Young adult takes a mirror selfie at the gym

Becoming Your Own Champion

Last updated: July 2022

I’ve found myself saying this a few times in recent weeks and so I figured it warranted writing about. “Don’t compare yourself or your progress to anyone but yourself a month ago”.

The power of exercise

My son and I recently got back into going to the gym together. I was pretty active in the gym prior to Covid closing the gym for a while and I just never returned. There were workouts a bit here and there at home, but I’d lost my drive. All my life it’s been drilled into me that exercise is important in managing my CF. Yet, once the stamina was lost it became really difficult. I seemed to find it again last year just working out at home. I’d walk two miles in my house and lift some weights and even bought a sit up bench. I was back on track!

Then life got in the way

Then my life drastically changed, and I was suddenly working longer shifts at work and struggling just to keep up with my regular health care routine and the care of my two teenage sons. My exercise routine got pushed to the back burner. It got worse before it got better. I found myself hit with overtime and trying to balance a second job- my own small business. My kids were struggling emotionally, and I was emotionally exhausted. My PFT’s took a significant decline.

A change in circumstance

After a tough moment having to do with my youngest son's health and a seasonal slowing down of business at my job- I was given leave for a few weeks. My health got a bit better (partially due to more time for treatments) and I managed to share a lot more moments with my kids. After a discussion with their dad and his offering of extra help we both agreed it was best for both the kids and I to go with a career change.

The career change left me happier and more available for my kids. It also freed up more time for my health. So, my son and I recently started back at the gym. this came with a brutal realization; seeing how much progress I’d lost. However, I was still proud of myself for taking the intuitive to start up again. I was easy on myself too (something I’ve only recently learned how to be), knowing it would take time to build myself up again. The important thing to remember was I had taken the steps necessary to improve myself. That’s half the battle!

Be your own inspiration

My son today commented that all the men at the gym today were in better shape than he was. So, I pulled out the same thing I’d reminded myself and another friend weeks before. “Don’t compare yourself to others. These men and women have probably been here for months or years. They may not have the same barriers you do. Compare yourself to the you a month ago. You’ve started eating better. You’ve shown up at the gym consistently. You’re improving yourself”.

It’s easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others, especially when you’re struggling with your health. However, if you start out with the mindset to work on only your own self-improvement, one step at a time- it’s a lot easier to see your own progress. So, I leave you with the advice I have to often remind myself. By you simply showing up and trying, you have already become a better version of yourself. Continue one step at a time. In time, you will become the example others strive to be and yet, I hope those others will come to realize that they are already their own inspiration.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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