Last week, I had the pleasure of receiving my Bosu Complete Workout Certification from Lucy Waite in Dallas. The class was fabulous (and inspired lots of new moves, as many of you have already gotten to experience at the Tiny Fitness studio), but my very favorite part of the day was Lucy herself. Her love for helping people through fitness was so powerfully evident in everything she did and said, and I’m still thinking about one of the stories she told us about a client. I hope she won’t mind if I paraphrase it here so that you can all enjoy it, too!
The elevator doors opened and, to Lucy’s surprise, there stood her next client – instead of climbing the single flight of stairs to the workout area, this client had taken the elevator. The client stood next to others with walkers, air casts, and other evidence of injuries and loss of strength.
Lucy asked this client if they were injured, but they weren’t. Then she said:
Look around you at the others on this elevator. They all need to be here – they’re injured, or they’re not strong enough to climb the stairs right now. But you are strong enough! If you keep taking the elevator when you don’t need to, you will soon find that you do need to, because you will lose your strength if you don’t use it.
You will lose your strength if you don’t use it.
That’s a basic commentary on the human body: if you don’t use your muscles, they won’t stay strong because they won’t need to be strong. We use that principle in order to get stronger: we challenge our muscles, and like magic they rise to the occasion and develop more strength and power. If you don’t keep climbing stairs, you will one day find that they are much harder to climb than they were when you used to have to climb a flight or two regularly.
But it’s also another invitation for growth: when do you mentally take the elevator when you are perfectly capable of taking the stairs?
When do you cut your workout short when you are capable of finishing it?
When do you make food choices that aren’t the best for you when the best options are right in front of you?
When do you choose habits that take you away from your goals when you know your goals are within reach?
No one is “perfect”. Everyone has days when you haven’t gotten enough sleep, when you’ve been ill, or when true emergencies interrupt your plans. Everyone needs the elevator sometimes.
But are you taking that elevator when you’d be just as fine on the stairs?
Because if you don’t use your strength, you will lose it.