True Confession: I Kinda Hate Working Out.
Every now and then, we wake up in our deliciously comfortable bed, and my husband looks at me with that look in his eye. I fear this look, because I know what’s coming. “You know what would be awesome today?” he asks. And I think, “an all day Will Ferrell movie marathon interrupted only for food and sex. All in bed, this bed, right here.” I don’t say it outloud though, because I know his answer is “working out doing crazy shit that no sane person would do, much less enjoy.” Only with different words, that’s just what it sounds like to me when he says it.
My daughter is the same way. I’m surrounded by it.
But, if we’re being honest, I’m totally not that way. At all. Unless I’m really angry, I pretty much never feel like working out. It’s my drug of choice when I’m really angry, other than that, I can usually think of a million things, shy of the dentist, that I’d rather be doing.
That said, I do it. 5 times a week. Whether I want to or not. And I have never, ever, regretted it. After the fact.
It’s just before the fact. I can’t seem to remember that I love the way I feel afterwards.
I got to the gym to work out today. It’s fun, for me, when I get to work out with the people who I am so often coaching. (I love coaching, I’m never sour on coaching.) But, today, one of them said something that really made me feel good. She told me that it really helped her when I told her that I was naturally sloth-like and didn’t like working out.
I’ve always thought that one of my Ninja skills as a trainer was my blatant honesty. I don’t hide the roll of fat that jiggles on my belly when I do burpees. I don’t hide the fact that some things – hello, burpees – just fucking suck. And I don’t pretend that I live and breath this burning desire to always do and be my best. I don’t. Sometimes I phone that shit in, just like everyone else. I can assure you that when I’ve had a draining day, I don’t want to go to the gym, I want a fucking drink. When I wake up on a rainy morning, I don’t want to go to the gym, I want to stay in bed. Hell, even on a sunny morning, I usually want to stay in bed, because I have infinite faith that there will be another sunny day.
But, I do work out. Most of the time. Not as much as I intend to, or think I “should.” But I have never, ever, regretted working out. As soon as my heart starts pumping, and I approach “the zone,” I’m glad I’m there. The real payoff, however, happens afterwards.
When I’m working out regularly:
- I am less likely to eat food that I know makes me feel bloated and foggy and tired and icky.
- I sleep way better.
- I have more energy to do things that I know I enjoy doing – even if that’s just making it through a whole Will Ferrell movie without falling asleep.
- I am in a better mood and WAY more able to handle stress.
- I get sick less often.
- I feel better about myself.
When I’m working out regularly, life is just easier. There is science to back up my general sense of well-being that accompanies regular workouts. Many studies have shown that regular exercise increases the antibodies that fight off illness, lower the cortisol levels that indicate heightened anxiety and stress, and balance out a variety of hormones that lead to overall health and happiness.
But damn, it’s hard to get started. Especially when your bed is really comfy, and Elf is on. If you’ve let it slip for any length of time, getting back in is like pushing a stalled car, up a hill, hoping to get it started with nothing but swearing and wishes. Even for me, 4 days is like eternal inertia.
Fortunately – or unfortunately – I have that husband and daughter who wake up filled with the vim and vigor to go do this. And if I want to spend time with them, sometimes that means going to the gym. And after 2 or 3 workouts, I’m jump-started and back in the groove.
But what if you don’t have those? Find some. They don’t have to be spouses or offsprings, but find people who you want to see and who will get you out there, using your body. And who aren’t full of that overly aggressive fitspo dogma that’s all like “woo woo this is so fantastic to be alive and sweating and can’t you just feel the magic of your soul igniting with potential” garbage. When you feel like shit, that stuff just doesn’t help. It’s like a giant neon sign saying “I told you that you aren’t made of the right stuff to be like me.”
Nope. Let me tell you, I’ve dedicated my entire life to both fitness and inspiring other people to get fit. And I will be the first one to tell you that 8 times out of 10, I’d rather not work out. I hear ya. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re perfectly normal, and you can do it.
But I also promise you, with everything that I have and everything that I am, you will feel better if you do. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bike ride or a long night of dancing, or yoga, or ice-skating, swimming, Zumba, P90X, kick boxing….. Whatever. Find something that you enjoy doing and people you enjoy doing it with. Sweat, get your heart rate up, exhaust yourself, use your muscles enough that you’re sore in places you didn’t know you had.
And your entire life will feel better. I don’t know, or care, what you’ll look like. But I know that you will feel better.
And Elf will be on again soon. It’s always on.
Go turn yourself on for a while.
In case you didn’t know, my husband and I own a CrossFit gym in Seattle. We spend our lives trying to create empowered community around fitness. And we mean it. Even when I don’t want to work out.