Friday, September 14, 2018

The Toxic Nature of the "No Excuses" Movement or The Value of Recovery

I get it. Many of us have been making excuses for our health for decades. "I'll start on a Monday... oops... I didn't prepare. I'll start next Monday." or "I can't afford a trainer/gym/workout program." or "My accountability went out the window." or "I have a holiday/event/vacation coming up." 

I get it. There are LOTS of 'excuses' for not taking your health seriously.

So many, that I often see folks doing something like #NoExcuses on sweaty selfies post workout.

Recently, I noticed someone shared that she felt like she was swallowing razor blades, but got her workout on anyway. Okay, we all workout through some sick days. The next day, she talked about getting chills and a fever, but she got her workout on anyway. Finally she was dx'd with strep, and she got a workout in anyway. Now, these are home workouts, so she's not going around a gym willy nilly infecting other people. But...

I had an enlightening conversation with a client who happened to be pregnant. We were talking about the "no excuses" movement and she passed along some wisdom from her doula. After the baby is born, she is to remain horizontal whenever possible. And she has a great point. After birth, no matter how the baby is born, women have a giant wound that can be healed with only 1 thing. Time.  In fact, in looking back, if I could have done 1 thing differently, it would have been to be more patient with myself and my healing process. 2 weeks after giving birth, I was coaching a strongman meet. Less than a month after having a kid, I was back in the gym. If I had really respected the wound that was healing, I might have given myself more grace and not attempted to live up to my namesake (The Bionic Woman).

In fact, I joined a few No Excuse Mom and Fit4Mom groups looking for answers to post partum fitness. And you know what I found out as I left those groups?

I was shamefully full of 'excuses.' I couldn't make workouts that didn't include kids because I had no child care. I couldn't make workouts that demanded I strap her into a stroller because I have a kid who thinks strollers are lined with barbed wire and will scream until she turns blue and passes out. If she doesn't start breathing within 1 minute, we start CPR. That's not something I wanted to deal with while trying to workout.

So there I was, neck deep in shame, and a bit lost. Without being able to workout, did that make me a failure?

 I ended up doing what I could, when I could, and I still believe that was the right call.

Here's the point of the matter -

I believe we have no greater tool at our disposal than honesty. 

Being honest with ourselves shows the clear line between the reasons and the bullshit (excuse my french) excuses.

Should we have excuses?
 In fact, I argue we ALL have something going on that is an obstacle to our goals.  We all have things crop up that mean the healthiest choice we can make is to modify or even miss a workout.
As a coach and trainer, I want my clients to meet their goals and look out for their health with honesty and clarity and above all, safety.
  Sure, sometimes that means we power through the sniffles, or modify like a mofo for injuries or other medical conditions.
  Example, I tweaked an ankle playing with my dog. So I modified my program from Olympic lifting to Deadlifts this week.
  But then I caught a cold. So I modified my intense deadlifts to a brisk hike with the dog.

  The cold moved into Bronchitis and an ear infection. RED ALERT! Time for a day of rest.

See, I like the basic idea behind the "No Excuses" but the truth is, there is NO SHAME in having a legitimate reason.  Maybe it should just be renamed "No Bullshit."

So pick 1 thing this week.
Get deeply honest about it.
Change is on the other side of shame.

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