PAST SELF, CURRENT SELF, FUTURE SELF
Often when someone restarts their fitness journey and is trying to “get back in shape,” whatever that may mean to them, they compare their current self to their previous self. For example, they may say, “Oh my god! I can barely do 3 push- ups! I used to crank out 15 like it was my job!” This is totally normal for someone to do and say, as they attempt to hold themselves to previous standards without thinking about the current context. On average, it will take a human body about 3 days or so for an “un-training” effect to take place. The holidays are a perfect example of this “un-training” effect. During this time people tend to miss multiple training sessions due to parties, vacations, or family events, and it takes significantly more time and effort to get back to where they were prior to missing those sessions.
Training is a process, and although competition with yourself can be healthy, we cannot always compare current self to old Facebook profile pictures. Context is everything. Where are you NOW? Not only should you consider previous training frequency and intensity, but what else were you doing? What was your nutrition like? How much sleep were you getting? These play a major role in our training. Another important factor to consider when comparing your current training status to previous training status is ….AGE. Top secret knowledge here, but when we were younger and bouncing off the walls, our basal metabolic rate was generally higher. The bad news is, this tends to decrease with age. Depending on what we have going on physiologically, we have the ability to raise our BMR, so we can churn more kcals at a faster rate, but this takes work.
Those of us hitting restart on our fitness journey (notice not destination) cannot compare our current training self to our previous training self. The question is- can we set a goal of getting back to where we once were? Absolutely! Training is not like riding a bike. You don’t simply learn how to have a low resting heart rate or or the ability to crank out pull ups once in your life, and that’s that. Training is a never ending process that is dependent on our consistency and commitment to do X in order to achieve Y. Competition with your former self is healthy, but we cannot compete with a previously fitter version of ourselves without some context and information, because this time it might be different. It might be harder. You might not be able to eat or drink the same things. You might not be able to stay up late and get up early without repercussions. Although returning to your former self is an excellent motivator to reach your goal, you still have to show up, put the time in, and progress through consistency. Dedicate your current self to the process, and you are on your way!