Fitness: When Things Go Wrong
If you are reading this article then something in the gym or in your healthy schedule has not gone to plan and you are reading this to find a solution. Alternatively you could be reading this article in order to be prepared in case something goes wrong. Either way you are welcome.
Lots of things can go wrong in fitness and in exercise and it can be unbelievably frustrating for us. We think little of it, but fitness is actually quite a sensitive process; we put a lot of effort into something with no short-term benefit and there are lots of things acting against us and we can never truly be sure that what we are doing is working. Once you stand back and appreciate the entire process of exercise you realize that what seems like a simple activity is much more intricate.
This means that if things go wrong; if anything goes wrong then the thing you must not do is blame yourself. Think of the process of exercise as a massive machine of various moving parts and only you are the mechanic. It is up to you to keep this machine going at an optimum speed. At some point a part of the machine breaks down and thus has an adverse effect on other parts of the machine; slowing down the whole process or the machine stops altogether. The blame can not be on you. Your body is too complex to think about; but when you try to think that our bodies are made of billions of different types of cells acting in different ways can you be surprised that there are setbacks now and again?
What setbacks are we talking about? there are hundreds of variations of things that can go wrong; from a simple failure of motivation on one day to a serious injury and everything in between. Under-training and over-training are also things that go wrong without an obvious signal that something has gone wrong. Missing a fitness target or not going to the gym on a scheduled day are also things that go wrong. Every gym bunny has gone through this.
The simple element to anything that goes wrong is the strongest thing we can control; the reaction. How we react to setbacks is the most important thing. In one of the Rocky films there is a small speech that Sylvester Stallone gives about life;
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
Adversity can breed depression and hopelessness but it can also breed defiance and strength. This can relate to anything that goes wrong, especially when it comes to our healthy lives. If something goes wrong don't just keep moving forward but harness that adversity into a positive energy. This might sound like a mystical way of thinking but in practice it is much simpler. If you eat pizza one night and feel really guilty about it don't just forget about it, use that guilt to power you through tomorrow's workout even more than you usually do. That transformation of negative energy and negative emotion into positive emotion is just as powerful as a pre-workout shake.
Everyone goes through a setback on a day-to-day basis but when it comes to fitness it is a precious and sensitive issue that needs as little going against it as possible to continue. That machine referred to at the start of this article is a very sensitive machine and and only you are operating it and keeping it going. When it comes to avoiding setbacks there is only so much we can do; we can plan ahead, we can make plan Bs and Cs, we can go slowly, we can have back-up plans. We cannot however predict the future and so when something goes wrong the first thing you should think about is how to react.
A reaction checklist is quite a good idea for some people. This can look something like;
1) Remain calm if necessary
2) Breathe in and out in 4/4 time for a minute
3) Describe the situation to yourself
4) Analyze why this has happened
5) Use the analysis to come up with a solution
6) Initiate solution
7) Learn from event
All of that apart from number 7 can all be done within a matter of minutes. It might sound a bit drastic for some of the simple setbacks but a multitude of simple setbacks is the equivalent of one big setback so best to act on the small setback before it begins to pile up and cause more of an issue than it has to be.
In any situation it is imperative to be rational, to not blame yourself on anybody, to react in a positive way or turn negativity into positivism within an hour or two and to be stronger because of it. When it comes to fitness the ability to overcome adversity in all its forms is one of the biggest elements of a long and healthy fitness lifestyle, and one of the greatest ways to thrive in life.