In America, we love the idea of bigger, stronger, faster, better, etc. With that said, we also love excess. It is ingrained into us from day one. We live in a consumer-based economy where there is always something new to buy and NEED. Sometimes we even need MORE of something… MORE MORE MORE! How long does it take to ask yourself, “Why?” “Why do I need that or even more of it?” I have been a trainer/instructor/coach/mentor for 3 years now, and this idea of excess has played a huge role in my evolution as a trainer and a conscious human being. I have been using the concept of moderation in all facets of my life. Whether it is work, play, food, passion, hobbies, money, fitness, etc., I have learned to moderate it all.
It started when I changed my relationship with food from being an enjoyment to a source of fuel. I learned that what you put in is what you get out. You put in crappy fuel, you get crappy results. I realized that I liked to feel good (seems like a simple concept but many of us don’t know what “feeling good” feels like). In order to feel good, I needed to fill my tummy with the proper fuel. Cutting down on alcohol consumption, avoiding packaged foods, and starting to cook was my starting point. Once I learned the discipline it took to successfully “feel good”, I was hooked. Figuring out proper portion sizes and what is necessary over what is wanted is a huge lesson I learned. This is a sign of maturity that many of us struggle to embrace. To help embrace this maturity, I had to realize that “I have had pumpkin pie and I know I will have it again, so why do I need to eat 4 slices of it?”. I know that is a time to moderate.
Being injured was also a time where I sat and reflected on how the hell I got into a surgical situation. My shoulder injury was a sign of over-usage. Wait, huh? Excessive usage? I can’t deny that one bit. When I think back to what I have put my right shoulder through, it is a miracle that it is still attached to my body. I learned through this that I can’t go skateboarding everyday. I can’t do bench press everyday. You will destroy yourself in due time. You need to moderate even the things you love to do! But you need to do what makes you happy, right? Well, if you are excessive in the things you love, you may not be able to do them forever… That is a scary thought… Now I look at my skateboarding activity differently. I want to do this for a long time, so it is time to moderate it. I appreciate it much more now because it isn’t everyday. I love the time I get out and shred. Same goes with the gym! I don’t just lift on my own any more. I go to classes… I go to different ones. I run. I stretch. I try to do something different everyday to keep it fresh and moderate!
In fitness, excess is constantly utilized and rest is ignored. I asked a fellow trainer how they achieved some subtle weight loss and her answer was “letting my body rest!”. Who would have thought?!? But it was not surprising to me because the body needs to recover. If you never allow it to, you’ll just be spinning your wheels and not progressing. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be at 100% for every class/workout you engaged in? Are you constantly crawling in and out of class because you’re exhausted? If so, you need to moderate your amount of exercise. 2-3 days of rest per week will allow you to work even harder in your workouts. You will feel the results. It may be scary, but give it a shot… And yoga counts as an exercise day! I have practiced rest and it is pretty much the best…
I’ve grown out of doing anything in excess. I realize that anything you do in life (work, play, vacation, fitness, skateboarding, partying, drinking, hobbies, etc.) can lose its thrill/joy if it is excessive. Although it seems odd to moderate hobbies and fun, I have seen that it restores a freshness to them. Even vacation can get excessive! To learn moderation, you need to test it out on something easy. Maybe try limiting something crappy you eat for a month. Don’t cut it out, but moderate it. I am in the middle of a no pizza, sweets, or french fries for the month, and I have enjoyed the challenge. The key will be to ease it back into the belly and not to go buck wild when it is no longer off limits! I see this as moderating my intake of crappy food and not as a restriction 🙂
So take some time and reflect on what you may do excessively… Moderation can’t be excessive!