Today I want to discuss what I feel are the growing pressures of modern day exercise goals.
Regular exercise brings huge benefits both physically and emotionally. Exercise has been shown to assist in stimulation of various feel good feeling chemicals in our brain, in addition to helping with conditions such as anxiety and depression.
On the flip side we can be guilty of putting pressure on ourselves to achieve what we see on social media or TV adverts. I’m referring to those impressive individuals who look like they have been sculpted by Zeus himself or those that can lift ridiculous amount of weight or perform insane movements.
I have huge respect for those individuals who are able to test their physical limits and achieve incredible results. I can relate to the lifestyle sacrifices and commitments made to achieve these goals as a result of various fitness competitions I have had to train for. I also want to add to that to get to where they are that individual has ensured that their lifestyle is suited to those fitness goals. Their lifestyle allows them to dedicate the time to both the training, eating and rest periods required. Lastly, that person will likely have the suitable help in place to assist them in maintaining these tough physical demands.
You also have those individuals who have mastered the art of photoshop and perfect lighting. I could do a topless selfie in poor lighting and then immediately after in good lighting and you would be amazed the difference in how defined I would look. Likewise I could do a topless selfie in a relaxed breathing state and then do another one whilst holding my breath and tensing my abs, you would again see a huge transformation. My photoshop skills are ok but need more work..haha!
On a serious note, unfortunately there are a lot of these posts about so don’t be fooled! With fat loss and muscle gain comes physical changes in weight, clothes sizes and fat percentage not just finding the best angle to make yourself look leaner or bum bigger.
My point is that don’t feel the emotional pressure that these physical goals are the standard for exercise success. Those people have chosen and committed to achieving those goals, doesn’t’ mean you have to. It will be extremely challenging for those individuals to maintain that peak fitness as a long term goal and realistically at some point their lifestyle will change, which means their goals and physical state will require some form of adaptation.
Realistically when I look back to when I was in my prime shape (when competing at CrossFit)
– I was still living at home (less household tasks and financial commitments)
– I had no children
– I lived 5 minutes from work
– I could train when I wanted
– I could commit 2-3 hours a day training
– I ensured I could have adequate sleep every night
– My work schedule was less busy
If I now compare my situation now
– I live with my family and own a mortgage
– I have 2 young children
– I live 20 minutes from work
– I can only commit 45 minutes a day to training
– A full nights sleep is not be guaranteed
– My work schedule is a lot busier
Don’t get me wrong I am so happy, and the changes in my life has brought me so much joy. Admittedly I have been guilty of getting stressed out when I compared my fitness and physical appearance to other individuals as well as where I have been before.
I now know that this is wrong!
The most important thing is that I am happy, healthy and feel like I am achieving success which I feel I am. This allows my emotional state to be a lot healthier which helps my long term success in my personal exercise and lifestyle goals. In a nutshell set realistic and achievable goals that mix in well with your current lifestyle.