Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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THE VIRTUAL FITNESS JOURNEY

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DISCOVERING YOUR BODY’S STRENGTH AND MOVEMENT THROUGH YOUR DISCOVERY PAGE

I’m often impressed by how I can convince and inspire others to embark on their goals, wishes, and fitness journeys. As a self-proclaimed former gym rat, I too need the inspiration to get back to my old routines, adjust my health habits, and create new ones. 

We all start somewhere. 

Person riding bike down empty road
via Canva

Imagine a 5’2”, 18-year-old walking around the gym in her socks for leg day and leg pressing 300 pounds for 30 reps at the beginning of a 2-hour workout session. You might think it’s scary, but that’s what I used to do. I would give guest passes to my friends and coworkers as gifts to show them what I loved about working out: the rush of adrenaline and endorphins; the grooves of the barbells, bars, and free weights against my skin; my no-show-sock-covered feet in direct contact with the ground or platforms; and, ultimately, having a sense of belonging. 

However, during my workout sessions, I hurt my back a few times and was later diagnosed with sciatica, degenerative disc disease, depression and discovered that I had scoliosis. To say the least, there were five rounds of physical therapy, acupuncture, x-rays, tears, pain medications, and such. 

I was defeated and distressed. I couldn’t grasp the fact that I couldn’t engage in the one activity I genuinely enjoyed. Every time I showed a little bit of improvement, I rushed into my old routine and had to learn things the hard way. 

With the shelter in place and no clue on how to continue building my strength, I went on walks. While scrolling through social media one day, I came across a video called “15 MIN TIKTOK DANCE PARTY WORKOUT” by MadFit and it didn’t require any equipment. So I thought, why not try it out?

The video was created by YouTuber Maddie Lymburner on her channel MadFit. Her channel contains various types of exercises for all the major muscle groups and the time duration for each video varies from  15 minutes to 20 minutes and more. 

You won’t even realize that you’re exercising – well, that was my case. It was incredibly fun. I even had my 30-year-old and 5-year-old sisters join in! It was not necessarily either of my sisters’ cup of tea, but it was a starting point for each of our recreational activities. My sisters began going on daily bike rides, and I engaged in hikes at our local regional parks. 

Open green valley
via Canva

This was no easy task. Two years of physical activity, therapy, self-doubt and acceptance went into this. I continue to struggle because healing is extremely difficult and isn’t as glamorous as it is portrayed. 

In my Sport Psychology course, we learned that self-efficacy, which was coined by psychologist Albert Bandura, is one of the most important factors for success. Other factors include skill and motivation. Essentially, self-efficacy is the belief in your own ability to succeed and accomplish a task, and, nonetheless, the level of self-confidence an individual has can determine if the task can be completed.  

The influence of self-efficacy includes past performances, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, imagined experiences and emotional and physiological states. 

Our past successes can provide efficacy for our future success, and our past failures can diminish efficacy, such as for myself, as I went from 0 to 100 when engaging in exercise. 

When others believe in us, it can either boost or hinder our belief in ourselves, and self-talk can have the same effect. Seeing your success in your head can provide a blueprint for actual success. My physical therapists and I didn’t see eye to eye. I didn’t feel understood until I started going to my chiropractor, who actually sat down with me, explained my x-rays,  and set out a plan to help me achieve my goals of engaging in more intense hikes to one day get back to weightlifting. I could finally see myself reaching my goals and moving at the rate that my body can. 

Woman looking at fitness watch
via Canva

Originally, I began my fitness journey with my high school friend Robert acting as my personal trainer for my track season, and now I have Youtube. The great thing about both situations is that I was able to connect with those who were instructing me, and I was able to adjust the exercises to my needs. It’s never too late to start and to cater to your own needs.