Physical Wellbeing: How I Got Re-Started

Author: Shamis Pitts

I did not exercise in 2019 until Thursday, December 5th. What got me going? I signed up for my friend’s December 6th kundalini yoga class. The last time I went to her class, I ended up with a severe muscle spasm. (Visual: Me, rolled up in a ball, knees to my chest, whispering, “I’m okay. Don’t worry about me. I just need a minute.”)

I was determined not to experience that again, so I went to the gym, did some stretching and foam rolling and got on the elliptical machine. Lucky for me, I happened to run into my former personal trainer and “boom!” I was back on track. I started training with him the following week. Sound easy enough? Alas, it wasn’t.

What Were My Physical Health Challenges?

In 2019, I was “all in” on my mental health, i.e., my emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, as well as spiritual and societal wellbeing. Physical wellbeing? Not so much. My year was filled with minor health challenges that were directly related to my lack of physical exercise.

– I had chronic pain in my right hip that caused me to hobble around every time after getting up from a seated position.
– I woke up each morning with a sore back – the culprit: sleep (smh).
– My joints were constantly achy.
– My left foot started to throb with pain anytime I wore my go-to, cute, NYC-walking-approved wedge shoes – the culprit: an extra 7-10 pounds (sigh).
– The manual dexterity in my stroke arm decreased and my ability to navigate opening jars, using chopsticks and writing without my forearm paining me left me frustrated.
– My cholesterol spiked and my doctor told me the culprit was – you guessed it – a lack of exercise.
– The final straw was that none of my clothes were fitting. Shopping isn’t my thing, so the idea of purchasing a new wardrobe was not appealing to me.

Seeing this list makes me cringe. This doesn’t even take into account things lurking in my family history that I get to keep in the back of my mind. We all have challenges. Some can be seen and some cannot.

What was more important to me than working out? Building two business. That was clear to me. I got coaching around this issue several times throughout the year; however, I was unwilling to commit to what I said was important to me. It didn’t end up on my calendar, so it didn’t happen. And since I was clear on my reason for inaction, I forfeited the right to complain about it, so I stayed on my unhealthy path…And felt miserable.

To create boldness in the future meant I must be bold in the present.

What Shifted Me Into Action?

As I mentioned in a previous article, I am a recovering workaholic. My drive to work is so powerful that I am prone to compromising my health. I started asking myself these questions.

– How much longer am I willing to continue feeling this way?
– How am I going to stay on this entrepreneurship journey for the long haul if my body is breaking down already?
– How can I have authentic discussions with my clients about the importance of their physical health when I am out of integrity with my own?
– If I believe in leading by example, what example am I setting?

Since I had set the intention of being bold in 2020, I realized that to create boldness in the future meant I must be bold in the present. So, I signed up for the aforementioned kundalini yoga class and I started moving forward.

What Are My Desired Outcomes?

My intention is to exercise, on average, 3 times each week so that I regain strength in my right arm, lower my cholesterol and lose 2-3 inches from my waistline. This is important to me because I want to feel strong and energized when I wake up in the morning AND 40 years from now. The practices that support me today will support me for the tomorrow that I want to experience. Notice, I didn’t say anything about losing weight because thinking about that doesn’t motivate me. My pants being too tight in my waistline – that’s another story.

– What are my health goals?
– Why are those things important to me?
– What will keep me in action?

Well, based on previous evidence, when I commit to a personal training session 1 time per week, I typically work out 3 times a week. If I don’t, I will struggle through my training session. If I miss a day, it gets added to the following week.

Having a trainer as an accountability partner really works for me. My trainer calls our sessions, “Let’s Make a Deal,” because I am always negotiating what I will and will not do…and I usually end up doing it anyway. Since I have exercise-induced asthma, I appreciate having the one-on-one time so I can decide when I want to take a break. (I am competitive, so group training classes usually result in my overdoing it and getting a lecture from my husband re: said topic.)

What Are My Key Takeaways?

Personal training is an investment and it works for me. My intention is not to advocate for paying a trainer. Rather, I am encouraging you to create space to ask yourself, “What are my health goals? Why are those things important to me? What support do I require to be in my commitment to my health?”

My key learning on this physical wellbeing journey is the importance of an accountability partner. That can be a person or an app or a calendar or…I could go on. Bottom line: I am not you so I cannot tell you what would work for you. Think about it. Or journal about it. Or talk about it…out loud – to yourself or to someone else. Again, whatever works for you.

I will be keeping y’all abreast of my journey.

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