I put a picture on Instagram yesterday which was the starting point of this post. It got me thinking a lot, which always translates into a need to write.
I always strive to be totally real, honest, and open through all my social media outlets – posting pictures of me during the offseason, talking about prep struggles, and just general life. Obviously, not everything gets documented for a variety of reasons. I’m pretty closed off about my job, mostly due to privacy factors. So far this year, work has been a big source of stress. I can’t get into all the details of it, but it’s definitely been a serious test of strength. There have been a lot of new challenges thrown at Kyle and I in the last four weeks and we’re both eager for the dust to settle – even though we don’t know what that situation will look like yet.
When I captioned my picture with “Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and sometimes it just kicks you right in the face” it was the best summary I could come up with. We’ve taken a few big hits but are staying as positive as possible that things will work out for the best.
What does this have to do with training? No, I didn’t start training just as a coping method for work stress. However, during training sessions this week, it continued to cross my mind how great that time is for Kyle and I, both as a couple and individually.
I know I’m lucky to have a training partner built into my life, it’s a connection that’s hard to find. You need someone reliable who has the same vision, who will push you to be better, and who will help you train safely. To have all that in someone I love spending time with is a huge bonus. Like any relationship, this has developed over time, but now we could go a whole training session without even needing to talk to each other… which has happened when we’ve been less than happy with one another. Our time in the gym is just that – OURS. We value this time even more now that we don’t work together.
For me, training is a huge stress relief; it’s an escape from the outside world. It’s the only time of the day that I ignore my cell phone, fully dedicating that time to doing what we love. Nothing beats the feeling of putting my headphones on and working up a sweat testing my own limits and pushing past them. The other bullshit of life fades away and I’m in complete control. It’s truly the only time of day that outside issues don’t bother me – and if something does, I use it as fuel to work harder. The gym is a place I can rely on for consistency – weights are weights regardless of what you’re going through. Plus, the routine is comforting, knowing what training day it is and what exercises we’re going to do is another thing I have control over. Leaving the gym knowing that I accomplished something is a confidence boost (not to mention all those great hormones that are released, you’re bound to feel amazing). Regardless of how crappy I felt getting to the gym, I always leave in a good mood.
Nothing else brings me the same stress release. Taking a hot bath, reading, or watching TV all allow my mind to wander back to whatever is bothering me. Training gives me an escape where I’m fully focused on something I love, with someone I love, blocking everything else out for that period of time.
Training has become a regular part of our day, just like meal times. The mental change I feel when I take time off the gym is noticeable and usually hits quickly – especially if the absence is forced on me. I find I get irritable, moody, and tired. It’s amazing how suddenly not using that energy can make you exhausted.
I understand that for many people, the love of training is just not there. Going to the gym is a chore; something they might dread, only doing it out of obligation for health benefits. They probably (hopefully!) have another form of stress relief that works the same way. For me though, the gym is where I belong and feel my best. And at times like now, I’m so glad I’ve found it.