Ethan here giving you my personal update on the first 7 days of Dani and I's 8 week transformation challenge to develop better lifestyle habits, get fitter and eat healthily. How's it gone? It's typically the case that the start of something is the hardest!!
I've recently (9 weeks ago) had quite major surgery and during my first workout, I felt EXHAUSTED! It was like someone had put a tonne of bricks on my shoulders and was running behind me asking me to sprint uphill. Not pleasant in the slightest. Not only that, it was a mental game too. I was scared of damaging or hurting myself so in constant turmoil about wanting to, but not being unable to push myself like usual. A lot of people feel this even if they're not recovering from injury or surgery. Even seasoned cross-fitters, power-lifters or body builders sometimes struggle with being able to consistently get 'in the zone' to maximise the output from their exercise routine.
The annoying thing about not hitting the ground running after a break from exercise, is expectation. I expected, having been very fit before with decent muscle tone, that I would bounce straight back to full fitness. I think it's fair to say that my expectations were WAY too high! I've always been hard on myself as I don't like making excuses. This trait can be great when it comes to perseverance but not so great when you want to achieve and physically or mentally are unable to. Lesson one is definitely: be kind to yourself.
I will still get there by the end of this challenge but we all work and achieve at different paces. That's life. I need to take a deep breath and be kind to myself, giving myself enough rest days and not pushing too hard at the beginning. I'll get there, but true change is a marathon not a sprint (especially not uphill with a tonne of bricks on top!).
So, what would I suggest to overcome the initial shock the system? I recommend to sit down at the start of your programme and really think things through building in realistic expectations, goals and plan your rest days. If you set the bar too high, you'll constantly be in state of not feeling like you're making progress. That's just not fun. This could make you so disheartened that you resent the whole thing, not give it your all or worse still, give up. Whereas, if you're realistic yet still give yourself challenging goals, you'll feel so rewarded when you meet or exceed them.