Physical training for mental strength

For ten weeks now I have been training regularly with a personal trainer. I am thrilled with the physical results but what has blown me away has been the strength I have gained, not physically but mentally. So much so that I felt drawn to write about it.

Training is something I decided to do because I was getting a heap of back pain and I was feeling all squishy. I set myself a goal, which was simply to feel strong and pain free.

It’s been a tough 12 months for me, the toughest actually, and I wanted to do something for me. A bit of an indulgence and some radical self-care.

You might be wondering how on earth a sole parent who also studies and runs a business finds time to go to the gym, and rightly so. I had wondered how I was going to do it too, but I figured that if it was important to me I would make it happen, and I did.

I am lucky enough to share a house with my amazing mum, who is a generous soul and basically co-parents with me when bubba is not with her dad. She comes home from work and I run out the door, water bottle and gym towel in hand. Bubba loves her afternoon adventures with nanny, and I get to escape and blow of some steam before the dinner/bath/bedtime routine begins. It’s brilliant and does me a world of good.

I’ve always been relatively active and have always valued health and fitness, but only recently have I really trained ‘properly’ with structured support from a professional trainer. The thing that has amazed me is how far I have come in such a short time, with someone there to support and push me. Every week I can lift more, do more, find more inside myself to hit the goals my trainer sets for me. So often I look at the size of a weight and say ‘No way’. She says ‘Yes you can’. And I do.

Being able to lift a certain weight a certain number of times might seem trivial but what I am discovering is that there is so much more to it than that. In those moments where I feel like I cannot possibly do another rep, it becomes this internal battle between my body and my mind. I am learning that a lot of the time my body is capable of much more than my mind believes.

There have been times where I have been in the middle of a set, close to tears and starting to feel sick yet I’ve been able to quiet my mind and get present in my body. I ground my feet, draw the energy up through the earth and somehow push out those last reps. The feeling that goes through me when I throw down those weights is incredible, almost euphoric, a potent drug.

Sometimes I find myself sitting there, damp and red-faced, totally spent after a workout, reflecting on how alive I feel. Our bodies are built to move and it is so often our minds that hold us back. Its also an interesting metaphor for other aspects of life. Our own imagined limitations so often hold us back from exploring our potential.

Since embarking on this twelve week training program I have noticed the flow on effects that it is having on other parts of my life. Someone close to me said, ‘Its like you’ve become more powerful, even more dynamic and effective in how you go about things’. I have to admit that I have been shown how strong and powerful I can be when I quiet the fear and self-doubt, step up and engage in the challenge authentically and wholeheartedly. To say it’s empowering is an understatement.

Initially I had planned for personal training to be a short term investment, but as my twelve weeks milestone approaches I am feeling really sad at the thought of it ending. Anything that contributes to my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing surely is not a luxury, but a necessity. Like putting fuel in my car, its just something that I am going to need to budget and make space for.

And as I have a tendency of doing, I’ll find a way.


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