Reading Time: 6 minutes
Running on fumes? You might need what we’ve got. But then again, you might not be ready yet. There’s a life cycle to experiences that you sometimes need to complete.
I was recently speaking with one of our members. Someone who had known about us for years but only recently joined us. I asked her why. And as soon as I heard her story, I knew I had to share it.
If you have been pushing with everything you’ve got but not seeing the kind of outcomes you want, grab a seat and listen to what she has to say.
I’ll let her take it from here:
I used to be a cardio junkie. The kind obsessed with hardcore, leave-it-all-on-the-floor workouts. Where if I didn’t end a workout drenched in sweat and completely exhausted, I didn’t feel like it had been a productive session. Sure, I knew weight training was important, and incorporated weights days into my regimen — but the majority of my gym time was spent on a spin bike. I had bought in solidly to the theory of HIIT and, for a while, it helped keep me on the leaner side.
A few years ago, I got really lucky at work and my career started to take off. While this was a positive change for me, it also came with an increased level of stress (and longer workdays). Without even realizing it, my life turned started to follow this pattern:
Intense morning workout
Long day at work
Home for (not enough) sleep
Official advice from the internet. But this works a lot better when you’re 19 and living in your parent’s basement.
Add some pretty significant life stress to that, and I started to fall apart — only I didn’t realize it 84krj6y.
Slowly but surely I started noticing changes in my body that were the opposite of what I wanted. I was having more “bad” workouts, and my clothes kept getting tighter (and not because my muscles were getting bigger).
My husband kept pointing out that I wasn’t sleeping enough. Fine, maybe he had a point. Since I worked out in the mornings, I tried to take a few days off from the gym so that I could get more sleep. The problem was that every time I did that, I felt incredibly guilty for not having worked out and resented myself the entire day. Add that to the panic I would feel every time I struggled to do up my pants and I convinced myself that sleep wasn’t the answer. No, if anything, I had to dial up the intensity of my workouts; maybe then I would start to see the results I wanted (and maybe also forgive myself for missing those other gym sessions).
(Note: you’re probably screaming at your computer and pulling your hair out right now. I know how ridiculous this sounds and it’s so obvious when I look back at it, but at the time I was too stubborn to realize it.)
Fast forward a few months like this and surprise, surprise — nothing had changed. Oh, except that I was really starting to get demotivated. I wasn’t loving those spin classes like I used to, and going to the gym felt kind of like a slog. Maybe I just needed something different to get me back into things. Superhero 101 was starting that coming January at Bang Fitness; I had visited the gym a few times and it seemed like a cool place, so I signed up. I was SO EXCITED. This was going to be the magic bullet that was going to get me back into shape and make me look like a world champion Cross-Fitter.
I did the first class and I don’t even think I broke a sweat. We were building the foundation for our kettlebell swings, but you know — I had been working out for years, so I already knew everything. (Not.) I just wanted to throw some heavy shit around and shed those pounds.
A few classes later, we moved on to a 90lb sled push. Finally! This was my kind of thing. I was totally going to rock this. So you can imagine my surprise when I performed worse than everyone else. Like significantly worse. And it wasn’t just that one time, either — it kept happening. Clearly, I wasn’t the superhero I thought I was, and that was something I just wasn’t prepared to deal with.
At the same time that Superhero 101 was going on, we went through a major restructuring at work and it was an incredibly stressful (and miserable) time. I was very fortunate that things worked out for me, but holy shit was that ever a wake-up call. I had spent so much of my life at the office in recent years, and I realized that I had lost myself. (It got so bad that when I went out with friends and they would ask what was new, I couldn’t really give them an answer because all I ever seemed to do was work.)
I had to make a change, on a lot of fronts. I was unhappy with my physical state. I was unhappy with work. I had a great partner but I felt like I never saw him because I was either at the gym, at the office, or asleep. I had a never-ending list of things I wanted to do but never had time for. I wanted my life back.
I already knew that what I had been doing at the gym wasn’t working but hadn’t wanted to admit it to myself, and I credit Bang with basically making me face reality. After I finished the program I went back to my usual gym routine, but my heart wasn’t really in it anymore and I stopped going as regularly as I had been. I could have joined Bang Fitness then, but it just didn’t fit with my schedule — and I wasn’t ready to face that sled again yet.
At the end of the summer, I went on vacation to the UK for three weeks. Three glorious weeks where I got to spend my days walking around and seeing cool stuff, spending quality time with my man, and not thinking about work. I think we hadn’t had a real vacation in a number of years, and I hadn’t realized how badly we needed that.
There’s nothing like stepping away from your everyday life to put things in perspective, and that’s exactly what happened during this trip. I was in the middle of complaining reflecting about my lack of work-life balance when I literally had a eureka moment. This was MY life –the power to change things was in MY control. No one else was forcing me to stick to a particular schedule — if I wanted to work a normal work day and fit in an evening workout, then that’s all I had to do. (Yes, I can see you throwing your hands up as you read this and thinking ‘Exactly! OMG…’ I feel you. I felt pretty liberated when I realized this — but I’m also sheepish that it took me so long to get there.)
I joined Bang Fitness when I got back in September. I was in a much better headspace and open to start from the beginning and build strong foundations. (To be honest, I don’t think I ever had proper form so I needed to anyways.) I’m not going to lie — there were definitely times, especially in those early days, when the old me kept trying to reappear and I’d get the urge to go back to the cardio life. But I had essentially not done one of those workouts in two months, and my pants still fit the same despite all the vacation indulgences. (At any rate, they weren’t getting any tighter.) Maybe there really was something to slowing down, getting more sleep, and doing things in moderation.
I kept at it and cycled through those first few programs fairly quickly. It wasn’t long before I started noticing improvements. My body was getting into position more naturally. I had more range of motion. And bonus — I was picking up heavier and heavier weights. The workouts became more challenging, but not impossible. It was a new sensation to leave the gym satisfied with my workouts and not feeling like I had to take a 3-hour nap to recover.
I can’t say I miss my old life, but I still do a spin class every once in awhile. And I’m doing it because I enjoy it and not because I feel like I need to accomplish something. I’m trying to find ways to incorporate more movement into my daily life and get outside for walks or hikes (which is easier said than done when it’s -20 outside). Bang Fitness is part of a bigger personal mission to reclaim my life and rediscover myself, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey will take me.