It’s been very hot here in LA this past week, triple digit temperatures. I have never done well in the heat; I get nauseous, light headed, and really sleepy. Needless to say, the past week has been a bit rough. Currently, I’m training for my first powerlifting meet in November, and I’m really excited! My workouts are pretty intense; I’m squatting, benching and deadlifting three times a week. As much as I love my workouts, my body has understandably been feeling a bit beat up, and the heat doesn’t help.
Yesterday’s workout was rough! My Friday workout starts with deadlifts, six sets of 3 reps. I was doing a few warm-up set at what should have been a relatively light weight (about 40lbs. less than what I was planning for my working sets), but the weight felt really heavy. It became apparent fairly quick that I wasn’t going to be lifting as heavy as I originally planned. My body felt achy, I was tired, and I didn’t feel like my head was really in the game. At that moment I felt defeated. I wanted nothing more than to go home and sit in my air conditioned house drinking iced tea. But what would that accomplish? I had a little internal conversation with myself. While my body didn’t feel great, I felt pretty confident I could continue deadlifting without injuring myself. While I might not have been able to go as heavy as I had wanted or planned, six sets at a lighter weight were still better than zero sets at a heavier weight. After my deadlifts, I continued on to bench press which felt pretty good. After my five sets, I went back to the squat rack for squats. It was my lightest squat day, and after my deadlifts, I figured it was safest to start at a lighter weight. I unracked the bar, walked it out, braced my abs and began to descend into my first squat. In that first rep, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. This didn’t just feel tough; it was downright painful. My back hurt and my hip felt like it might actually snap if I went all the way down. I re-racked the barbell and had another talk with myself. This time wasn’t just mental or general fatigue, this was legitimately risking my overall health. So I made the decision to end my workout. Fortunately, my friend is an amazing massage therapist and was kind enough to work on me at the gym. While I feel a bit bruised from all the deep tissue work I am confident that I feel a million times better than I would had I chosen to continue my workout.
So why did I tell you that story? Because I want to point out the importance of practicing self-compassion and the difference between being compassionate towards yourself and just giving up. Being self-compassionate doesn’t mean being easy on yourself. It means tapping into what you truly need and doing what’s best for you both now and in the long run. Had I stopped my workout yesterday after my warm up I wouldn’t have been practicing self-compassion, I would have been taking it easy on myself. Not to mention negatively impacting my progress towards my goal for November. However, when I stopped my workout after that first squat I chose to honor my body and have compassion for myself. I didn’t beat myself up over not finishing my workout. I reminded myself that missing one hour today in order to respect my body’s needs was better than missing all my workouts for the next week because I ignored what my body was telling me and ended up injured.
Practicing self-compassion means treating yourself the way you would treat a loved one. It means being kind and supportive to yourself. The infographic below is a helpful reminder. Feel free to print it out and post it somewhere handy.
The main point I want you to take away from this is that it’s okay to be kind to yourself. We oftentimes are much harder on ourselves than we would ever be on someone else. So as you go through your day make sure to check in with yourself. Don’t let yourself off easy, but remember that you’re only human. Be kind to yourself, it will serve you much better in the long run.
As always, I’m here to help. Email me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org