Monday Motivation is back for the new year! After last month’s release of Star Wars The Force Awakens, why not utilize some of the excitement we have for the film and for our new favorite scavenger Rey to “awaken” our muscles?
In Episode VII, new character Rey demonstrates that she’s capable of holding her own as a “mechanic, pilot, and warrior” (starwars.com). Played by actress Daisy Ridley, Rey is quick to think and act on her feet. We watch Rey repel down an old star destroyer, outrun First Order stormtroopers (in sand no less), and [I don’t want to go into more detail because SPOILERS].
Just as with Zoe Saldana, being a fan of the character she plays has led me to follow Daisy Ridley on Instagram. Her posts include red carpet images, a charming reaction video to seeing the trailer for the first time, as well as her own #motivationalmonday and #fitnessfriday posts. She does weighted lunges, tricep pull-downs, high knees, squat jumps, inverted pull-ups, etc. (You’d better believe that this has given me a whole set of ideas for a Rey inspired workout).
In one post, Daisy is seen dead lifting 176 pounds. She comments that:
I don’t know if #fitnessfriday is a thing(?!) but HERE’S MINE! Lifting 80 kilos/176 pounds feeling like an absolute boss. 😏😏😏 Initially I had to pack on some muscle to look like a desert scavenger, but have continued working out because it makes me feel really good. The female form is beautiful in all shapes and sizes, whether that’s athletic, straight up straight down or curvy; you just have to do what makes you feel good, try not compare yourself to other people and LOVE YOURSELF!!! As it stands I’m of the athletic variety so I’m gonna keep pumping those weights 😄😄😄 #girlswholift
Whatever gender you are, her words ring true. We’re all built differently, and, as we better ourselves with diet and exercise, we’ll notice how our bodies also develop differently than others’. What’s important to note is how we feel about ourselves when we consistently incorporate exercise into our lives, especially how we feel in terms of the increased strength, balance, flexibility, and/or endurance we’ve attained (this is why keeping an exercise log is great -seeing where we’ve started and where we are now). Framing exercise in this positive mindset fosters positive thinking, which enables positive behavior. We see this with Daisy Ridley: she’s found that by incorporating exercise that emphasizes muscular strength and power into her training, she feels “good” and positive about her body, and, by extension, about exercise, which continues the positive cycle of mentality and behavior.
Additionally, Daisy hits on an important and completely normal aspect of health & fitness: we all have moments that don’t coincide with our exercise goals or activity. The caption in a post from November 5th, 2015 is one that we can all identify with:
“…I’ve just eaten a crepe full of melted chocolate…” We’ve all been there, Daisy, we’ve all been there.
Coming off of a month or two of holiday sweets and comfort food, breaking the sugar habit can be a bit of a challenge. (Oh man, it is taking all of my restraint to not eat brownies or cookies.) While we may be feeling challenged to not eat brownies, cookies, or crepes full of melted chocolate, breaking our sugar habit (or salt or alcohol habit) is an achievable goal.
If there are moments of relapse while pursuing that goal, know that we haven’t negated all of the physiological benefits we gain from exercise -we’ve still strengthened our cardiorespiratory systems and fatigued those muscles. Nutrition is still incredibly important though, we need the right variety of nutrients to foster the many activities of the human body (including building and repairing muscle, increasing bone density, and fueling all of our basic functions and activity). It’s just that overall success doesn’t hinge on whether you happened to have eaten one crepe full of melted chocolate.
To conclude this Motivation Monday, let’s pursue our fitness and exercise goals this year knowing that our health and fitness journey is a unique work-in-progress. Our exercise and nutrition goals do not hinge on what others do, nor does it hinge on being perfect. Let’s reframe our thoughts and feelings about being healthier into a more positive framework, because we all have had and will have a workout that we’re proud of and then find ourselves eating something we’re not. Just remember “soooooooo…… Yeah……Still #gainz”