Since talking with you all last I had a birthday, here’s to 36!!
I spent many days leading up to my birthday reminiscing birthdays of past. The last five birthdays were either spent prepping for a show or reversing out from a show. Competing was such a major part of my life. For many years, it was the primary center of my life. It was a great experience, it allowed me to meet a lot of people and it taught me stringent discipline- but somewhere over the last year, there was a shift.
When I began my fitness journey so many years ago, my intention was to become stronger, fitter, and happier. I became stronger, a lot stronger. I became fitter and I became happier- but, sometime, somewhere along that road I allowed the aesthetics of fitness to drive me rather than the dimensions of wellness. Do you know what I mean by that? Let me explain. When I first entered the world of weightlifting my primary focus was the weight on the barbell, not my weight on the scale. I noticed immediate changes in my physique as a result of training, not because of restrictive eating and endless amounts of cardio.
As time continued, training became a chore and my diet was solely for fat loss, as opposed to eating foods because they had certain antioxidants that battle cancer, or because they were optimal for recovery. I was training merely to chase a certain physique. Don’t get me wrong, a nice set of glutes and abs will always be a major motivator, but loving your body through the process is just as important.
For me personally, achieving optimal wellness means achieving your fullest potential in the following dimensions: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and environmental. Wellness is becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, following a strategic meal plan, or looking good naked; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
At some point, we all get sidetracked and deviate from our path, and sometimes we may not even know our path- Either way it’s OK. Adjusting our visions are just part of growth and improvement. It’s important to rememberer to occasionally take a moment, reevaluate your goals, and check your path.
Physical Wellness: Improving physical wellness means a number of things to me. This means focusing not only on maintaining, but improving physical health through resistance training, flexibility, and mobility, and improving cardiovascular output. Physical wellness not only means exercise but it means adhering to a healthy diet, consuming responsible amounts of alcohol, abstaining from tobacco, and all substances that forge depression, anxiety, or disease.
Social Wellness: Reaching optimal social wellness means that you are fulfilling interpersonal relationships. These are relationships with family and friends, as well as everyday people you meet in society. To enhance social health you must be willing to communicate with others. You must be reliable, honest and most of all, acquire the ability to listen attentively with an open mind and a closed mouth.
Intellectual Wellness: Mental stimulation is a major component of intellectual health. We should continuously strive to stimulate our thought process; it can mean finding ways to be creative, developing good study skills, practicing time management, challenge yourself to see all sides of an issue. Every day is an opportunity to learn new concepts and expand our knowledge.
Emotional Wellness: The greatest component of emotional health is the ability to not only control our behavior but to better understand it. This means taking time to look at ourselves and acknowledge why we feel certain emotions; learning to recognize what brings on feelings of anger, stress, anxiety, or sadness, and those of hope, love, joy, and happiness. Once you know what brings on these feelings, you are more equipped to dictate your emotional wellbeing.
Spiritual Wellness: This is finding peace in knowing that you provide a purpose for existence. A person may find spiritual contentment through organized religion, volunteering, mediation, hiking; whatever fulfills your spirit and creates harmony in your life.
Environmental Wellness: We cannot always determine our environment. There are threats from our surroundings that can play a hazardous role in our everyday lives: people’s negativity, pollution, infectious diseases, crime, and the list goes on. This means taking time to do all of the extra little things that can add up to make a big difference: caring about your skin enough to apply SPF, wash your hands after public interactions, make an appointment at the doctor if you feel something isn’t right, get regular check-ups, and for God’s sake make time to floss. Minimizing the negative effects of environmental hazards is a major contributor to wellness