Your Body: Performance vs. Self Image

I get to work with a lot of people every day! I really feel like I have one of the most fulfilling jobs out there!  Getting to train people and watching them see their own potential and gain a passion for fitness is like the gift that keeps on giving.  However, there are stressful times too.  Both for the athlete, and myself as their coach.  I have had countless occasions when I have been approached with depressed, overworked and frustrated people!  They are usually like this because they are unhappy with their body.  It doesn’t look the way they want it to or they don’t weigh what they want to, even though they are putting in their workouts.  They all want to know what they are doing wrong and they want to know how to fix it.  So, maybe this post will save me some of those conversations in the future:

1.  Be freaking realistic!!!  There are different body types out there.  Even within a family!  My sister and I look a LOT alike.  But we are shaped totally different.  My body will never be built like hers, and hers will never be built like mine.  If you are short and stockier, you will never have the body of a supermodel.  There is no reason to get depressed and sit around with a 1/2 gallon of ice cream over it!  Some people are built to be super skinny and have a really hard time gaining muscle.  They will probably never be huge and buff.  Its not part of their genetic make up!

2.  Accept your body for what it is.  In a yoga class I was told to thank my body for the hard work it does for me every day.  This helped me realize a few things.  First, my body is incredible.  Not because of how it looks, but because of what it can do!  I can walk around, I can pick my kids up, I can lift and jump and run.  I am SO grateful for that!  Second, if I am able to do the things I love then what do I have to complain about?!  That I have a dimple under my butt cheek?  Are you kidding me!?!?!  There is NOTHING more attractive than a woman who is confident in her own skin.  I am strong and I am healthy and I could give two craps for what my scale says.

SO, you’re wondering “how does this tie into performance?”

Here is my golden rule.  Performance rules!  Worry about performance first! Stop placing value on your pants size or your weight.  Take that dream body image you have in your mind and throw it out the window.  It does not motivate, it de-motivates.  Instead, switch that image to a performance goal.  A weight you want to lift.  A skill you want to get better at.  A workout you want to PR at.  Then come to me and say “what can I do?” Now we’re on to something.  This is something we can work with.  If you get stronger, faster, more explosive, better technically, YOUR BODY WILL FOLLOW!  It will not be Halle Berry’s body, it will be YOUR body!  You need to love this body.  You need to be your own super model.   IMG_1165

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Count not what is lost, but what is left

front squatI remember in 3rd grade racing my PE class for a lap around the track.  The wind blowing in my face, pumping my scrawny little arms, long legged, knock knees flyin’ everywhere.  I finished 20 seconds ahead of everyone, even the fastest boy.  I don’t remember that teacher’s name, or what he/she looked like, but I do remember what was said.  I was told that I did a great job, that I was fast and most importantly, that I was an athlete. From that moment on there was something different in me.  I developed a desire to win.  A desire to be the best.  That desire has pushed me and helped me achieve so many things in my life.  But it’s also plagued me.  And until recently, I hadn’t realized that there is a price to pay for being competitive.

My price…I fear failure.  I fear it so badly to the point where it hinders my performance and makes me pass up on things that I would normally do and enjoy.  I get so into my head about things.  Physically I know I am able to do these things, but I think “what if I can’t?” or “what if I don’t beat that PR?”  The problem that I have when it comes to competing is that I feel my performance is a reflection of my self worth.

Some of you will tell me to man up or grow a pair, and I do most of the time.  I put on my big girl panties and get the job done, but that doesn’t take away the mind games.  Now comes the part of my post where I write about these great solutions and how I’ve overcome this.  Except, I don’t really have all the answers.  I mean, just because I write doesn’t mean I know everything.  I just have to post a bunch of crap and make sure it sounds good.  I have, however received some answers as I’ve been composing this little post (that as I’m reading, makes it sound like I’m a freakin’ wuss).

My realization…What if I don’t win?  What if I don’t get that PR?  So.Freaking.What?!  I need to turn this around.  Instead of fearing not being good enough, I need to revel in it.  Not being good enough means only that I can get better.  It means that I have something to strive for.  The best will always be beaten eventually because being the best at something can’t be sustained forever.

But what about when the best are beaten? Does this mean that they are all of a sudden “less” of an athlete? Michael Jordan won 626 games with the Chicago Bulls, but in that time he lost 358 times.  Do those losses mean that he isn’t the greatest athlete in the “history of the world” (as my husband puts it)?  No.  He is the greatest.  And there, my friends, lies my answer.   The greats will always lose, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are great.  I will lose but it doesn’t mean that I’m not good or strong.  Losing is natural but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.  So compete!  And when you lose (because you will) pick your butt up and train harder.