Career 14 November 2016
“In life and in fitness …”
I start more sentences that way than I care to admit, probably as a result of the four years I spent figuring out how to quit my job, build the team that writes aSweatLife.com and force my way into becoming a subject matter expert on the burgeoning studio fitness scene.
I’ve found - in my research, in building my business, in the classes that I teach - that the way a person handles the stress inflicted on her body in a particularly tough training session, is parallel to how she’ll perform in other intense situations.
And in that sweat you leave on the floor at the gym, there are some pretty big lessons that you can take into business.
Work to failure
In the gym, you get your biggest gains from failing. You work until your body quits and it’s in that moment of perceived weakness that you get stronger. Your body rebuilds and next time you try, it’s capable of more. It’s easy to try to avoid those moments – to avoid failure by only playing in territory that’s familiar and a little less risky.
In business, moments of failure, but more importantly how you deal with that failure, are the times you get stronger and break past your limits.
Set goals and achieve them
There’s that moment three seconds from the end of a set when a trainer starts to count down, shouting “Three, two, one …”
The second she says the word, “three,” half of the class stops what they’re doing because the end is a couple of seconds away. I’d argue that those last three seconds are the most important. There’s a grit in finishing what you started.
Even if it’s just for your own benefit, make it a habit to complete the things you start –unless those things detract from your overall goal.
There’s a difference between choices and chances
Once in a while you get lucky and you make a free throw after a three-year hiatus from the basketball court. That’s chance. When fortune favors you, be ready to pounce.
The rest of the time, realize that it’s up to you to choose the right path, the hard path, the path that will make you stronger. The choices that you make determine what kind of life, what kind of success and what kind of business relationships you’ll have. Lean more heavily on choice than chance.
The everything-hurts-and-I’m-dying feeling isn’t forever
There comes a point in a tough workout at which you think to yourself, “This is terrible and I can’t go on.” But you can and you do. Maybe you have to shake your legs out a little bit (which, by the way, does absolutely nothing) or take a sip of water, but you get back in the game and you finish what you started.
The thing known as the trough of sorrow in a startup is very real, but there are also tough projects, budget shortfalls and other stressful business events that feel like they’re going to last forever. Hang onto why you started and be resilient enough to make it through those times.
Everything is better with friends
There’s a reason why group fitness has exploded in popularity over the past four years. Human beings crave connection and community. Even if you talk to no one in your hour-long workout, the energy of the group around you is going to push you to try harder without even realizing it.
When I started aSweatLife.com, I wanted to share the group fitness classes that I loved, but it ended up being a lonely pursuit. I was spending hours working by myself, talking to readers I’d never met.
When I finally accepted help, built a team, nurtured partnerships and started to actively pursue real-life community, things got exponentially more fun.
In life and in fitness, it’s not going to be easy, but if you’ve made the right choices and surround yourself with the right team, you’ll end up solving the kind of problems that make you jump out of bed each morning.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.