As Priorities Change…

Please enjoy Part III of my ongoing series on Life As  Fitness Trainer.  Check back next week for my thoughts on what to look for, and what NOT to look for in a fitness trainer.


“Show me a man who has the same values at 50 that he had at 25, and I’ll show you a man who wasted 25 years of his life.”  Muhammad Ali.

Change; Often It Comes Seamlessly

It’s not that I got lazy; it’s just that I just quit caring…

.. .or that I quit caring so much.

I no longer look like an action-figure in sleeveless shirts as I did 5 years ago.  Still, I’m way ahead of the game for 49 years of age, and one can tell at a glance that I invest a good deal of time in exercise.  I had always thought though, that if I worked in, or owned a gym, I would remain in supreme shape for all my days – and that has always mattered to me.

I have reasoned that so long as some decent equipment was at hand; by way of proximity, availability, and my discipline, this would ensure my great physical conditioning – ongoing.  I never counted on “great physical conditioning” no longer mattering to me – or not as much.  It’s alright, dry your eyes – priorities change, that’s just the way it is. 

I still like to workout; weights, riding my bike, running, trail hiking, and I do all of these weekly, and often daily.  The intensity, however, and the effort I apply to my daily action is waning, as is the frequency and duration of such activities.  I’ve just become estranged from my go big or go home mentality.

Living In A Gym; Do What You Love For A Living And…

…Quit Loving It

I once reasoned that if I stick to what I love and what I know for my livelihood, I would live a blissful life and earn a good keep.  The truth is, I built my little gym for me, not for my clients.  It would soon become my sanctuary; a place where time stood still and where, by way of my very intense workouts done in private, I felt at peace with the world, if not always on top of it.  My gym and my workouts were literally my religion.  The problem is; I never left.

My sanctuary, my temple of me, for me, has also been my workplace.   Though I was not always exercising, I was in my sanctuary up to 12 hours per day.  What I once loved, would become constant and to begin to grow stale. 

Many can relate to how hard it is spending all day in the workplace, leave tired at the end of the day, and head to the gym for an evening workout.  It’s not always easy.  Now imagine, that you have spent all day working in your gym, surrounded by gym stuff, and at the end of the day, you don’t even get the privilege of leaving to go workout – I would be stuck at work to enjoy my play.  Motivation might be hard to conjure.  Within a few years the need to get away from work, which also meant getting out of my gym, meant… buying a gym membership, so I did.

And for several years I would leave my gym at the end of the day to workout in a fresh environment, and this worked – to a point.

You Are Who You Roll With

In the beginning of this incarnation of my business, many of my clients were serious adult athletes, want-to-be fitness models, young bodybuilders, and a few competitive prep-athletes.  Having always reasoned that I need to be in better shape than my clients, I took care of business and ensured that I was in better shape – always.

Slowly, my client-base changed, and that was for the better.  I began working with people who better appreciated the value of functional fitness; seniors, men and women who wish to be more active, weight-loss candidates, and weekend warrior athletes who who would rather not limp into work on Monday mornings.  As the collective condition of my clients lessened, so too did the overall condition of me – and I never saw it coming.  On a very subconscious level, I must have reasoned that I could get away with less.  On a very subconscious level, this would become my path.  This is not to say I quit exercising, I just felt less pressure to push hard – to go big or go home in every workout.

The Tao Of A Furious Heart-Rate And Burning Quads; Oh, There Isn’t One

So here I am, still in good physical shape, but not where I have been and where I know I could still be.  I work less at it, and it has become a lesser priority in my life.  I attempt daily to reconcile that disparity.

 I’m okay these days with having a small roll on my waist versus the tight abs of a couple years ago. I’m okay with using a bit of salad dressing and ketchup these days when for years I would never touch the stuff.  I’m okay with 30 minutes of strength training versus 60.  I’m ok with shorter, slower runs and bike rides.  I’m okay with all of that, and then really I’m not.   

