Why I Stopped Working Out
I’ve been a certified personal trainer (currently with ACE, and previously with NASM and ACSM, which I chose not to maintain) since 1999.
I got into fitness after I had major spinal fusion to try to correct my severe scoliosis. (You can read a little about my story here. Or watch me talk about it here.) And for the 20+ years since that surgery, “working out” has been a major driver in my personal and professional life. “Being fit” has defined who I am, has given me an identity, has seemed to match my inner view of myself. Until now.
“Being fit” has defined who I am, has given me an identity, has seemed to match my inner view of myself. Until now.
As of a few months ago, I stopped working out. I explain the physical and emotional causes, and the mental and emotional ramifications, of that big change in my blog “Looking Perfect or Feeling Good.” But what I want to talk to you Career Girls about is this: allowing yourself permission to go though life’s cycles, whatever they may be.
For decades, my identity as a fit person caused me to do many things: work out when my body was exhausted, push blame and guilt down my own throat when I felt like just relaxing instead of working out, obsess about how I would fit in workouts when I was on vacation or traveling, and the list goes on. But what I never did was give myself permission: to just be, to enjoy my body in whatever shape it was in, to let my body tell me what it needed and actually listen to what it was saying (like, chill out for a bit).
As a Career Girl myself, one who runs two businesses and just had a “new baby” (i.e., created a brand new product), I totally understand how much pressure we career-minded women are under to “do it all, all the time, perfectly.” We not only give 100% to our professional life, but we expect ourselves to be the Superwoman in our friendships, with our families, and in our sexual lives as well. We think we should look perfect on the outside, eat perfectly to have perfect health, care perfectly for everyone else, AND be the perfect entrepreneur, boss, manager, director, employee, whatever. Instead of allowing the cycles of our lives to run through their natural course, with one area taking precedence over others as our needs and values change, we push to put forth 100% effort in every area, all the time. It’s a recipe for breakdown.
I’d like this post to serve as a Notice of Permission for all Career Girls. Let yourselves decide, each day as it comes, what your priorities are that day. Know that your priorities will shift, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, and that there’s nothing wrong with you no matter what your priorities might be in any given period. I know I’ll get back to working out again . . . just not right now. Life is cyclical, and for the first time ever I really am allowing myself to ride the cycles.
Since I stopped the Superwoman act, I’m more aligned with my current values and more available to meet my own needs than ever before. I think you’ll find the same when you give yourself permission to choose. Let me know how it goes.