“It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.” ~Anonymous
A couple weeks ago I was chatting with my friend, Edie, via the Hey Tell app. We were discussing exercise. She was telling me how much she hates it and how she wishes she enjoyed it like I do.
“Ummmm, Edie? I don’t know how to break this to you, but I hate to exercise.”
“What do you mean you hate it? You work out like all the time.”
“Well, it’s not all the time,” I admitted….(although it certainly feels like all the time). “But, when I do exercise, I can guarantee you I’m not enjoying it.”
“Really? Because you’re always doing those events. You climb the stairs at Red Rocks and do the 150-mile ride. You did that MS walk a couple years back. Last year you did the Warrior Dash.”
“Oh. I like doing events. I just don’t like training to do events. The training takes too long and the events are over far too quickly.”
“Huh. I always just assumed you like it.”
“I’m on my trainer right now and I can assure you that I am not finding this enjoyable at all. I do like the way I feel afterward, though, and that is usually what gets me through it. Well, that and television.”
“I guess that makes me feel better,” Edie said. “At least now I don’t feel like some folks enjoy it and it’s just me that doesn’t.”
“Edie, I’m sure some folks do enjoy it. I’m just not one of them.”
If Edie needed proof of my assertions, she’d need only ask Steve. Steve could tell her that any time we do a training ride together I complain. I whine as I’m getting dressed before we even get on our bikes. For the first ten minutes we’re riding I will make flippant remarks like, “Wow! This is such fun!” If we’re climbing stairs at Red Rocks, in between panting, I will be bitching about how much it sucks. On the second morning of the Colorado MS150 as we’re beginning the climb up Horsetooth Reservoir and we’re tackling the 9% grade on sore hineys from the previous day’s 75 miles, I’m swearing like a sailor who just hit her head on a steel beam below deck.
But, oh…the satisfaction I get when I fit into my clothes and there is no muffin top, the joy I get when I’m savoring every bite of ice cream after eating pizza for dinner without caloric panic, and the euphoria that exists when I roll under the 75-mile banner for the day….those moments more than trump the amount of hatred I have for exercise. Exercise is the means to an end. I truly dislike dripping sweat as I balance on one leg, twisted like a pretzel in Eagle pose in hot yoga. But, when I put on that dress that hits four inches above my forty-something year old knees and I notice that my legs look pretty darn good, it’s so worth it. It balances out.
So to all you folks who are just sitting around waiting for the “urge” to exercise to hit you this spring, may I politely and respectfully say…”GET OFF THE COUCH ALREADY!” There are a few crazy souls who wake up and can’t wait to get their butts handed to them in an hour-long boot camp. Most of us will never relish exercise quite they way they do. Stop waiting for the urge to exercise to hit you. Put one foot in front of the other and get out on the trail. Or squeeze into those bike shorts and hop into that bike. Dislike of exercise doesn’t make you unique. But, taking the initiative to override your distaste for exercise and pushing yourself to be better does. What are you telling yourself that you can’t do? Tell yourself to shut up, then go out do what you never thought you could.