I contemplate a promise I made to myself years ago, that in no area of my life would I ever allow myself to take a step backward; that time’s arrow points only ahead.  I know that I still have what it takes to get in the best shape of my life.  I know that I always feel better for having pushed workouts harder than the week before.  I know I can look and function better at 50 than I did at 40, and better at 60 than at 50, I know I know I know I know. 

I also know that we have been designed to get old, to breakdown, and to slowdown, and to have our priorities change.  I  know that the car with the most miles on it will likely go to the junk yard first.  I know I think way too much about all of this.  I know I know I know I know.  Be well.  rc


Please check beck next week for Part IV of this series; Fitness Trainer, Be Better Than That.
Oh, and there is this from Cold Chisel; Bow River.  Enjoy…

21 responses

  1. I just came back from my gym and was logging in my workout when your post arrived. It is funny because on the way back home I was thinking about the purpose of pushing hard (killer intervals!). Of course in my case it has never been as hard as you used to push yourself. Still, there is some need in us to keep on getting better and better but to what end? There is also another force that helps balance our lives. Seems that maybe you are under that force’s influence now.
    I am quite sure that your new clientele needs a person like you much more than athlete wannabes and that they appreciate your services much more.
    And if you ever have doubts about what you are doing now, read the quote you posted.
    Tons of other thoughts come to my mind but a) I need coffee b) this comment box is way too small.
    Oh, one more comment will fit in. You are certainly ahead of the game. 🙂
    Good post.

    • Thanks Ewa. I think a lot of this is relative to the goal — which many, myself included, tend to forget. You are pushing hard now because of an upcoming goal. Should I decide to compete in a marathon again, or bodybuilding for that matter, I will likely sing another song with my workouts and eating. The question is; do I care enugh anymore to set a nother goal or event…?

      FIW: Writing this definitely got my competitive juices flowing.

  2. And THAT is the wise wisdom of fitness!

    Of change..of growth…to expand those areas less traveled while the steady day to day settles in.

    for those of us on the weight LOSS journey, where we have NOT reached that peak of mastery, but long for…the drive is NOT often the same.

    The misunderstanding of do what you love and the ——– will follow (bliss, money, happiness…name your poison) is what I am coming to understand from my strong, often lurky, following of the fitness lovers like you, lori, jodi, etc…

    For me, I have to do what I love but balance it with what I don’t love but need to become the best possible me…and that means a hell of a lot of priorities will change and that TAKES TIME….

    Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing what YOU know..YOU know…You know…

    • Thank you Jules. I figured you would relate to this one since you are sensitive to priorities, and their need to change as life changes.

      Not sure I’m really “vulnerable”, I just have a deep-seeded belief that if one throws it out there — honestly, someone might catch it, and that makes the world spin steady.

  3. And, your clients will benefit from your “different” perspective.
    I never knew how hard it was to be overweight until after I had babies and tried to do all the crazy things I was doing “before babies.” – Who spends 90 minutes at the highest level on the stairmaster and THEN goes and runs three miles and then lifts… that WAS me – before I had responsibilities and priorities and a life!!!
    After my first “fat” experience, I understood how difficult it was for overweight people to make that first step into the gym or into any fitness experience – and it gave me the opportunity to change my approach to teaching or training…

    • Lara, thanks so much for taking the time. Like you, I have gone from fit, to overweight, and back to experience, and it COMPLETELY changed the way I approach my craft and how I relate to my clients. Having spent time on both sides of the coin, I clearly prefer fit — but no longer to the sacrifice of those around me, or a good time on occasion.

  4. Roy,
    …and perhaps that’s it…as our priorities shift, as we change…it is all okay. What fills the void of {exercise, some favorite activity, etc} is something else this is perhaps meaningful and good in it’s own right.

