by Emma Bond
As we prepare ourselves to come back to the gym and adapt back to a new norm, I would like to touch on one subject. Because chances are, we are going to be feeling mentally and physically different coming into the gym than ever before. And the subject I would like to talk about is… compassion.
I’m not talking about having compassion toward others. It’s pretty obvious our gym is overflowing with compassion. During my time at CFR I’ve been surrounded by members who cheer each other on during workouts, competitions.. even sometimes for just walking into the gym (on time, of course). I’ve seen members go out of their way to help others by helping them move out of their homes, giving them rides when their cars break down, offering up their home for the holidays, giving away their (expensive) time and advice when it comes to all aspects of running a business, and so much more. I have truly never met more compassionate people.
So, why are we filled with bouts of self-doubt, fear of failure, regret, and disappointment? How can we be so compassionate with or peers, but not ourselves?
We console others when they don’t hit a PR: “It’s okay, you’ve been training hard this past cycle, and you look tired today, I’m sure you’re just having an off day.” But when it comes to YOU not hitting a PR, well… just think about some of the powerful thoughts that come into your head. What do they sound like? Are they compassionate?
Or, how about when it comes to your nutrition? Have you ever been so ‘on’ in your diet and then have that one night out that fills you with guilt? You get in your lean proteins, fibrous veggies, smart carbs, every day for weeks, and one night you go out to West Hartford Center to enjoy yourself with friends and end up having one too many drinks and three too many Giant Bavarian pretzels as big as your head. What are the thoughts that run through your head that night or the next morning? Are you telling yourself you are deserving of that night out because you’ve worked very hard for it? That treating yourself every now and then is key to sustainable health? Or do you tell yourself you have no self-control, and punish yourself by going on another diet?
I advise you to try and be conscious of these types of negative thoughts and self talk. Our thoughts can be so powerful, just like our actions toward others are (think about the last time someone at the gym helped you out or said something encouraging and how long it stuck with you).
So when you find yourself coming back into the gym, or getting back on track when it comes to your nutrition, I encourage you to try this experiment. When you don’t do something “as expected,” think about yourself from someone else’s perspective. Pick someone who looks up to you – whether it be from the gym, from work, or your child/parent. Ask yourself, what would that person say to you? What would that person say if your snatch decreased by 10# because you spent the last 2 months working full time from home, playing teacher, being a chef, entertainer and everything in between? What would that person say to you if you gained 5# because baking (and eating) banana bread was the only way to keep yourself from going into a mental downward spiral? Chances are, they’d be compassionate. So let’s all try to be compassionate toward ourselves as we make our way into the new norm too.