January 4, 2012

Workout Update & Reflections

And it's back to the pavement. I did 3 miles today, walked about half and jogged the other half. I was moving slowly but I was moving and that's more than can be said of the past several months of my life. Yay. As I was doing my workout, many exercise-related revelations I've had over the past couple of years kept swirling around in my mind. I thought I would list some of them here.

What happens in the gym doesn't necessarily stay in the gym.
The first time I tried to run a mile I was on a treadmill at the gym. I weighed about 210 lbs. I had been walking mostly and jogging a little bit for a month or so. For some reason, one night I just decided I would try to jog an entire mile. So I started. I got about half way done and I started sucking wind. I was hurting a lot. I distinctly remember reaching up to slow the machine down and something inside of me said, "Don't do it. This is what you always do when it gets hard. You quit. Don't quit." It dawned on me that if I could push through here on the treadmill and do it differently than ever before it might give me confidence to do that with making healthy food choices and everything else in life that I would normally quit. So I kept running. I finished the mile. I know that was a milestone in my weight loss journey because even now when I need to do something that is hard, I always think about that night and I know that I can do it. And I haven't quit yet;)

Usually workouts are uncomfortable.
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I don't think I ever really embraced this fact before I got serious about training. If a video or class hurt or made me get really out of breath I would quit doing it and say it was "too hard." This is also what I said about running. But really--that's the whole point of working out. Pushing your body to new levels of fitness. And pushing to new levels hurts. Seeing 500+ lb. people on the Biggest Loser running on treadmills was what really opened my eyes. I knew if they could do it then surely I could. Now I know that if there is not some discomfort involved (obviously I'm not talking about pulled muscles, etc.) then I'm probably not having an effective workout.

Thinking of each workout individually.
Sometimes it helps me to think of each workout as it's own unique entity. If I think about working out as an on-going thing it can seem daunting and overwhelming. But when I think in terms of one workout at a time, much like the "one day at a time" mentality, it helps. For instance, when exercise seems so horrible that I would rather gouge my eyes out, I do a 15 minute week. Because I can do anything for 15 minutes. But I do it everyday for a week. That is the trick. It helps get a routine going without the drudgery of horribly intense workouts.

Think of each workout as part of a whole.
Yes, this is the exact opposite of what I just said. Sometimes it's helpful to think individually and day to day, but other times I need to focus on the big picture. This was my mentality when I did the half marathon training last year. I knew that each run on it's own was a very important part of the whole training. There were many days that I could have easily chosen to skip a run, but by thinking of each one as a building block to my final destination it really motivated me to be consistent. If you are doing a training program such as Couch to 5K, 10K, half marathon training--I highly advise doing all of the training runs no matter how insignificant they seem. This is training you just as much mentally as it is physically, and that can be the toughest part! Which leads me to my next point...

I can reason with my body.
This was something I discovered one day when I was running 8 miles and I was on mile 7. Maybe this is something everyone knows and there are probably even books about it (way over my head I imagine) but I had never done this. What I did was try to separate my mind and my body. Weird, right? That's the only way I know how to describe it. It was like my body was physically hurting but I did not let my mind think about that. I would reason my way through the run. I would ask myself questions like, If you continue, will you die? or Will your knee actually burn up and fall off if you keep going or is that just how it feels? or  Will you be able to take another breath after this one? The answers would always direct me to the reality that this was not going to kill me but make me stronger. The fact is that this kind of physical pain while working out can not actually kill me but a lack of activity and the painless artery-clogging foods I love to eat can! I choose not to think about the pain and think about the rewards of healthy living. There were a few times while running when I seriously answered "yes, I think I will die" in which case I slowed way down and usually that did the trick. I know this may seem really weird, but someone give it a try and let me know...

There will always be an excuse.
Like death and taxes--there will always be excuses. The excuses for not working out seem to be most plentiful for me. There is always something more appealing, more pressing, more important for me to do when it comes time to workout (or so it seems). But I know that, for me personally, weight loss is impossible without exercise. It has to be a priority just like getting out of bed or brushing my teeth or taking my kids to school--if my goal is weight loss.

I never regret a workout.
That's it, I never regret a workout.


Betty said...

Your posts are so encouraging to me! Just reading them makes me want to get up and move around more!! Thanks so much for sharing and congrats on working out today!

Jamie said...

I love this entire post! It is a complete reflection of the things I have been thinking. Thanks for being such an encouragement to me! Good job on the workout by the way! :) 5 minutes and I am off to the gym! I also printed the 100 workout today, just not sure how long it will take me to do the whole 100. LOL

Molly said...

No regrets!!!

safire said...

I can totally relate! I always say that the hardest part of working out is putting on the clothes and starting..once I finish, I feel amazing!!

Happy New Year! Thanks for the motivation to kick start my year of healthy living.

Kyle Gershman said...

Awesome post, kindred spirit! I was thinking the exact same thing this morning doing some strength training and contemplated a blog along the same lines...working out can be (though not always) hard, uncomfortable, and consumed by mental gymnastics. And in the end, you do it because you need to...at least until you get more natural encouragement to want to do it.

Jane said...

Love that last point...so true! As tiring as working out may feel at the time, you always feel great when you finish!

Liz said...

I love, love, love this post! So many great points & good advice!

Sharlie said...

You are such an encouragement to me!! Love reading your blog!

Mary said...

I should get back into a CONSISTENT workout routine! hee thanks :) and happy new year!

Anonymous said...

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