Monday, November 11, 2013

Train Like a Pokemon

Some people are Charmanders. They naturally evolve through their health journey as they go. The gravitate towards eating right from a young age. They get into sports early and continue to live actively. Genetics favors them with fast metabolisms and high dexterity scores. It's not to say they don't have to train in order to stay fit and eat well to keep weight off, but their evolution is a natural result of moving through life's experiences. I'm definitely not one of these people. 

Other Pokemon are harder to evolve, just like people. It takes a special combination of elements before we can morph and strengthen into the best version of ourselves.

For instance, when evolving Inkay, the players has to hold the controller upside down when he levels. This makes me think of my own journey. Simply being healthier wasn't enough motivation for me to commit to an overhaul of my eating and activity habits. For me, I had to work from the inside out. I found motivation in how mentally damaging allowing myself to continue living life on the sidelines was becoming. I found inspiration within the characters I love and my ability to portray them at fan conventions. I found Paleo and discovered a love of running and bodyweight circuits. All of the benefits I've created for myself came from a change in mentality more than a simple physical overhaul. 

Then there are those, for whom one evolution is never enough. Take Evee, for example. In her base evolution, she's pretty simple (AND ADORABLE!), but she's a jack of all trades when it comes to evolution. She could grow up to be a fairy, flame, electric, brass, water, ice, psychic or dark type Pokemon depending on how she trains. Some people are lucky to be blessed with this kind of body- one that gives them a lot of different options as far as physical activities and hobbies. They're injury free and naturally take on any physical challenge from rock climbing to marathons. Switching between methods of training is as easy for them as changing the channel. However, we can all take one lesson from Evee. Don't settle for just one routine workout. It's self limiting! You could have tons of other strengths hidden inside you. Even if you find that all these evolutions aren't your favorite, you'll never get bored. Keep trying new things. Run a Tough Mudder, try a dance class, or ask a person trainer at your gym to get you set up in the weight section. Don't settle for one evolution. You might find out you have a lot more potential! 

It's important to remember that while women and men seem to evolve differently, it's purely cosmetic. Similarly, there's no difference between a male and female Pyroar aside from how they look. Sure, male and female metabolisms are different and how our bodies are put together creates separate challenges for us, but on the whole we can work on any physical task that the opposite sex can perform. Women lift heavy just like men. Men let their hair down and take Zumba classes. We might look different, but we can use the same skills and we can take up the same challenges. Sure, each gender has it's own set of physical boons and limitations, but generally, we are all capable of the same challenges. Just because the crossfit gym is full of dudes, don't let that keep you from signing up for a free class ladies. And gentleman, if that ballroom dancing studio you pass by on your way home from work seems like fun, just go for it!

There are also folks who are just waiting for the right person to come into their life to inspire or motivate them. I was lucky enough to have a few friends whose journeys made my challenge seem possible and that really helped me kick in the door when it came to simply getting started. However, it can also be useful to surround yourself with other people who are continually focused on their own self improvement. For example, Karrablast and Shelmet need each other to evolve. They have to be traded between Pokemon trainers and as they are, they gain attributes from the other so that they can strengthen and change. Karrablast, an uninspired bug gains Shelmet's armor and becomes a tanky knight called Escavalier while the snail part of Shellmet gains the freedom of losing his armor and becomes a dextrous and speedy ninja named Accelgor. The fact is that sometimes we aren't enough on our own. We need inspiration to feed our will to persevere through challenges. That's why I always encourage the Slayers to find their fellowship and take their health journey together. If you partner up, someone will always be there to motivate you when you stumble or to cheer you on when you need to commemorate your achievements. It's dangerous to go alone! 

Train like a Pokemon. If you're not evolving, then maybe it's time to try another method. Try something new at the gym, find a friend, or look inside yourself to discover what will truly motivate you to change what's outside. Get out there and evolve in your own unique, special way!

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