For those of you who know me I like to keep my personal life well personal. But today I set a personal precedent and share how I used training to come back from adversity and why it is the healthiest and most positive way to empower yourself when someone or something kicks you down. Earlier this year I got whacked with the adversity bat. I'm not going to divulge much further than that as adversity comes in many packages - bereavement, heartbreak, illness, burnout, divorce are the big ones and they can all be as painful as the other. The one thing they have in common is the ability to knock you sideways, leaving you shocked, stunned, lost, insecure and lacking confidence. Your friends and family are great and they console and support you as best they can. But what you really need is a way back up to where you were because you have commitments, a job and people that depend on you functioning and performing well. The one thing I reach for when I am faced with adversity is training. I've also got amazing friends who have entered Fitness Modelling competitions and Ironman competitions with the same goal - to train themselves out of adversity. For me, it serves so many purposes. Here are the main things that gave me my journey out of adversity back to my amazing energetic and fabulous self and why they played such an important role for me personally.
I felt really lost - like I was spinning which is a common feeling when your whole world is up-ended. I needed a focus and exercise gave me that. For an hour each day I was able to switch off my constant chatter and just focus on how it felt to train my body back to my usual fitness level. I made myself work hard and endure the discomfort and it was mind-numbingly wonderful. I set myself a very superficial goal which I would never encourage my clients or you to do but I had my reasons and it motivated me. I wanted a visible six pack in 3 months and I wanted to build a 'suit of armour' with my body. I knew I had to train very hard to achieve this and I also had to eat a very clean diet. Once I had established this goal it was easy for me to stick to eating well and training hard. I wore my best workout outfits for every training session and took photos of my progress periodically for motivation and to see my improvements.
Training Myself to Sleep
I had a really hard time sleeping for about a month so I couldn't start training right away. When I finally felt I could start, sleep came so easily and I cannot tell you how much it helped me. Lack of sleep was slowing the mental and emotional recovery process for me. Getting back to exercise and exhausting myself helped me sleep better and I was able to begin thinking rationally through the day. My performance at work got better and this made me feel good.
The best part about training myself out of adversity was exercise empowered me. I chose to focus on high intensity training for short durations. I wanted to feel invincible. As I had trained as a boxer years ago I went back to boxing and kickboxing training. This was an obvious outlet for strong emotions. As part of my training I also chose the short distance of 5k which I ended up doing every day increasing the speed over this set distance. I also did a mix of bodyweight and strength training workouts a few times a week. A certain points I was training twice a day. After 3 months I was 'fight fit', I had decreased my 5k run by 8 mins and I was ripped! See the photos below!
The Happy Hormone
Adversity can bring sadness which is a tough one to get through. Once I began exercising I started to feel less sad and then I started to feel better and it didn't take long before I was experiencing the feelings of happiness again. This helped me get through my day with more positivity and energy. I found myself wanting to do activities and spend time with people again. I quickly realised that sadness was not serving me for my next workout and I got out of the habit of allowing myself to be sad.
The Best Pathway
There are many choices when it comes to dealing with tough stuff. Some of us may use alcohol or other state changers to escape and numb tough emotions. Some of us sink into depression for a while. You may start comfort eating or not eating enough. But I hope this personal experience that I've shared with you will inspire you to consider using exercise as a means of recovery from adversity - whether you are going through something now or when it may hit you in the future. There are so many benefits - you will look and feel better, you'll gain fitness, you'll be healthier, happier, more energised, empowered, confident and life will soon become enjoyable and good again.
Have you trained yourself out of adversity? Share your story with me on the Precision Movement Facebook page. Do you need to train yourself out of a tough situation? Get in contact with me, KT, at KT@precisionmovement.co.uk.