Fitness can be a fickle mistress.  The idea of staying fit, eating healthy, and adopting a régime which allows you to do everything you want in life can be daunting.  I found this out recently and have a brand new point of empathy.  It is hard to get back into shape and it is hard to change your thought process on how fast you should be back to being “fit.”

My personal ongoing battle as I crawl back onto the wagon:

A few months back I stopped working out for a variety of reasons.  One reason was to recover from multiple injuries and another reason was my schedule began to fill up. So I did what I tell people not to do and I started to cut working out off my list.  There were a few very noticeable effects of this decision, both tangible and vague:

  1. In three weeks I lost one pound of total weight. Great, right?  No. This included 8 lbs of muscle and I gained 3% body fat.  (We have an Inbody scanner so I could get these measurements).
  2. I mentally said “f$@k it” and this attitude started to reflect in my diet, which was a catalyst for more issues.
  3. I was taking in lower quality foods, with no regard to how it would fuel my need for energy levels.  This affected everything from my sleep, to my mental well-being.

This was a slippery slope.  One minute I was saying, “I am just going to eat a piece of pizza,” and then suddenly it was, “I am going to eat all of the pizza and drink a beer, or 5.”  The speed of the regression completely caught me off guard and kicked me right in the nuts.  It was not gradual, it was not fun, and I had to do something completely against my nature to fix it: ask for help.

Fighting back with a plan and assistance:

By the time I noticed how much I had slipped, it felt like I was in a sinking tar pit and every day I sunk a little bit more.  The thought of trying to come back from this slide was nauseating, and daunting, to say the least.  The thought of saying, “I need help with this,” was even more terrifying.  I decided to take my own advice and make small changes and stick with them.  My first change was my diet.

I cut out all of the shit food I had been gorging myself on.  This was harder than I thought it would be!  The easy, quick, and great tasting food has the dependency features of a drug.  My body wanted it, and felt like it needed it, but I had to change my eating habits before anything else.  I did not go back to weighing and measuring my macros, but I did cut out the crap (I am now back to fully measuring my food after a month of just eating healthier).  I needed to do more than just change my diet, however, but I also needed direction to keep going.  

So, I asked for help.  I talked to my coach, my wife, and my friends.  I developed a plan which allowed me to knock the dust off and have the ability ease myself back into a healthier lifestyle.  I feel this is the biggest catalyst to taking back my health.  The ability to lean on a support network for advice and a push in right direction is the principal life rope one can grab.  I more fully realized the beauty of CrossFit or any fitness program that has a community, and that beauty is in the support system.  

I have always seen this feature, but I have been on the outside looking in.  I had never really experienced it for myself and it was humbling. After getting the support I needed, it was then a matter of flipping my thought process and coming to this conclusion; asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.  This conclusion generated accountability, developed goals, a schedule, and the pressure from outside sources created a sense of urgency.  I had been sinking fast and if I didn’t make changes I would keep sinking.  Thankfully, with my support system and plan in place I was able to reverse my course and starting climb out of the hole I had created.  Just in case you did not read the last few paragraphs, here are the cliff notes:

Taking Back Your Health:

  1. Ask for help! I did this second but it should have been the first thing I did.
  2. Change your diet. It does not have to be drastic but you need to start somewhere.
  3. Create a schedule which allows time for fitness.  You need to sweat.  Maybe you start with just a 10 minute at home workout a day, maybe you join a gym but do something.  
  4. Stick with the plan and find a support system to help you.

Change is not easy, nor fun, but it can be tolerable, in the right atmosphere.  My recent journey has been enlightening, on many levels, and exposed weaknesses I never thought I had.  For me, it came down to addressing the issues, finding help, and developing a plan.  Whether you are an athlete or someone who just wants to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, you need to start somewhere.  Maybe you want to start with short workouts at home.  Awesome, I have a list of workouts I can send you!  Maybe you want an atmosphere of support.  Grand, I know a gym (CrossFit Oshkosh), which has a support network to help you on your journey.  Maybe you do not think CrossFit is for you, no worries, I will help you find a place which is right for you. I received the help I needed and I want to make sure I do the same for others.

This is all about helping you “Live your Life,” and coming back from the dark abyss.  My journey back may seem like a cakewalk for someone who has been struggling with their health for years, but looking fit and feeling fit are two different animals.  Everyone has to start somewhere and every journey begins with a single step (borrowed from Lao Tzu).  We can, and would love to, help you take that step.

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