    Great, great thoughts here today, my friend…

  5. Those of us over the age of 40 will most likely relate to this post far easier than the youngsters out there. One of the joys of getting older (there are a few!)is that your priorities often change to things that are of a less selfish nature. Where once I worked out 7 days a week to look “hot” now I work out 3-5 days to avoid muscle loss and to combat the pain that can accompany osteoarthritis. I was once the girl in the bathroom for 90 minutes every morning primping, now I’m happier meeting a friend for coffee, no make-up necessary.

    • You and I seem to agree on this theme over and over Karen. It has resonated through our mutual posts and comments for some time. Though I will miss your VERY mindful Fitnessjourney, I will be sure to peek in from time to and learn something about that which I know NOTHING about 🙂

  6. Roy, of course I understand this.. I think much more than many of your readers as I live the stay fit life BUT I don’t work in it. I found years ago when I did personal training that it took a drain on my own personal workouts. Not that I did not want to help people get healthy.. I did & still do but in a different way than training. That may be thru my blog or talking one on one or whatever it is beyond the personal training.

    I also understand the priorities like you…. I think about how I may have to “not be as lean” some day & even see what age does no matter how much I work at it with food & exercise.. I don’t know where I am going yet either but I do know that I will always work to be healthy & yes, fit, but it may be a different fit than what I see right now….

    • “a different fit than what I see right now…”

      Best sentence I have read in ages Jody thank you!

      I have to admit, when I write that I know I can be in better shape at 50 than I was at 40, and better at 60 than I was at 50, I have you in mind.

      This I believe: You WILL look better at 60 than at 53, and function better as well, and I plan to see that graphic in the upper left hand corner of your page change for the better every year — no pressure though 🙂

  7. Well, I’ve had a glass of wine but my first inclination is to say no, I will never back off. I love it too much. But I do know, intellectually, that as time passes I’ll have different interests and will gravitate towards other physical endeavors. I’ve learned that being physical feeds me, and I’ll never give up having a fitness passion, even if it’s not weights. But needing to maintain a level of hotness? I suppose that will wane. Right now I love what I’m doing and I’m not going to let age slow me down. And to be clear, I’m not far behind you my friend.

    • Suzanne, your comments are always appreciated.

      And to also be clear, I’m not checking out, and saying game over — just okay with a little less. Bottom line is, I still love to train, and I may run another marathon still, or compete in bodybuilding once again.

      But I have found I love to write, i love read, I love to do things I did not do for many years due to my workout schedule.

      I can also say this, I feel my body aging for the first time, and I ask myself; “Is that because of my exercise through the years, or despite it…?”

      And that is a question with no chance of a clear answer.

  8. Very good, Roy! Funny how working at your pleasure changes everything…now that i work from my computer full-time, where do I go to enjoy my reading and writing? Here, for one! You know where another is…FB! Thanks!

    And still wish I was in Cali so you could be MY trainer!

  9. My grandfather was a pretty good man. He also had a lot of pride. He never wanted to let anyone think he was anything less, so he had this habit of saying, “I know” whenever someone tried to tell him something. Because of this, he didn’t know nearly as much as he could have.

  10. Great blog starting from the top with the Ali quote. I was thinking about the same topic recently when I moved all my badminton trophies from my office to the laundry room yet on the flip side recently shed 10 pounds and feel better on and off the court.

    Very proud of you and your writing Roy; keep up the good work and pencil me in for an autographed copy when your first book comes out!


  11. Roy

    At 67 I’ve come to realize that sometime “good, is good enough”, or “just OK is good enough”. But no way am I putting my picture on a post, which means maybe “good is not good enough”. Holly shit I must not know what I’m talking about. But what I do know is what feels good and healthy and that’s regular physical exercise and physical challenges. It makes me feel good and more alive.

    Billy the Kid

  12. OK, I can’t leave this post alone. I know why we do what we do and it’s all in that song “As time goes by”. If you Google that song and listen to Frankie boy sing it on U-tube you will hear why we humans pick up these weights, run around the block, stand up real straight at the grocery store, and maybe even laugh at ourselves. It’s all about a “fight for love and glory, a case of due or die”.

    Billy the Kid

    PS That’s it I’m going to bed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s