stay strong, do the work.” And since I had my headphones in, not sure if it was loud enough where anyone else heard me, but I just kept repeating that over and over until I finished those last 90 seconds. In the end, I finished just as I planned, and it was rough, but the important thing is I didn’t stop or give into the temptation to make it easier. And what did I learn from this? That I need to get back to doing some basic cardio! :)

The reason I go through this, is because recently I’ve had the honor and opportunity where some other FT clients have reached out to me because they are struggling or have become discouraged with their nutrition or workouts, and I think it’s important for everyone to know that the struggles are real and it’s important we get through them without giving up. Even after three and a half years, I still have moments I struggle mentally, emotionally, and physically, but having an amazing support system through my friends, family, and my FT family, I always get through those difficult times. And I want, not just my FT family, but anyone who struggles within their own health and fitness journey to know that they can always reach out to me. In fact, I would hope they would reach out, especially if they are on the verge of quitting. Being able to inspire and help others in their own journey helps me work hard to be better every day. So, I leave you with a couple of Michael Watkins’ quotes that have helped me get through those moments where I didn’t want to go workout or wanted to stop in the middle of a set, “Your only option is to show up!” and then of course, “Stay strong, do the work!”