Now that I’ve undergone such big changes and my body has transformed so much, I’ve gotten a better understanding of both my pre-fitness mindset and my current boundaries and limitations. The funny thing is…they go hand in hand.
On this Motivational Monday morning, I want to have a (relatively) brief and (per usual) candid chat about knowing yourself, being in touch with your body, and learning your limits. I hope many of you will come to find what I did – it’s all in your head.
When I was 300 lbs part of what was holding me back was The Fear Monster. I was afraid to get up and go, I was afraid of failure. I wasn’t really sure what my physical limits were…where my boundaries lay…but I figured the bar was pretty low. I knew how easily I got winded and I wasn’t too keen on finding out just how little I could really do. So I just assumed I was pretty limited in terms of physical fitness. No running a mile, no heavy lifting, no endurance to speak of…nothing.
Then I started getting fit. I started pushing it, going until exhaustion…and then continuing. This was a big step for me…I had never tested my boundaries…never challenged my limits. But I had to get through the workout. I had to keep up with the people in the video. I had to look impressive for Megan or at least look like I was making progress. Slowly but surely the little victories came…I could do regular push-ups instead of on my knees…I could do the jump a little between lunges instead of having to step quickly through them…progress is progress, right? Slowly, I kept getting better. I even tried going for a run!
Then Something Happened Last Week –
I finished Body Beast…and I started getting onto my endurance training calendar for the half-marathon I’m running. I went out for a run, and decided to do a fast 5K. Just go and see what I can do. I was cookin’. I got back home and crossed my little “finish line”…and Runkeeper’s audio cues came on when I “stopped” the run – my pace had drastically improved. I’m not talking like baby steps progress, good for you, rah rah rah…I’m talking WHOA…who kicked on the afterburners? I got 8:22 min/mile average – that’s about a minute and a half off my usual mile time. I had no idea how I went that fast or maintained that pace over 3.1 miles…but I did it.
The Next Day I went on a longer run – I had planned on 8 miles but only had time for 5, so I went. As I was running I heard my Runkeeper audio cues over the music of my playlist…telling me 9:15 min/mile, 8:56 min/mile, 8:57 min/mile…um…EXCUSE ME? I was doing it again! This time, I was going farther…could I maintain that past the 3 mile mark? Was it possible?
YES! I did 5.06 miles in 44:36. That’s an average pace of 8:49. You’ve got to be kidding me! The bottom line here is…my initial perceptions have gone out the window…totally shattered. My boundaries have been pushed off a cliff. I don’t actually know what my limits are now, but I’m convinced I can continue pushing them and improving. People like to say “no, that’s impossible” “no, there’s no way I can do that”. Nonsense. One of my favorite quotes out there…is about the word “impossible”.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali
We create our limits in our minds. I firmly believe that, given time and training, anything is possible. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable and will take as much as we are willing to throw at them. The human body can morph from 300 lbs and sedentary to 160 lbs and running ultramarathons. The body will learn to do what you tell it. If you just take the time and train, you can do anything. That’s how professional body builders get so huge. That’s how these people who run 100 mile races get that kind of endurance. That’s how I got where I am. I whole-heartedly believe that, and I hope others will come to figure it out as they too push their limits and learn their potential.
The mind is an incredibly powerful thing – if you believe you’re sick, and you believe it hard enough, your body will manifest that and you’ll get sick (it’s an actual medical thing). If you believe you can’t do something, you simply won’t be able to. If you believe that you can’t run, you will never make it past the first mile. But if you let go of the mental roadblocks you’ve created for yourself and just…well…try…you’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish. In the last week I have had so many personal milestone accomplishments…its like all of a sudden I broke through to a new place. My body is more flexible, I found core strength I didn’t know I had, I can run faster…all because I just let go of all the mental roadblocks and limits that I thought I had.
Lose your limits.
I challenge you not to focus on what you can’t do, or what you think you can’t do…but to work on being better than you were yesterday. Reach a little farther, go a little faster, experiment with a little more weight…you’ll find that over time, as you try harder and harder, you will go farther and farther. You will shatter your own perceptions of your ability. No matter how out of reach something might seem, just remember –