What training taught me about life

On good training days, toward the end of my practice, I enter this "super wise/happy" state ( thank you endorphins) where I understand very clearly some aspects of life, I get great ideas, think motivational quotes and overall I feel a positive attitude toward everything. It sucks that it doesn't last long, but if you can catch some of the thoughts you have during this state and write them down, it can help you on less-happy days. So today I was thinking how much I can relate contortion training (or training overall) with life. Those are some examples:

1. There will ALWAYS be good days and bad days. On good days you'll push yourself forward, on bad days you'll push yourself ... Just enough. But overall you'll always need a "fighter mentality", getting depressed or feeling miserable have really no benefits. You can be mad, cry, let it all out, but then pick yourself up and keep going. Nobody can do it for you, to get over something like a bad day there is only one way... Go through it.

2. Motivation will be high some days, low others. On low days, remember yourself why you do what you do, and think: "today is difficult, but if I go through this, I'll definitely be stronger tomorrow". Motivation helps and makes the journey enjoyable, but if one day is not there, doesn't mean you can take a break. Like a chore, just do it.

3. Pain, fear (as in challenge), fatigue. Life and training share those too. If you train your body to deal with those, your mind will learn and use this approach with different matters other than training. I'm a strong believer that strengthening the body strengthens the mind as well.

4. Patience, perseverance. With contortion I learned even more how important is to be patient. Whenever you want to build something solid, real and long lasting (like a skill, or career, education, relationship) you'll need time. Lot of it. If you stay committed and focus, you'll get there. You have to be serious with your intentions and don't get distracted.

5. Commitment and choices. In life you won't be good at everything nor you'll have everything you want, but SOME, yes. You'll make the conscious decision of what this will be (if you're lucky!), and dedicate your time to it, swear by it, love it and take care of it. Just like marriage, you'll have this approach to a person or a passion (mine is training! If you didn't get it yet lol).

That's it so far! My "high on training" is fading away :)



Performance or Look? It's all about goals

Training is such a powerful tool, and so it's dieting. Those two combined can maximize your physical and mental performances, depending what your end goal is. When you train to develop a skill, run a marathon or perform a dance routine, your diet must follow your goal (Performance) so that your body can have the right type AND amount of nutrients to sustain your training. As a general rule, the more hours of strenuous training, the more (clean) calories will be needed.

If you train to lose weight, compete or be a fitness model, you'll have to work hard with both your diet AND training. Your goal in this case is Look, your body appearance is what you focus on. You'll need to be very strict with your diet, and at times your training will suffer from the lack of calories. But you'll get used to it and your energy will adjust.

During the years I was competing, I was pretty lean year around and didn't allow myself to gain weight (nor strength, consequentially), my goal was LEANNESS, rather than being stronger or able to perform different skills. I used training to complement diet. Diet alone would have left me skinny and flat. Lots of cardio and weight training gave me a shredded look and this combination worked well for few years. Only thing, it didn't leave much space for improvement or gaining new skills,  my energy was limited and I knew I had to use it wisely.

The moment I put Performance before Look, I started to explore my body in a whole different way. I added pole dance back to my routine, more stretching and few weeks ago I even started contorsionism. I learned new skills, added muscle mass and strength. I faced body challenges I wouldn't have even considered in the past, because I was all about the "Look".

You can have times where one goal prevail on the other one and vice versa. I still spend a lot of time taking care of how I look, after years of doing that I wouldn't have just stopped :) Clean eating is a good habit and knowing your body makes things easier (knowing how much you can eat of something etc.).

To sum it up: Performance needs quality diet and training. Look needs strict diet and training.

See you next post!