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November 27, 2019

How to Achieve Balance in Your Body

by Michael Hughes

Would it surprise you to hear that one of the dark sides of being in the fitness industry is actually making time to work out and take care of yourself? It’s reminiscent of the phrase “the cobbler’s children don’t have shoes.” It’s something we take very seriously at Gymnazo. We even have meetings with our coaching team to make sure we are checking in on the health of one another. Staying in a healthy place physically is something that we all want to model in our lives, and when we make it a priority, we feel more empathy for the people we are called to serve. Why? Because it’s not easy.

It’s one thing to be in shape. It’s another to be in balance physically, where you aren’t too flexible, too tight, or underdeveloped in one part of your body. To be balanced as an athlete is about developing a heightened sense of knowing when you are out of alignment, when you need a break, and when you need to seek outside help.

Sure, I am asked how to get in shape. But I’m also asked how to feel balanced as an athlete. I always use this same analogy, which has helped me a lot in understanding this concept.

Have you ever bought a car, a lap top, or a camera and thought to yourself, “This will be a one time purchase. I’ll never have to buy one of these again!” Probably not. Everyone knows that every machine will eventually break. Our human body is no different. It’s not “if”; it’s “when”.

In our society, we seem to value continuous hard work over rest. It’s a chronic problem in our culture. We celebrate long hours, long weeks, and years of time in. And we see this so clearly in fitness.

Here’s the secret to being balanced as an athlete and not just running yourself into the ground, again and again: The harder and more intense that you work out, the harder and more intense you need to undo the stress and tension you put on the body.

That is the secret that enables you to be strong and achieve a muscular look BUT not break because you are so inflexible.

As a fitness professional, I, myself, have struggled with this. I’ve been in a place of unbalance and not made time to get back in balance. And I do not enjoy being in that place. So over the years, I’ve developed a personal commitment to doing five things to keep myself in balance. I’d like to share them with you.

1. Join a restorative workout like we’ve built with Melt.Mold.Move.

2. Get a massage from a skilled body worker. (It doesn’t have to be bodywork; it could be foam rolling and restorative tools.)

3. Sleep at least 7 hours, minimum.

4. Eat clean and drink lots of water.

5. 1-2 times per week, get into an infrared sauna or float in a sensory deprivation tank.

If you’re investing in your body just to work hard, then be careful to not do only that and miss the other half of the equation. Most of us work out for the energy, the clarity, and the feeling we get from physically challenging ourselves. If you find ways to bring balance into your lifestyle, you’ll be able to sustain fitness for decades to come and continue to feel vibrant, healthy, and strong along the way.

Don’t settle for workout intensity that leads to injury. You deserve more than that, and one of the best ways to safeguard yourself is to build in recovery and balance into your life.

Bonus tip: If you’re going to work out hard because you really enjoy that, then avoid doing the same motion patterns every single workout. I’m talking about motions like the same lifting patterns, treadmills, always doing the same stationary bike or rowers. These motions will only further the wear and tear faster.

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