Therapy: For the Body, Mind, & Soul
Why We Go to the Gym
I have recently started listening to Audible. Why it took me so long to start using this amazing tool is unknown, but if you are not on Audible, I highly recommend it. It is amazing the amount of great information I can consume while driving around town through audio books. And to answer the question you are asking right now, the first Audible I downloaded was Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face.And it is AMAZING!
Rachel Hollis talks a lot about therapy in her book. In fact, she talks about it in almost every chapter. Many people look at therapy as taboo. I am not sure why, but it’s a fact. I have done therapy. Many people I know have done therapy. And if you go to the gym, you also have done therapy.
Someone recently asked me how I handle my stress since I am so busy and have a lot going on in my life. It’s true; I live a busy life. But I don’t think it’s any busier than many other successful women I know.
The quick and easy answer is I workout.
Working out could be heading to the gym to hit the weights, going for a short walk with the dog, yoga, tai chi, karate, or name your favorite way to sweat. There is something so freeing about pushing heavy weight, hitting that personal record, and the sore feeling you get the next day. It’s hard to focus on feeling mentally crappy when your body is reminding you how hard you worked the day before.
There is a pureness that comes from being in the gym. The pureness that you put your body through the ringer, only to come out stronger on the other side. The pureness of sweat sparkling on your brow and streaming down your back. The pureness of the comradery with your fellow gym-goers. The pureness of clearly understanding your goals and achieving them with dedication and time spent in the gym.
Another way I deal with stress in breathing. A time out with a minute of breathing can truly help clear out the fog to resume your day. I swear by the breathe app on my Apple Watch. It sends me a reminder to breathe daily, and in times when I feel my blood pressure rise, I take a minute (or two) breathing sections to remind me about staying in the moment and focus on the now.
The Community of Workout Buddies
Many people have a workout partner. Workout partners are so important for many reasons. First, they provide accountability. Are you more likely to go to the gym by yourself on a bad day? Or, are you more likely to head out the door when you know your workout partner is waiting for you at the gym? Most likely, you are going to lace up your shoes and head out the door. After all, you don’t want to get the text, “Where are you? Are you coming?”
If you don’t have a workout buddy, small group classes are great for accountability, too. Small group classes become like a circle of trusted friends. These are the friends who will support you when you’re feeling down. They will hold your hand, figuratively, when you need it; they are there at the gym waiting for you to show up, whether you’re in a good mood or a bad mood. They will cheer you on when you need that last push on the last rep at the higher weight. They will fist bump you, high-five you, give you a sweaty hug, and just lend an ear when you need it.
It’s really nice knowing that your community is waiting for you at the gym – or on the trail.
Why I Go to the Gym as a Trainer
Do you have a happy place? Is there a place or a moment where you truly feel blissful? Do you have that place where nothing else matters? I have a couple of these happy places. My number one happy place is walking, running, or bike riding with my husband and my dogs. When my family is not around, my other go-to happy place is, of course, my gym. As a trainer, I get to be a part of people’s health and wellness journey. I get to help people get healthy and fit.
This afternoon’s sessions with my clients were like most others. We went through a warm-up, then the loaded workout, then stretch and debrief of the workout. We also talked a lot, as we usually do. Lately, I have heard a lot of the same chatter from clients across the board. I have also experienced a lot of the same attitudes. These attitudes are not always the best. The bad attitudes coming into the gym have to do with the same two or three issues – work sucks, my spouse is annoying me, or my kids are driving me crazy. There are also bigger issues like cancer, divorce, or trying to get pregnant.
Even with the wide gamut of ‘issues’ my clients deal with, it seems that working out ‘heals’ most attitudes. As I said, the gym is a happy place for me. I love to go in there and smash a workout. I also truly love going in there to train my clients and help work through stressors, either real or perceived, by working out. Training a new move or a new weight helps distract the brain. And the best part? When my client leaves the gym smiling, I know I have done my part. I have done more than just train their bodies, I have trained their psyches and their souls.
As a trainer, I get a loads therapy done, too. My clients are so incredibly supportive of me. I really could not be where I am today without them. There are days when the office sucks or the drivers around town are being idiots or the dogs (my kids) are just plain driving me crazy. What do I do? I head to the gym and within five minutes of walking through the door, I am in a better mood. If just walking in doesn’t fix it, my clients get me there.
I tend to wear my emotions. I can’t help it most of the time. It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve. It’s out there for the entire world to see. This makes me overly passionate, or just passionate, depending on who you talk to.
Shit happens. How you deal with it can make or break you. I choose to make it. I choose to get to the gym to help my people. I choose to let my people help me. You can’t go wrong. Get a good workout, change your body, change your perspective. It really is therapy for the body, mind, and soul.
So, get your butt to the gym and start swinging some kettlebells.