I woke up Monday morning at 5:45am and the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was my gym bag. I had packed it the night before as I did not want to give myself any excuses to miss my morning session. When I sat up I started to cry. I was so tired but felt so guilty that I had committed to 'never miss a Monday' and knew how many workout posts I would see when I looked at my phone of others who had already killed their first workout of the week.
When I read about new fitness trends or scroll through social media I am beginning to see a pattern forming. The language around fitness includes a new animal: The Beast.
The Beast 'smashes' their workouts
The Beast 'wrecks' and 'destroys' their arms/legs/cardio
The Beast leaves it all out on the floor
We are told to constantly be digging deeper, to look for that next level. We need to give more and more to our workouts in order to see results. The problem with this approach is it is not sustainable. Eventually you do not want to go hard, you just want to go home.
Please do not get me wrong, I bloody love training hard. I love lifting heavy weights, I love challenging myself. I do not want to rest on my laurels. But I also do not want to leave the gym feeling dizzy and nauseous because I have pushed myself too far. I do not want to exhaust myself so much or cause such severe DOMS that I either cannot train for a week or feel forced to push through the pain for fear of being labelled a 'princess.' I want to leave my workouts feeling like I have used my body to the best of its ability in that moment.
And the reality is, only you are going to know where that line is for you. Some people excel as part of the 6am club, I just know I am not one of them. I have to prioritise rest just as much as training to feel my best. The hard part is what happens when you do not know where that line is; when you are trusting the opinion or judgement of someone else whose goal is to sell you a product or lifestyle. They will always tell you to do more because it benefits them, not you.
Let's face it, balance just is not sexy. A measured approach does not make for great Instagram fodder or generate profit. In the same way that our approach to diet has been about cutting out as much as possible to stay healthy: our approach to fitness has become to cram in as much as possible. Combine those two things together and where do we think we are going to end up?
So, if you are one of those people that would like to be more active but do not think you have it in you to be Beasting it 5-6 days a week, I am here to tell you that you do not have to. Movement does not have to be savage. It can be measured and kind and full of joy. If you find going hard is the thing for you, then absolutely go for it, just remember that is ok to go home too.