Before you read this blog, scroll down and read my article about mind/body/spirit that I posted on 1/30/16. When I wrote that article I was in the process of changing my training methods but only on myself. I was experimenting moving from a "traditional trainer" style of workouts to ones that had more mind/body connection. I wanted to see what the results were on me before I passed the new style on to my clients. Know that just before I started this experiment sometime in 2015, I was teaching cardio kickboxing 4 times a week, working out with weights 3 times a week and slipping in some 5-mile runs a few times a week.
After reading this article today that I wrote five years ago, I remember when I wrote it then that it came straight from my heart and easy to write. I recall that when I read it back to myself back then, it seemed almost impossible that I could have changed and yet gotten such positive results after dropping the kickboxing, a large part of the weight lifting and the 5 mile runs.
As time went on, I could hear God telling me to keep going and not be afraid. So I kept going and finally felt confident enough to start introducing it to my clients sometime in late 2016. Since that time, the program has evolved in so many ways yet each way has gotten better and better.
You will notice that I haven't written any blogs since 2017 because I honestly wasn't sure where everything was going because both mind and body changes were happening somewhat fast and often both for myself and my clients. I was constantly adding things in and taking things out based on my own experiences and those of my clients.
The biggest takeaway from changing training styles is that I don't have to put my body through so much stress in order to achieve positive results. Kickboxing, for example, was at a high intensity level with a lot of punching, kicking and jumping. Even though I did a great deal of stretching and foam rolling in between my classes, my muscles always felt tired, especially when I was out for a walk. Weigh training was always varied doing many different movement patterns when using them yet I always felt that I didn't move as fluidly as I should when doing daily chores and activities. As for the 5 mile runs, I always loved them at the time but later in the day I felt like my body was lacking energy. So, to sum this all up, the results I was expecting I wasn't getting even though I didn't know that at the time. I just accepted that this is how a person should feel after an active week of exercise and movement.
What I have learned over the past 5 years is that my posture was poor thus making my blood flow poor. All the kickboxing, weights and running actually made my muscles and joints tighter and tighter to the point that my blood flow was becoming more and more restricted in different parts of the body. I actually ended up herniating a disc about 6 years ago during a weight workout. I was shocked that this would have happened because my mind was telling me that everything felt strong and in place. However, I couldn't have been further from the truth. Looking back at pictures taken then, my spine was in a C shape. In other words, I was slouched forward because of tight chest and shoulder muscles, along with tight hip flexors and overworked quads. On stop of all this, my breathing was shallow and coming mainly from my upper chest instead of from my belly. This, along with poor blood flow throughout my muscles, was what was causing me to feel less energetic than I should have been.
What I was doing, so I thought, was just trying to be the best I could be like everyone else around me. Maybe it was the fear of not portraying the perfect image that people expected from me or it was my own self-doubt that if I didn't push myself to the max then I would be somewhat of a failure. My eyes and ears were taking in all the noise and chaos of life; and in turn, my mind took those noises and images and used them as weapons against myself.
Now 5 years later my mind is no longer a battlefield. My training program has strengthened my mind to stay in the present moment on a constant basis. I don't drag myself into the past or worry about the future in the ways that I used to. My peripheral vision has improved so much around me allowing me to take in each and everything around me all the time. My optometrist has told me that my vision (I'm 60 years old) has improved both near and far over the past 5 years. She said that is unheard of because most people will improve in only one direction as they age whereas I improved in both directions.
My body doesn't waste the energy that it used to due to poor blood flow. A friend of mine who is a chiropractor told me a month ago, after I had him check my muscles for only blood flow constrictions, that my blood is flowing at 50-75% above the average person he treats because my muscles are less twisted and much longer than what he typically sees. He has never done an adjustment on me because the training program I do automatically allows the joints to adjust on their own when they are ready. I can now walk faster and further without getting winded and I use much less effort when using weights because my spine has gone from a C shape to a J shape. The effort and energy are now loaded evenly throughout my spine, joints and muscles instead of overloaded just in certain areas.
As for my spirit, God has definitely become an even bigger presence in my life by doing the program. With the tension and stress gone, I can feel his presence and protection around me even more!!