“I used to be so athletic in my younger days! I wish I could be like that again.”
“Ugh, I’m so out of shape.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get back to what I was able to do back then.”
Guys, this is nonsense.
It breaks my heart every time I hear it. And for some reason, I’ve been hearing these types of comments a lot lately from some of my new clients and fellow moms.
But want to know a little secret? You’re still an athlete. I can see it in your eyes. It doesn’t go away, regardless of your current age or weight.
To me, being an athlete is more than just being on a sports team, being muscular, or being able to run a long distance. It’s a state of mind. It’s drive, focus, dedication. And it’s a beautiful thing.
In boot camp, I can always pick out the people like this. They get quiet during the workout. They're focused. Sometimes if they’re coming off of an exercise hiatus—having kids, an injury, busy job . . . aka life—they get frustrated that they can’t “do what they used to be able to do.”
But here’s another secret: you can get there again. It just takes time.
And I love, love, love watching the process. When a client moves up in weight on an exercise, I do a little happy dance, and not just in my head. I get a little excited. I LOVE watching people get strong, especially when they finish a set that they used to struggle with and can now cruise through. They always seem surprised when it happens.
One of my clients who comes to work out in my garage gym is kicking some serious tail lately, and it’s because she has that mental drive. Sometimes when she’s done with a set, she'll look at me and say, “I can do more.” So I either ask her to do another set or give her a heavier set of weights, depending on where she is in her program. And my heart explodes with pride. And she's not a 20 year old with nothing to do but spend time lifting. She works full time takes her fitness seriously. And PS, she's also a grandmother.
Friends, it’s never, ever too late to stoke the fire again and dive into some form of exercise that you enjoy. As you know, for me, it’s running and lifting. I haven’t quite found something to truly scratch the competitive itch since my rugby days, but running races and lifting come close.
When I’m in my garage gym with my music pumping in my ears, the old drive comes back. Now I’m just competing against myself instead of 15 other women on the other side of the pitch.
I’m competing against the idea that moms over 40 can’t lift heavy and get strong. Against the idea that I’m too busy to workout. Against the idea that my knees can’t take lifting.
I set the rules. I’m in control of own fitness level.
So if you’re just starting out or starting back up, stay with it. Find something that drives you forward and keeps you motivated week after week, and preferably not an arbitrary number on the scale. Getting strong is not a linear process and takes time. But man, is it worth it. You’re worth it. Always.
Just your average stopwatch-toting suburban mom, looking to make some locals sweat and curse my name.