Take Time Out — You can’t be physically fit without being mentally fit.
For the past three plus weeks, in addition to my regular teaching and training schedule, my life has been consumed by Iron Body Studios’ website content so that we could finally get that sucker launched; as well as by the first issue of the Iron Body Studios’ Newsletter. It definitely shows since my last blog post was a full two weeks ago.
Over the past three plus weeks, every free moment that I had was dedicated to drafting and editing content or tweaks to how it was set up on the website, etc. or writing and re-reading and writing and re-reading and reformatting the newsletter. I would come home from a day of training and teaching, eat and then sit down to work. I would break to make dinner, only to try to multi-task with my laptop in the kitchen so that I could get everything done. And after dinner I would sit there on the couch with my laptop and work, just to check things off my list. My boyfriend and Iron Body Studios’ co-owner, Eric Gahan, could not understand how after being up since 4:30 a.m. teaching, training my clients, as well as myself, and having written and proof read and tweaked, etc. all afternoon long, how at 9 p.m. I could sit there with my laptop and continue to work. Welcome to the world of a Type-A Personality with OCD tendencies :)…
During this process, I felt like I was back working as a consultant again except I was all the roles of the Project Manager, Task Lead, Content Developer, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable of my own Project that I had created — I was like “Dave” on the Staples commercials :)… However, I guess, that is how it is when you own your own small business. Fortunately I do have a co-owner to share the tasks with me, and believe me, during this time I threw my Task Lead hat on and delegated items on the list to my Associate ;)… haha!
It got to the point about a week ago, that every morning I would wake up cranky and say, “The website will be done today. I cannot wait until this f-ing thing is done, I just want to get it done so that I can focus on other things!” Did it really get done the first day that I woke up cranky, brain fried, and sleep deprived and made this declaration? No, of course not. So this continued to be my mantra for about a week, as I stomped around and kept referring to the “f-ing website” with the occasional reference to the “f-ing newsletter” and then finally, both items arrived at an acceptable finishing point where we could actually “Go Live” with the website and zip the newsletter into a .pdf and post it and send it out.
Why was I killing myself you ask? I am not saving lives (although some people may say that what we do does in essence “save lives” ;)); I am merely a Type A Personality business owner with OCD tendencies, striving to have a successful business and to market it properly and professionally. So the Type A explains the obsessiveness to spend every moment trying to check these items off of my list. But at the same time I believe that in order to be successful in anything, not only must you be passionate and should it translate into your work and how you market your business, but also, a business is only successful if the owner has the impetus to set his or her own deadlines and to take them seriously. Otherwise how does anything get done and how else does a business grow?
I had planned a completely different blog post for this week, but based upon my recent experience of being all consumed by a business deadline that I had set for myself and subsequently put fire under my own a$$ to stick with it; as well as some other interactions and experiences that I have encountered over the past few days, I have chosen to sit down and write about something completely different than planned– Taking time out and how one’s mental fitness directly correlates to one’s physical fitness.
We posted and sent out our newsletter on March 14 and our website went Live on March 16, however, today, March 19 was honestly the first day since February 24 that I was able to come up for air and actually relax little. After work today, instead of eating and sitting down at my laptop to work, I actually put on non-lululemon and non-Iron Body Studios’ gear, or what I like call, “real people clothing”, e.g. jeans, a light sweater and boots, and went to go get a manicure, or as I like to call this activity, “something that normal people do.” Because, often, when your life consists of the following (as mine does):
- You wake up at 4:30 a.m. almost every day to go teach a kettlebell or a bootcamp class or to go train a client at 6 a.m. before most “normal” people’s alarms have even gone off or had a cup of coffee;
- You’re in bed at around 9 p.m., (sometimes earlier if I am lucky) and even on a Friday or a Saturday night, you’re psyched to be in bed by 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. especially if you don’t have to teach or train the next day because SLEEP is a top priority;
- You wear workout clothes 24/7 as your uniform and to train yourself in, and you pretty much forget what you look like in jeans or a dress (if you’re a woman);
- For the most part all that is running through your head are client and class programs; anything health, fitness, and nutrition related that you think will be relevant and beneficial to send to your clients. And your discussions with your boyfriend/business partner prompt him to say to you one evening, “Do you think we’re like Sheldon the guys on the Big Bang Theory, except instead of sitting around and talking about science, we sit around and talk about kettlebells?” and you reply, “Yes.”
You don’t feel “normal”. Therefore, putting on “real people clothing” to go do “something that normal people do” feels strange, but liberating and relieving as well as necessary all at the same time. This concept is probably difficult to grasp unless you are a trainer yourself, as I was not able to fully conceptualize this reality until I started to work full time as a personal trainer. HOWEVER, we all, (whether you are a personal trainer or other working professional and/or a parent) have that list of items, like my list above, that make up our lives and the peak combination of them for an extended period of time without a break can make all of us feel more like a well oiled machine churning out our day to day lives instead of stopping to relax and enjoy for a moment or two in order to take time out.
I am all consumed by my business, because I am passionate about it, and all of the above things that I listed are (happily) my priorities and to make these things priorities just comes naturally because I do what I love and I love what I do. I am so grateful to have actualized this in my life, as many people never find this in their lives. HOWEVER, it is necessary for everyone, including myself, to take time out for yourself and to NOT think about work, and to give your brain and body a break. For those of you who are Type A with OCD Tendencies like myself this is extremely challenging to do and usually, I reach a point where I am so incredibly exhausted in mind and body that no matter how hard I try to think about work or to do work, my brain and my body won’t let me. And so I turn it off and I go get a manicure or I watch whatever reality TV show is on BRAVO (for example). The key is to take time out before your mind and body forces you to do this. It’s almost like being thirsty, when you’re thirsty that means that you are already on your way to dehydration. Whereas, you could have prevented the thirst sensation had you stayed properly hydrated.
I support a holistic approach to health and nutrition, in that everything from your sleep and stress to eating and exercise patterns all contribute to your health. If one of these items is overworked, off balance, or lacking, then it is difficult to achieve complete health and fitness. As such, you can’t be completely physically fit without being mentally fit and it is necessary to take time out in order to recharge both mentally and physically. For example, in my case, I was sleep deprived because I was going to sleep much later than my normal bedtime, and my stress level was high because I wasn’t giving myself a mental break from work and my deadline. As humans, we cannot be good to others unless we are good to ourselves. As a personal trainer, in order to be the best personal trainer/coach/motivator to my clients, I must take time out to recharge mentally and physically. The key is to schedule this time in before your mind and body forces you to. As humans we all encounter this, but especially if we are in the role of giving a large part of ourselves to others as our profession and/or as a parent.
This concept of Taking Time Out, also applies to scheduling in rest and recovery time to your overall physical training program. Physical rest and recovery is a huge part of training. For example at Iron Body Studios, we have dedicated clients who are driven to reach their fitness and weight loss goals, and by doing so, often lose sight of the importance of taking a day or two off from exercise. Eric Gahan and I coach our clients, especially those that have been training consistently (and often consecutively) for literally two months, to remember that it is OK to take a few days off from training. It is likely that at that point of training consistently, that both your body and your mind need the rest and recovery time to come back even stronger.
So, in conclusion, do not forget to take time out for yourself, and to take a break from your well oiled routine, as having an Iron Body is all about being fit, mind, body AND soul.