I just returned home after a wonderful session with my health and wellness coach, Drew Bales at the Energy Training Center. The session was fun, yet challenging. With Drew’s attentive coaching and feedback, I realized a difficult truth. My own thoughts are limiting my physical progress and likely effecting my overall health.
Drew told me we would start with rowing and I immediately thought, “I can not do this. I am having problems with my left knee, plus I have a stress fracture in my tibia.” Essentially, I was telling myself I was broken. He encouraged me and we started. It was actually easier than any of my earlier rowing sessions. I had more flexibility in my back, hips and hamstrings.
Next we started dynamic stretches. These are exercises which incorporate movement while stretching. Again, I thought, “I will not be able to do this. I am not strong enough. I am not small enough”. I currently have a lot of weight to balance on one leg, but again Drew encouraged me. At one point, I was so excited with my progress that I did not want to stop the one-legged balance stretch. I was so proud of myself. Whenever, I repeated “supple leopard” to myself, my muscles seemed to relax and I was able to perform the stretch. The mind is absolutely amazing!
Next, I performed an exercise where I balanced on one leg while lifting the other, and bent at the waist to touch a cone. The goal was to keep the leg raised while returning to the upright position for twelve reps. Well, doubt immediately arose and I felt defeated before I even began. Drew being the astute trainer that he is coached me through the movements. He also noted that when I lost my balance, I seemed to spend a few seconds indulging in a critical internal dialogue. “Why do I keep losing my balance? Why can’t I do at least five reps in a row?” The criticisms could go on. He stopped it with this tip. “I want you to stop the story about why you lost your balance. If you lose your balance, just acknowledge it, make the correction and continue”.
The final challenge was the plank exercise. I have convinced myself that planks are painful and so difficult that only fit people can do them correctly. So, I whined and again Drew was patient. The first round, I gave up at 25 seconds. I was too focused on the pain. Then Drew gave me a tip. He suggested that I meditate while performing the plank thinking, “Now I’m breathing in. Now I’m breathing out.” All the while focusing on my breath. This time, I successfully held the plank for one minute.
While walking home from the gym, I felt like a bird set free. So optimistic for the future. Looking forward to the day I no longer create a cage for myself out of my own thoughts. I have surrounded myself with an amazing team of coaches. Each with their own particular skills and talents. My healing is soon at hand. I can feel it.
p.s. Watch a performance of the wonderful song I listened to after my training session. It perfectly captures the feeling of joy and strength. It is “Bird Set Free” by Sia.