The worldwide blogosphere is a small world after all. Perhaps you have regular bloggers that you follow or check in with on occasion.
Some of my favorite blogs include:
Juli Bauer’s PaleOMG (who doesn’t love her?!)
Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain
Chris Kresser’s “Let’s Take Back Your Health”
Michael Hyatt’s marketing blog
OPEX’s fitness blog
And, Stephanie Gaudreau’s Stupid Easy Paleo
Many different blogs, with different styles and messages, but all the same—people writing, educating and talking about things they are most passionate about.
Recently, I connected with Stephanie Gaudreau (known for her amazing stupidly easy recipes, latest cookbook “Performance Paleo”, Harder to Kill Radio podcast, and most recent Healthy, Happy Harder to Kill program) and we were talking about self-care: nourishing our bodies, of course, with good food; fitness; and listening to our bodies.
As we reflected, she was inspired to write about a recent evolution of “listening to her body” in the gym—and the greater implication that has for, not only her, but many others in our daily lives.
Read on for the words and wisdom of the Miss Stephanie Gaudreau to find out more:
The old saying goes, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
To that, I’d add “…and getting older.”
As a lifelong athlete, I’ve experienced the truths of being devoted to sport: the wins and losses; the injuries and shifting of focus; the thrill of accomplishment and the disappointment of goals not reached.
But it’s the aging part—the reality of a changing body—that’s probably been the hardest to deal with. Simply put, time marches forward whether I like it or not. In my mind and my outlook on life, I easily feel a decade younger. I consistently get mistaken as a woman in her 20s. Whether it’s a healthy lifestyle or genetics, or I’d argue, some of both, time has been gentle to me overall.
There are, however, some physical realities I’ve noticed creeping upon me in the last few years.
The most obvious to me is that I don’t recover nearly as fast as I used to.
Even five years ago, around age 30, I could lift or ride or go hard five or six days a week then take a day off and be back at it.
Over the past couple years, that’s all started to change. I began to notice that with five or more training days a week, I was struggling with power output and coordination, feeling fat through workouts.
If I was eating poorly, sleeping less than I should be, too stressed out or struggling with a health condition, performance drops could be easily attributed to one of those. Even when I’m firing on all cylinders elsewhere in my life, too many days in the gym or too much intensity wears on me.
Instead of pushing harder—as one is apt to do when training doesn’t go her way or told to do by coaches—I decided to ease up.
Instead of fighting change, I started to embrace it.
At first, I was frustrated that I “couldn’t keep up with” the younger athletes in the gym. (I mean, some of them were old enough to be my kids!) I’d be fibbing if I said my ego wasn’t a bit bruised. Even though I wanted to train more, I knew pushing it only meant increasing the risk of physical injury and mental burnout.
It’s hard to sit back and think, “Things aren’t how they used to be.” But then you realize that dwelling on the past isn’t going to change the present, that life’s beauty is that it is, by nature, always shifting.
We’re not meant to experience stagnancy for years upon years.
The challenge is to grow and adapt and live in the new moments we’re given. To go through all life’s phases with grace and verisimilitude, no matter how much it departs from the way things used to be.
Originally I titled this article “Accepting Change…,” but the more I reflected on it, I realized that acceptance, much like tolerance, doesn’t have the most positive connotation.
Embracing means wrapping your arms around change and giving it a big ol’ bear hug. Acknowledge its presence and incorporate it into the now.
What does that actually look like for me?
After consulting with my coach, he reduced my training to four days each week with slightly less volume. Despite losing a training day, I’m maintaining form and continue to build strength.
With my extra “day off,” I’ve got time for yoga or and more mobility. I’m always striving for a better balance between work, gym, and life so I view one less day of training as an opportunity to work toward that equilibrium. Instead of seeing rest days as torture, I look forward to them. And finally, I see the opportunity to be a better role model for the other athletes I train with.
Don’t mistake my embrace of change as acquiescence or apathy.
Rather, it’s the realization that to continue doing this sport that I love and enjoying an active lifestyle for the rest of my life, I’ve got to honestly assess my current strengths and weaknesses, and work smarter, not harder.
That is a lesson athletes of any age can take to heart.
THRIVE Weekly Workouts
Here are some fun workouts this week to take a stab at! Move your body…live you life!
Back-squat (find a heavy set of 2-reps)
8 Shoulder to Overhead
12 Box Jump
40 Double Unders (or 80 single unders)
Row 100 Calories (or 100 Burpees)
3 rounds, for time:
40 Walking lunges
30 Kettlebell swings
10 Ball Slams
Cluster (squat clean to thruster)
Burpee Box Jump
Run 1-Mile, all out
Do something out of the norm! Yoga class, a hike, paddleboarding, biking, running sprints at a local stadium or football field, walking with a friend, etc.
5 Strict Pull-ups
10 Push-ups (extra challenge: Elevate feet or use a pair of rings)
15 Goblet Squats (with kettle bell or dumbbell)
3 x 1-minute each station
Rest 1-minute between rounds