Hold Your Head High
Katelyn Sander

Hold Your Head High

Living Well

Written by: Meg Sharp, Wellbeing Consultant, Cambridge Group of Clubs

Here’s an example of some things I’ve been hearing a lot lately: “I used to be really strong…”, “I competed in half marathons before I had kids…”, “Prior to COVID I worked out all the time…”, “During COVID I was able to make my health and fitness a priority…”, “I used to be a competitive swimmer…”, “I loved my body when…”, “I’ve never made time to exercise…”, “I’ve always been bad at sports…”, “I’ve never liked physical activity…”, “I’ve always found gyms intimidating…”

You get the idea. 

Fabulous fact: People are coming back to the Club and are ready to make themselves and their fitness and wellbeing a priority.

Tough fact: Many – not all for certain – but many – people are looking back and apologizing for what I will call their “fitness history”. Bemoaning how fit they once were, or the fact that they never have been. A past of athletic prowess, a talent for Couch Potato-ing, and everything in between. The common denominator seems to be feelings of regret with perhaps a tinge of embarrassment or shame.

I’m here with this one phrase for every one of you: Hold your head high.

No matter where you’re coming from, you have at this point – for whatever reason – determined it’s time to take care of yourself: Your bones, your heart, your muscles, your spirit. Exercising on a regular basis is healing, rewarding, and transformational but jeepers, it’s tough. Again, no matter where you’re coming from, it’s tough.

But it’s tougher if you insist on looking back. Ashamed not to be where you used to be or ashamed of where you used to be. Overwhelmed by the prospect of clawing yourself back up or overwhelmed because you’ve never done it before. Since both scenarios, and all those in between, can elicit a negative response maybe it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from.

All that matters is where you are right now. And how you move forward: With your head held high.

Being proud, motivated, optimistic, and accepting are all pieces of the mindset that helps us stick to and commit to behaviours – like exercise – even when – or especially when – the going gets tough. A positive mindset turns behaviours into habits and that’s where the transformation sets in.

Being pleased with a workout is powerfully reinforcing. It encourages you to do it again. 

Being proud of the fact that you exercised, ensures you make it priority.

Being confident in a movement or activity facilitates pushing a little harder, further, faster, more often. It also boosts your self-esteem and there’s everything good about that.

Feeling positive about physical activity – of any kind – makes it more fun.

When you add up ALL these things – you now increase the likelihood that yes – you’ll continue to workout – AND that you’ll make exercising a lifelong habit.

So, let’s keep your head high and focus that lens forward. I have a few thoughts on what might help: Check out the list below for some ideas and things to consider. And – if you haven’t met with our team yet – the Club covers the cost of an initial personal training session! Let’s book that time together.

Adelaide Club – Contact Lauren

Cambridge Club – Contact Sean

Toronto Athletic Club – Contact Rob

  1. Identify your current goals. Large and small. Write them down. Break them into smaller manageable ones. Identify why they are important to you.
  2. Beyond physical goals including things like improving speed, power, strength, endurance, adding/reducing size, gaining/losing weight, ensure you are setting some goals that deal with how you feel. For example: less stressed, more energized, calmer, more focused, more creative, patient, happier… Focusing on how exercise makes you feel offers immediate positive reinforcement.
  3. How many days a week are you planning to exercise? Book those into your calendar. And remember, avoid all or nothing thinking. Whether you end up being able to do 5 minutes or 55 minutes doesn’t really matter. Your brain will remember simply that you DID IT. Making it far more likely you will do it again. Miss a week. Don’t sweat it. Well – actually, sweat it lots… the following week 😊
  4. Try to build a diversified workout week that has a mix of cardiovascular activity, strength, and mobility work. 
  5. Find and connect with people in your life who support your active lifestyle.
  6. Choose activities that are FUN.

BONUS!: Holding your head high emotionally actually makes you physically hold your head higher too! So, remember that goal to improve your posture?! You’re nailing that too.

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