I recently rejoined a gym (September 2020) after 5 years of working out in the great (and at times, not so great) outdoors. During this last 5 years, I have kept fit, done a lot of body weight exercises, and have stayed fit.
Over these 5 years I have worked out wherever I could, whenever I could. Going to a mild temperature gym out of the elements is one thing, but working out in all kinds of weather and conditions is another. For me, it simply reinforced my commitment to myself to stay in shape - and to always find a way.
I recall late night workouts when I was living, volunteering, and working in the UK in 2015. I'd finish a late night shift as a barman at the Isles of Scilly Golf Club, then head straight down to the local primary school on my very rusty borrowed bike (living on an island surrounded by saltwater does that) to workout on the equipment in the playground.
Often I would be doing chin ups in the moonlight at midnight. And all opposite a very old and enchanting graveyard. I loved it!
I have spent 30 years of my life in gyms. So with that experience under my belt, you might think I wouldn't need any additional information, awareness, or instruction in going back to something I knew so well, and did very well.
The fact is that I have approached rejoining the gym as if I am starting all over again. Yes I know my way around the gym, and yes, I am confident in that environment. I also know that everything in life changes. I know that techniques change, that equipment changes, that exercises and approaches change. I also know that my body changes, my mind changes, my needs change. That's a lot of change!
Now I could just resume the same old same old. But that is not going to help me to improve or to go to new levels of awareness and performance in my life.
I knew I needed to learn new ways of working out. I knew that I needed to push beyond what I already knew to explore new techniques, and open myself to new ways of thinking.
Yes the basics remain for much of what I have done before. At 55 years of age, I know that I need to prepare and build foundations for my fitness, and very importantly, for a more functional and balanced body going forward.
Do you see a connection in the way I approach my fitness and in the way I approach my coaching?
Life is not static. We are always learning, unlearning, gaining more awareness, and uncovering blind spots, and identifying false and limiting beliefs and obstacles that hold us back in our lives.
"We need to ensure we have the best information to build stronger foundations that will help us to experience higher probabilities of success in our lives." - Craig Hedge
For me it was also about understanding my own limited narratives about what fitness was. For example, resistance training is straight forward. Yes there are some new exercises that have enhanced what I do, but generally, it's pretty much as it was.
Mobility, flexibility, and rebuilding confidence in my body was another thing entirely. These are the areas I need to further understand and develop to go to new levels of performance and to maintain a healthy functioning mind and body.
I could ignore the above areas I need to work on and just do what I always did of course. I'd still look fit, be fit, and stay in shape. On the surface I would look good and I would be fit... but that would involve limited thinking, and a one dimensional approach to my fitness.
"Sometimes just knowing the basics is simply not enough." - Craig Hedge
There are now new processes I need to follow. I need to start again in the way I approach new exercises. It involves managing the ego, and understanding that I need to start where everything in life starts - and that is at the beginning!
I have incorporated new approaches and warm ups, placed much more importance on different movements, and I have devoted much more time to these things than just token or superficial time given to them. These things are now prioritised and form an equal part of my fitness approach.
I have embraced a new fitness mindset and it has been made possible by an ability to accept that I don't know it all, and that without further opening myself up to new ideas and approaches, I would make no progress mentally or physically as I continue to move through life.
As a coach, I know the value, the power, and the importance of process. The necessity to build solid foundations and understandings before racing ahead without the facts or awareness to do so, ensures better outcomes.
And how is my new fitness approach going you might ask?
Fitness and life is a constant process that simply involves one step at a time. I am building on my strengths, identifying areas for further development, I am looking for and noticing the changes, I am seeing, and seeking the evidence, and importantly, I am enjoying the journey.
May 2022 Update: My gym sessions, as mentioned above, continue to evolve. I have been embracing a lot of the training concepts from the 'Knees over toes guy' Ben Patrick as I continue to challenge fitness and exercise assumptions to improve my body and my approach to life and fitness.
Would you like to improve your probabilities of success? Let's book a session and start the journey together!