Today marks the end of Jill Coleman’s Metconmonster Challenge, 8 workouts in 10 days designed to get your heart rate up and kick your butt. A better way to put it would be that it’s 8 workouts designed to pull you out of your comfort zone and push you to your limits.
With this being the second time I have taken on this challenge, I wanted to take some time today and reflect upon my experiences and share them with all of you! As a coach who is always striving to get better and learn more about how the human body works, I’m always game to try out new exercises or new ways of designing workouts. The Metconmonster has truly provided a new perspective for me, and I’m so thankful to have found Jill Coleman. She along with the powerful community of women she surrounds herself with are single handedly empowering women to love themselves and embrace their strength. This is the future of fitness in my opinion, long gone are the days of endless amounts of cardio and feeling guilty constantly. It’s about striking a balance and not taking a moment of this wonderful life for granted.
So with that, here are 4 things I took away from the Metconmonster this time around…..
Workouts do not have to be hours long to get the job done. I read a post from another trainer the other day and they said that you have to do at least 45 minutes of cardio every day to have any success with your fitness. To that I say, bull crap! There was a time in my life when I would run for an hour every day and would spend at least an hour in the gym. But I don’t have time for that anymore, and frankly, it’s not going to help anyway. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from participating in the Metconmonster is that my body personally responds to shorter duration, high intensity workouts performed at a higher volume throughout the week. Doing hour long workouts at moderate intensity 3-4 times a week left me feeling sore and awful. My body personally loves 5-6 times a week, 20-30 minutes tops and supplementing with a hike or a cycling class. At the end of the week I probably workout the same amount of time, but I feel a lot less beat up and for the first time ever I am actually recovering properly. The key is finding what works best for you because every body is different.
Even coaches need a coach. We’re experts in our field, we motivate and train others to achieve their goals, but what about us? I think a lot of people assume that because you are in the fitness industry, you just automatically have the motivation to train hard and stay consistent. But I’m just going to say what many other trainers will not admit, it is freaking hard to coach people all day long and squeeze in time dedicated to yourself. Half the time you are quasi participating in what your clients are doing because you have to demo and coach movements. The other half you are so focused on other people’s goals that yours get pushed to the back burner. Most of us work from early in the morning until late at night to accommodate the hours when our clients are available, so the concept of training before or after work doesn’t exist unless you like getting up at 4am or working out at 9pm. That leaves small windows throughout the day where you need to maximize your time. It wasn’t until I did my first Metconmonster challenge last year that I truly started to understand how much I needed to put myself first for once. And having someone else design a few workouts and provide motivation was one of the biggest reliefs of my life. This second time around was no different! This past week was absolute heaven knowing exactly what my plan was each day and because the workouts are so short, I could easily fit it in. Yes, this coach needs a coach to make my goals happen.
Living your life hiding behind injuries is no life. It’s the easiest excuse in the book for not pushing yourself, and one I used for longer than I realized. There are definitely injuries that require specific rehab and time off, but then what? This is where having an all or nothing mentality does absolutely nothing for you. Instead it has to be all or something! Last year’s Metconmonster was scary as hell for me, I hadn’t pushed myself hard, lifted overhead or even dared to pick anything over 15 pounds up in years. I just kept telling myself that I couldn’t and shouldn’t, two of the worst words in our vocabulary. But I took the leap, modifying along the way but keeping the intensity high and always being careful of my form. What I found was the amazing world where I was ok, everything was going to be ok. How could I have been scared for so long? The mental side of injuries takes much longer to heal than the injury itself, that’s why it took so long. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start throwing massive amounts of weight above my head with reckless abandon, but what it does mean that I will be consistent, listen to my body, find ways to challenge myself (like the metconmonster challenge) and I will keep digging deep for my goals. Injuries do not have to hold you back, they are simply an opportunity for discovery.
Fitness can feel isolating, having a community to support you is essential. I’m a grade A introvert, extreme loner and I think that’s why I was so drawn to exercise to begin with. I workout by myself most of the time, and that time is very important to me. But this challenge presented such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a community of kick ass women (and a few kick ass men) all working their hearts out and sharing their experiences. It’s pretty awesome to know you’re not alone in your struggles and it’s also pretty awesome to have encouraging messages from complete strangers. Within the walls of my office we’ve worked hard on creating this wonderful, supportive community, but the Metconmonster definitely makes me think so much bigger than that. Helping others out is something I love to do and I feel so inspired now to reach out beyond my comfort zone.
The challenge may be over, but that doesn’t mean my work is all done. If anything this is another great kick starter to taking my goals to the next level. Over the past 6 months I’ve broken through barriers and accomplished physical goals I once gave up on. Why stop there? Consistency and patience are the key. It does take a long time to make changes, but that is the reward! I for one am going to take time each day to appreciate my body and find the safest ways to continue pushing my limits.
In the words of my favorite sports physiologist, “stop focusing on your why, and get to work!”