3 Things You Gain When You Get Healthy
I attempted P90X three separate times. The first was in the winter of 2015. I did it for about two weeks and it was ROUGH. At the end of those two weeks I dropped off because I got depressed and could not convince myself to work out. The second time I tried was in the fall of 2016. That time I made it through the first month and then… I went to NYC for New Years Eve and stayed there for 5 days. That’s 5 days off from working out and I never went back.
Getting in good physical condition was something I always wanted to do for myself. So in December 2018 I just simply decided that’s what I was going to do. I promised myself, held myself accountable, and worked my ass off. Third time must be a charm. The results were astonishing.
Now that I am into the first week of my second go-around at P90X I have been reflecting on the course my health has taken through the years and what is has taken to get to this post but before I really begin explaining the ups, downs, and eventual outcome on the path to becoming more “fit” I want to say something to any of you out there who have embarked on such a journey themselves and have come to the conclusion “I can’t do it.” You can do it. You absolutely 100% undoubtedly can and should do it. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I know it’s hard. Is it worth it? Yep.
My whole life I was slow and weak. I played lacrosse but was definitely not built for it. I never got any playing time. My teammates would pick on me because my chest was small because I never did any pushups. I could never clearly see the muscles hiding underneath my belly. As a matter of fact, there were no muscles hiding under there. It’s definitely an area in my life that’s brought insecurity and something that really could have used attention for a long time.
I would be remiss if I did not give a huge shoutout to my nutritionist and fitness coach Lisa Coleman of Revision Wellness in Liverpool, NY. She was instrumental in getting me on the path to good health by educating me on the right things to take in and the bad things I should leave out. She worked with me for two months, created an easy an effective food plan for me, and provided support and inspiration. You can check out her Facebook page HERE to get in touch and inquire about her services.
Here I’ve tried my best to sum up the three most important areas where I have seen positive change.
There’s actually another valuable trait that you’ll gain here; strength. Of course by strength I mean actual physical strength, that should be obvious. You’ll be able to lift more and it will be so much easier but what I also mean by strength is confidence. Internal strength. Forget about being able to curl 35 pounds for a second. Being able to pick heavy things up and put them down is pretty awesome but it is nothing compared to being able to pick yourself up. When you look in the mirror and see the person you always wished you could be you will feel an energy rush through you that will feel so good you won’t be able to keep your new-found confidence contained. You’ll WANT to show off your new self. You won’t be afraid to talk to that beautiful girl or guy that is “out of your league.”
A month after I finished the program I went to a birthday party for my good friend Pete in New Jersey. This was the first time any of those friends were to see me since before I even started working out. When I got there I was overwhelmed by their reactions, in a good way of course. In the past, especially at parties like these, I have been known to keep to myself or strictly near people I know. One thing that I don’t do is introduce myself to pretty girls.
This time I did and wouldn’t you know she was the one I spent all night talking to? It ended up being some of the best conversation I’ve had in a long time. I made a new friend. Seriously all I did was reach my hand out and say "Hey, I'm Tom" and it sounds so simple but when you have social anxiety and minimal confidence it can feel like life or death. All it took was the strength to say hello.
In the first few weeks of the program I would be using 20-pound dumbbells for curls and halfway through the set I’d have to switch them out for lighter weights, 8 pounds. By the end of 90 days, 20-pound dumbbell’s just weren’t enough. They were too light and I felt like I wasn’t getting anything. It was like that with all the workouts. I was searching for and wanting ways to do more and to crush it.
I don’t mean vacuuming or Mr. Clean magic erasing your bathtub. You’ll hopefully bathe at least once a day and so you’ll be clean but that’s not what I’m talking about either.
Prior to this lifestyle change my body felt like it was sluggishly running on cheese. I mean it actually felt like I had melted cheddar running through my veins. I just felt gross. It was because what I was taking in was gross. Contrary to what some people may wish to believe, Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts aren’t exactly the best places to fuel up.
I stopped eating bread and pasta entirely. I mean NONE. No potato chips, no Doritos, no Taco Bell, no fast food, no candy, no junk. I followed (not even strictly) a food plan made by my nutritionist and designed to fuel my body and help me reach my goals of weight loss, increased levels of energy, and building lean muscle. Lot’s of lean protein and SO MANY FROZEN VEGETABLES! Also, water. All the water. I cannot stress this enough. Is water boring? Kind of. Is it the best thing that you could possibly put in your body? Yes. I think so. Even if it’s not; 7 cans of Pepsi a day isn’t doing you any favors.
Once I cut out all the shit my body reciprocated the love. It thanked me all the time, in so many ways. Everything I was putting into my body was being used the way it should be used. I felt clean. I felt like all the toxic waste had been drudged and filtered out. Instead of being weighed down by bread, cheese, carbs, and sugar I felt like my body was made out of air. I felt like I could fly. By the time I had finished 3 months of intense physical activity and healthy eating it felt like every single cell in my body was working at peak efficiency. The dark circles under my eyes went away because I was actually sleeping and getting quality rest. My long nights with insomnia became a thing of the past. The color in my skin began to saturate and “glow” if you will. TMI warning; I was going to the bathroom more regularly. After 3 months without very few; my body would respond to any deviation. When I was done with the program I thought I deserved a pat on the back but my stomach was not forgiving for those McNuggets.
As someone who has never felt that way before I was shocked. Happy but to the point of confusion. I never knew that it was possible to feel this way.
(Okay I just have to mention this really quick. I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Sunset Beach right now and this 450 pound man just walked by and his ass-crack is completely out in the open.)
The world is made of energy. There’s a lot inside of you and there’s a lot inside of me. What’s getting in the way? Probably bread and ironically, sugar, but even though it seems like working out would drain you of all your energy it will NOT. Sitting on the couch all day will weaken your muscles and deprive you of your potential strength. Your body will always think it’s time to rest.
In a few of my posts, including earlier in this one, I have tried to point out the application of certain practices into both the physical and the mental. I touched on strength as in being able to lift more but also strength as in being able to carry yourself. One is internal and one is external.
A lot of people think they are too tired to work out or just don’t have… the energy. They think using what little energy they have in the mornings before or in the evenings after work will suck their souls right out and they’ll keel over right on the yoga mat. This is nonsense. Working out, coupled with eating right, will shock and excite your system. All the parts of you that have remained dormant will be awakened when they are jolted to be put to use and believe me they might not be happy about it at first but will love you so much later on that you won’t even believe it.
You’ll sleep better than you ever have in your life. Your body will yearn for rest and will thank you by sinking deeply and preparing you well to rise in the morning. Instead of waking up feeling like you just went to bed you will wake up feeling like you just slept for a month straight. You’ll be ready to get out in the world. You’ll look forward to it.
You have to remember that your body is your temple. You have to treat it as the special place that it is. Think of the temples that have withstood the test of time. How is it that ancient structures have been able to stand this long? They are treated with love and respect. The reverence with which the ancient Buddhist temples of the world are given is returned in the form of powerful spiritual positive energy. Buildings that stand in places burdened by war, famine, and injustice always crumble.
The people around you will notice. They will. They’ll compliment you and it will fill you up. Positivity will fill you up so much you’ll feel like you’re floating. Then they’ll ask you about it and you’ll have something to be proud of and something to share. They might even be so inspired by the accomplishment that they have seen first hand that they will go home and make some changes of their own. The energy, which you have harnessed from friends, places, achievements, and goals, will happily attract more and graciously offer itself to those around you.
I’m telling you. It’s amazing. One of the best things I’ve ever done for my Self.
What has been your biggest hurdle in getting motivated to work out? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to follow along and connect on Instagram and Facebook @findyourslife