As I was eating my lunch last week, I came across this little guy at my feet.

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a live snail doing its thing.  I’ve seen the abandoned shells and admired their colours but never before have I actually spent time watching them move. They truly are slow movers.

I took several photos of my new friend but he was in the shade, on black pavement, so it was a challenge to capture his total beauty!  People driving by must have thought I had lost it, as I crouched down low with my cell phone pointed at the ground. Some city workers passed me laughing. My behaviour seemed strange because from their point of view there was nothing near me that was worthy of a picture. I appeared to be doing nothing.

It appeared to me that this little guy was doing nothing as well but as I studied him for 20 minutes, he had a clear mission in mind and it involved some vegetation. He was on his way to a piece of broken branch even though he appeared to be standing still. He was moving, very slowly. He was making real progress but you had you to watch closely to see it.

My message today is about just that.  At times, we are evolving so slowly that it appears we are not making any progress. 

In fitness, we want “that body” right now and it’s hard to wait for the results to manifest in our appearance. Some people give up on their training for this very reason. They expect to see perfection after a week in the gym but it really is about slow, healthy changes. Fast, drastic weight loss that does not include lifelong changes to your
eating patterns and exercise regime will result in the weight coming
back on.

Losing weight is only one of the ways in which we measure success at the gym but it is the one that gets the most attention. There are other awesome changes that happen deep inside your body that are making you healthier. You cannot see them but every time you get yourself to the gym and lift some weights or do that yoga or aerobics class you are progressing.

There are changes happening in your nervous system that optimize control of the muscles involved in exercise. This can be seen in your reflex responses. You are probably able to process information faster and get moving quicker.

If you are strength training than your muscles are growing.  I am always letting my ladies know that they do not need to worry about looking like a body builder in my classes, we are simply trying to keep their muscles strong and flexible so that we can keep doing the activities that we love. Our muscles are not necessarily bigger but they are defined. I am sure that my clients see huge changes in their ability to complete daily tasks. They tell me all of the time that their doctor’s are very impressed with their muscles!

Your hearts are changing as well with regular exercise. The wall of the heart and ventricular cavity size can increase. Your resting blood pressure will improve. Your good cholesterol number will hopefully increase and the bad number will hopefully go down.

Your bones density will improve with regular strength training which is so important for all of us as we age.

We cannot see these physiological adaptations to our bodies but like our friend the snail, we are progressing on our road to better health, slowly.

Please stop comparing yourself to pictures of perfect bodies in magazines. Stop trying to be some else’s idea of “the perfect human being.”

I am sure that if you are working out regularly and eating well, that you have improved your health in ways that you cannot see on the outside. 

Slow and steady wins the race every single time.

Have a great day everyone.