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What I'm Into - Jim

If you know me, you’re probably aware that I am a creature of habit. I wake up at the same time, eat the same meals, go to the same bars (because they have the beers I like), and so on and so forth. I love my routines! So much so that even during quarantine, I stuck to them. The one exception to this rule is vacation, but even then, I try to maintain as much consistency as possible. These routines make me happy, they work for me, with my life and my goals. So, it can often be challenging to speak to the new things that I am into, but in this blog post, I’m gonna speak to something that has been newer to me, especially as I’ve started to get older.

So, what's new in my fitness routine, what am I into these days?  Well, my answer probably isn’t what you’re expecting.

Not giving a bleep…that’s what I’m into these days.

Before we go into what this means, know that resistance training, or lifting, has been a constant in my life since I was thirteen. I began lifting weights to prepare for freshman football, and over 30 years later, I'm still at it, still loving it. I derive both mental and physical benefits from spending 45 minutes to an hour in the gym. It's a practice I can't imagine giving up. And while most of the exercises I do haven't changed much, my approach can change as my goals change.  Currently, my fitness objectives are mainly aesthetic—I aim to look and feel a certain way, and lifting is essential to achieving that.

I’ve also been into different forms of cardio throughout my life. I was a swimmer when I was a child, which was a pretty extreme form of cardio, however after I stopped swimming, I ended up going easy on the cardio until after I graduated from college. I found running after college because it not only gave me a way to feel good and clear my head (much like lifting), but I was also able to compete at something physical again, and this was a game changer for me. I’ve been known to be super competitive, but as you’re about to find out, that has changed.

Like many others, I've struggled with caring too much about what others think. This has at times stopped me from trying new things or led me to try other things I really wasn't interested in. One of the biggest reasons for this is external perception, or at least what I thought was external perception. Nowadays, I'm consciously trying not to care about external opinions, and I’ve been finding that when I let go of this concern, I open myself up to new experiences and stay true to my true interests. I’ve found there to be drawbacks and dangers for me when I let someone else’s opinion, or even worse, when I think someone may have an opinion when I let this shape what I do. 

The drawback to this is that I don’t try new things (or old things) because I’m concerned about how I may be perceived. Maybe it’s an exercise or a form of training that is currently out of favor for no good reason, so I don’t want to be judged. Worse to that, what if I’m not good at it? Unfortunately, these concerns have held me back at times. On the flip side of that, there have been times that I have been influenced by “what you’re supposed to do”. Well, maybe this isn’t what I want to do, and if I’m doing something that doesn’t work for me or my goals, then I again being held back in a way. Being influenced by other opinions at times has taken me off my path. There have been times that this has helped, but usually that influence comes from a professional.

The dangers are another story. For me, I can get very competitive based on perception, and lead to injury or burn out. Thankfully, I haven’t had a big injury come from getting competitive for over a decade, but I truly believe if I was still pushing myself in that way, letting that part of me win, I’d have at least another one or two. That being said, there can be benefits to using others to push yourself beyond your comfort zones, but make sure you do it safely and for the right reasons. In the past I’ve let it get the better of me.

So how do I keep myself from getting caught in the mental trap of caring about what other people think? I focus on a few key factors:

Aligning with My Goals: The things I choose to do should reflect my goals, not what other people think I should do. Most times what other people think, reflects their goals not mine or yours. Again, I’m not talking about taking advice from a friend or professional, but more of doing things because it’s what most (or some) people think is best. So rather than doing that, I design my workouts to support my goals. I’m fortunate that I’m personal trainer, so if this isn’t something you know how to do, the good news is, if you’re reading this is Vos Fitness is probably in your building and we love helping out. We’re always available to chat.

Embracing Enjoyment: Fun is a crucial component of my fitness journey. If I'm not enjoying my workouts, I'm unlikely to maintain consistency, and I bet the same goes for you.  As a personal trainer, I encourage clients to incorporate activities they genuinely enjoy into their routines to create a positive and sustainable approach to fitness. There are a million things to do in a gym, have fun!

Prioritizing Health and Safety: While enjoyment is essential, prioritize health and safety. Balancing intensity, variety, and recovery helps prevent injuries and ensures long-term progress. It's about finding the right mix of challenging workouts and adequate rest to support overall health and fitness. This is so important, cause if I only followed my first two factors, I’d end up injured or burnt out from doing chest every day mixed with extreme cardio.

Why share this about myself? 

I want people to know that even fitness professionals like myself experience discomfort and vulnerability in the gym. Improvement requires vulnerability, and it's okay to acknowledge areas where we're not as strong. Remember, the gym is a space for self-improvement, and any judgment from others reflects things about them, not about you

Also in the health and fitness space, there's no shortage of advice from self-proclaimed experts. While some may offer valuable insights, it has become so hard to figure out what is genuine expertise, what is amateur advice, and what are just personal agendas. Ultimately, you know yourself best, so trust your instincts and seek guidance from qualified professionals when needed.

Your fitness journey is uniquely yours—don't let it be hijacked by external pressures or misguided advice. Trust yourself, stay true to your goals, and enjoy the process of becoming the best version of yourself.

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