You’ve been stretching/training/following your passion diligently for the past 5 years or so. You went through it all: the first exciting discoveries, the learning experience, the downfalls, the good days and bad days. You conquered your fears, you pushed past your limits, you gained a unforeseen self confidence and maybe you even started performing. You, as an adult, did what many never even dared to try: going against “common sense”, against what others thought it was reckless and impossible. You did it, my friend.
But… what now?
As time goes by you might question yourself, how do I keep firing up my motivation, improving my skills, keep at bay my injuries, how do I continue impressing/inspiring those who look up to me? A feeling of necessity, rather enjoyment, sinks in every time you’re thinking of your next post on social media. You need to post or you’ll be forgotten. But is it really so? No, but sometimes feels like it.
I know people quit. I know sometimes people just want to end the pain of training, of the body nagging here and there. Also, things get repetitive, and you want more. You want to get that training “high“, but as you got so good, now to get that high you have to work really hard each time, shutting off what your body is telling you, because you just want to get there and push through, sometimes doing more harm than good to yourself. Is it really worth it? Why certain days you feel like quitting? How do you keep up with your mind’s high demands, while your body needs something different? How do you stay motivated when you have injuries to work with? How do you not let yourself depress at the sight of those who are now where once were you: climbing the top of the mountain, keeping that focus and warrior mindset? Is there another mountain, or are you just supposed to go down?
There are other mountains, of many shapes and heights. You can’t stay on the same mountain forever… but you need to keep moving forward, already what brought you to think what you’re thinking means you started shifting your focus on what’s becoming more important: continue your training and learning journey while taking more care of your changing body. And as you go, you need to listen to where your mind, once it makes peace with the fact that you’re not the person you were a year ago, wants to go. It’s a constant transformation, and as you change, so your training must change, and your goals. If you want to continue improving, staying healthy for a long time, you have to evolve with your training and learn new strategies.
Also remember…What motivated you in the first place? It was learning things you didn’t know you could do, like a new pose? Well, what could be a different shade of that motivation? Learning how your body feels in that pose. Mastering the breathing. Being aware of each muscle involved. And deciding, is this pose still ok with my body? Or my body just feels terrible in it? If so, SKIP IT. The more advanced and older your body get, the more specific and individualized your training. So if at first you were just happy to get that pose, now you’ll learn all about it, and how it connects within your body, what are your feelings and sensations related to that pose and you’ll also learn that you can never do it again, if you don’t want to. There is still so much else you can do!
My main points to not quit, are:
- Respect your uniqueness. Nobody else is you. What others are doing doesn’t matter, because their background, history, experience, goals, body proportions, injuries and so on, aren’t YOURS.
- If some aspects of your training don’t work anymore, CHANGE THEM. There are few poses I used to do I don’t do now, but also there are few poses I wasn’t doing before that I do now! Adapt your training to your currents needs.
- Alternate intense and gentle days: intensity has to be regulated around your current condition and avoiding areas that are healing. It’s extremely important to listen to the signs that the body gives you, don’t get too excited when you’re warm up and neglect what needs extra care. Have gentle training days to recover in between more intense sessions.
- If you want to do what you love for a long time, don’t over do it. If performing is not your full time job, don’t beat up your body with unnecessary stress. Do what you’re really committed to do (a good paid gig or contract, performing for your best friend’s birthday) but be able to say NO. Train, rest, nourish your body with highly nutritious foods and water. Say no to things you don’t want to do and just add unnecessary stress to your body.
- Invest a good amount of time in conditioning. Conditioning as endurance (repeatedly moving your body to train your cardiovascular resistance as well, even while stretching) and strengthening of certain vital muscle groups (like the core, shoulders, hips) to keep them mobile but also protected and strong.
Don’t feel alone, every active person goes through this at some point of life, just nobody likes to talk about it lol. If you accept the changes and keep a positive, curious, eager to learn attitude, you can make the best out of the next years to come, and never think again to quit.