Hey guys – happy October!
I had a semi-epiphany (semipiphany?) after a killer workout today. I say killer – because in the last month i made a pretty big a$$ decision in my little life to switch it up. Switch up my eats. switch up my workouts. switch up my vibes. Instead of constantly starting/ending mind chat with “yes, I did lose X pounds X years ago, but now I’m at a plateau” (code – yes, I did once rock at this, but now I kinda suck)
Anyway – one of the things I’ve done is switch to HIIT circuit style workouts – which in itself deserves a blog all of its own (its coming, next)
but it started before. Without a lie, I speak about 2 solid hours procrastinating, stopping myself going to the gym. I hadn’t been in 3 days (for a whole host of reasons I don’t need to bore you with) but I had all these doubts, these fears in my mind, a running commentary of negativity.
- you can’t do it
- HIIT / running/ spinning / x is too hard
- there isn’t enough time
- you haven’t been in 3 days, you’ve “fallen off the wagon”, you’re outta shape
- this new workout isn’t doing any good, you should quit
- you didnt go to weigh in, you probably gained this week
- you snacked on toast an hour ago – how can you work out now?
- (and the worst one)
- whats the point…. (you are always going to be f** anyway…)
In my many years of trying to develop a healthier existence, I’ve come to learn that these fears get louder and louder the longer you leave them to linger.
They can become SO loud, that they paralyse you. The fear can numb you – it can convince you not to workout that one session, which can turn into a week, a month, a lifetime of a “can’t do attitude”. Its the truth behind what they say when weightloss, and a health and fitness journal is more mental, than physical.
Fear and phobia is a real thing. I once lived next door to a gym (literally) but went twice in a whole year, because I was new to the game and I had gymophobia. Spinning, probably one of my favourite classes, is something I didn’t do for 5+ years – why? because I was Scared.
Despite the common perception that people “face their fears” to manage them, most of us don’t. In fact, the most common human reaction of fear is avoidance.
Avoidance can manifest itself in many ways – sometimes its as simple as standing on top of chair hopping about for fear of a spider on the floor! but in other ways it can be quite destructive and restrictive, building high walls as a barrier between you and your dreams – the fantasy of it being actually much worse than the reality. Specifically in the the realm of emotional overeating – fear can often be avoided by “stuffing down” negative unwanted, unconscious emotions (literally) with food.
We start to create stories, narratives, mostly fiction, far removed from “well – whats the worst that could happen?” these psychological fears rob us of what we are truly capable of. They rob you of your speech, your expression, your outlet. Instead of embracing something new, the fear can cripple you to STS – stay the same (aka. the dreaded plataeau)
another common notion is the “fight or flight” phenomenon – ever heard of the expression “a rabbit caught in headlights?” – we have an inbuilt physiological reaction to fear and stress – one of fighting, or of running away. Fighting however, isn’t strictly true – really it should be “Freeze or flight” – the rabbit many freeze in total shock about their imminent death, and in some cases many will “play dead” in the face of a predator, avoidance to the greatest extreme.
So – whats my answer to fear? i’m a lover not a fighter, so constantly fighting feels too aggressive (and exhausting!) freezing doesn’t feel healthy and feigning death… well surely can’t be an option!
for me, the answer, the only true answer to succeed in this intense hustle is to
FEEL THE FEAR (and do it anyway)
ie. I hear what you say – yes I find it hard – yes I haven’t been in a week – and yeah, maybe I’m still the F** word, but you know what? F*** you, I’m going to keep trying anyway.
I’ve realised there has to be a certain level of ownership. We gotta stop kidding ourselves. Pretending negative thinking doesn’t exist or “turning every negative into a positive” has its place, but if we don’t actually accept the way we feel about it (whether this change makes us feel nervous, scared, unsure of ourself) we will never truly grow stronger, emotionally or physically.
Awknowledging our emotions, truly feeling and embracing it is EMPOWERING. In fact, a little bit of anxiety can do you good as it can enhance performance ! it simulates a burst of adrenaline, our natural pre-workout! that gives you the energy to succeed.
The trick (and there is a trick here) is catching yourself before the fear takes over. Feeling the fear, but not letting it overcome you. Feeling a little bit of fear, but then using that as your springboard to move forward.
For me, in very simple, practical way, I give myself a time limit.
For example – if I’m afraid to try a new class or do a new workout, or present in an important meeting I tell myself “right, I’m giving you 2 minutes to feel all the above, have your mini freak out, accept these emotions – but when the clock strikes one I want you to put your big girl pants on, give a smile and go for it!” its at this point I find movement very helpful – I get out of my head and into my shoes! physical activity, especially something that makes your sweaty and breathless, is great for busting through fear and jittery nerves, because you (literally) do not have time to think about your doubts, because you’re too busy trying to get through the workout and stay alive!!!
i hope this Friday night ramble helps you on your journey, with whatever fears you may be fighting, or feeling !
Let me know how you deal with fear, and we can support eachother through the grind!