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.
Since little, I was taught that being active was a natural part of life. Moving, using our body - instead of just passively living in it- develops coordination, proprioception and is the foundation of learning skills. I was playing outside, running around with my bicycle, doing sports... Few years later, when I started weight training, it didn't take me long to figure that results required sacrifices. I wasn't playing around anymore, I wanted to see my body changing and being able to do extraordinary stuff. I was a young girl ready and willing to step it up.
me at 23ish training at Gold's Gym, Miami Beach
If you train with purpose you need a certain lifestyle. This lifestyle has high demands and you make daily decisions in favor or against it. Not always you can put your training as first priority, but you should always try: only so you'll see the changes you wish to see, or the skills you wish to learn taking form.
Your energy and performance level depend on sleep, diet, habits, rest.
A sleepless night doesn't kill you, but if you train you know what a key role sleeping plays in recovery. There is no progress without sleep, and often you'll have to pick between a night of party (fun!) or a night of sleep (sometimes boring) that will assure you a great condition for training hard the day after. I used to turn down all parties! But then I learned that I can always come home early and still get good sleep, or planning a day off the day after I have a night out.
I definitely partied on my B-day :D
Diet is something else that has a huge impact on training. You are what you eat, seriously! So be a broccoli :) lol just kidding, but vegetables should be ALWAYS included in your meals, if not all, most! Also lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats. AND A LOT OF WATER. Simple, clean food you can distinguish the ingredients in it. Example of something I'm having often lately: brown rice, olive oil, steamed veggies, smoked salmon, lemon juice.
I love local markets!
You also need good habits. There's a time to eat, a time to train, a time to sleep, a time to work. I know sounds boring, but your body is a simple machine that performs best when it's used to something. Even with training, pick a time and make your body used to the fact that you train at lunch time or late afternoon. This also will help to remind yourself to be more consistent without forgetting sessions.
Another good habit has to do with avoiding drugs and alcohol. I still have to find an athlete who do drugs or drink and doesn't find it deadly on the body (one drink sometimes is fine, binge drinking is not). A trained body is a highly functional body and it's very susceptible to drugs, drugs are not for the healthy athlete who cares about their performances and have love for their body.
healthy body happy bending Last but definitely not least...Rest. Sometimes you need to do nothing! It's precious time your body needs to recharge. Rest is not sleep, it's actually having a day a week or two where you don't physically tire yourself. It's somehow hard to take days off when you're used to train every day, you either worry that a day off will halt your progress or you actually don't know what to do with your time off - lol I had that feeling many times. But now I take time off to rest and be lazy and drive around or watch a movie, because I remind myself I work hard so I feel I deserve it :)
Strong. Capable. Confident. Healthy. Younger: definitely consequences that are worth the sacrifices!
(Note: I've blogged about this in the past, it's a often reoccurring topic in my head) It took me about 25 years to build up character, personality, self esteem, self respect, recognize what my passion was and what I was meant to do in this life. It took me a lot of struggle, wandering in a haze of confusion, insecurity, indecision. I didn't like those times and I'm glad they're way behind me. I'm not saying I got my life figured completely, but I'm pretty happy of where it's going, what I do, who I am, and I have to thank my parents for how they grow me up and the education I received, some influent people I met during these years, but overall... ME. Yes, thank you ME. Because I trusted my inner voice and followed dreams that looked like utopia for a while. I worked hard to become who I am, it's been a long, difficult but rewarding journey so far, and I usually don't let anyone put me down.
But there are few people that somehow make you feel weak, and can easily tear down that wall of confidence you built in so much time and with so much effort. I call those people "self esteem suckers". These people can be evil without even knowing it. They can be "friends", family members, coworkers... People you might love and they might love you back, but they can hurt you, discourage you, put you down in very subtle ways you might not even recognize. One thing I know though, I try to stay away from these people. I know they don't value my work or what I do the same way I do. They don't intentionally want to hurt you but they do. They can just think what you do is not as important as what they think is important. You get it? If you try to explain and talk them into looking at things your way, they just don't get it. So you stop there and move on without pretending everyone to understand you... It's hard though, because sometime you still have to confront with these people and hope everything goes right... I hate fights and the need to explain all I do, it makes me nervous and uncomfortable, I'm done explaining !
The good energy generators are instead those people who share your passion (or just understand your love for it) and they make you feel comfortable, at ease, with nothing "to hide". They just irradiate good energy and feed your heart with rare, quality support and love. These people are a treasure... Don't ever let them go! They probably feel the same way about you. It's funny how sometimes plain strangers can be the most supportive people, and your family or close friends can be the most hurtful!
So to end this post... You have the CHOICE (most of the times) of who you surround yourself with. Let go people who think less of you or just won't respect your life or your view on things; if you can't because they are part of your family... Stay cool and do what you do regardless. Stay close the ones who value you. Even though in this life we should be self sufficient to some degree ( don't depend on others), having a positive network of people around you is vital.