So, in all of this training I'm doing, I have one or two strength workouts a week. Some are really hard, some are less hard. All of them are hard.
When everything is hard, motivation tends to be an issue for me. Worse, I start to build up these workouts into "OMG how hard these are these going to be? HARD! I don't want to do this, ugh, so hard."
As if working out, building muscle, becoming stronger is a straight line being better every time.
That's not how bodies work. Some days will be good. Some days will be less good. Eh, that infers judgement. Some days I'll be stronger than the previous workout. Some days I'll be the same. Some days I'll be less strong. That's the way of bodies. It is fine.
Making a big deal about how hard a workout is or how I'm not always improving, however, is not fine.
While hefting myself up to the chinup bar tonight, I had the thought, "This doesn't have to be a thing," a riff on Marcus Aurelias's "You don’t have to turn this into something." And I burst out laughing.
It really doesn't. I can do the workout, and while this one might not be better than the last one, the general trend is up. I might not be be stronger today, but I will be stronger next week, next month, by Vinson.
And that's what matters.
So, I was looking at a health website, and came across a post on "5 Tips for Exercise Motivation." Exercise that isn't group exercise (read: ultimate frisbee) is difficult for me to stick with. Which isn't to say I don't move a lot, I do, but that's because not moving hurts, not because I'm motivated to move more. So, exercise motivation? Sure, I'll give it a read.
So, I read them. The tips are/were:
Find a support system
Make a commitment
Celebrate the small successes
Select comfortable workout clothes
Let me tell you, that last one is spot off. If you want to motivate for exercise, putting any barrier in place will be demotivating. "I can't go for a run unless I have these clothes on!" No, you can go for a run with only running shoes, underwear, and a sports bra. Everything else is bonus. You might not feel comfortable running in these clothes, but you'll be running, which is the point of motivation: the doing of the thing. If you want to have a stronger core, drop down into a plank and hold it. You don't need to change out of the dress clothes you're in, just drop into plank position, and go. Want to do 120 pushups today? Drop into that plank and have at it. Chin ups? Pull ups? Walk by that bar on the way back from the bathroom, and up you go.
Point is, the more barriers you put up, the harder motivation has to work. Better to make exercise easy.
"You like your tea cold."
"No, I like my tea hot, I tolerate it cold."
Hearing other person's perceptions of you is often very interesting.
I took a Covid test today. I have a runny nose, likely from the change in weather and a change in my exercise level, but a runny nose is a runny nose, and that means taking a test in the Era of Covid. Based on recommendations from various experts, I followed the Chilean process of swabbing the throat first. I did not follow up with swabbing my nose, but I'll try that next time.
And "Well, that's an interesting ..."
I had seen the result, took the picture of it, and had turned away. In true Kitt Style™, I became distracted by words as I was reading the results, and hadn't realized I was speaking out loud.
"WHAT? WHAT? WHAT IS THE RESULT?" "What was it?" "What happened?"
"Oh, sorry, negative."
I was having a conversation with R--- today, about boundaries, about loss, about grief. The conversation wandered through various levels of discomfort before I admitted I didn't want to do something because it made me feel uncomfortable.
"Well, get comfortable with being uncomfortable."
And there it was. The key. To boundaries. To honesty. To growth. To life.
Accepting the uncomfortable, sitting with it, letting it exist. Don't avoid it, don't run away with it, be with it. Become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
I appreciated the comment so much that I added it as a bingo square for this year.
I often wonder, when I look back on this site, what others are going to think about it.
Sure, I write as if I'm talking to someone in particular, but I write for me.
Yet, if I have, say, someone working for me, or someone I'm mentoring, or someone investing in me, and they see me as human, that I've struggled, that I've succeeded, that I've failed, that I've learned, will they think less of me because they know my flaws along with the story I project? I've had a couple people recently actually say the words, "You seem so strong, but you're struggling, too," to my face, and I'm puzzled with the why of the first part, and the why I wouldn't be with the second part. I write things here that are true at the time, and reread them days, weeks, months, years later and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I wrote it. I grow. I regress. I consider. I reconsider. I change my mind. The whole process is part of being human.
And yet, I still wonder. I wonder if I'm going to have regrets for posting something, if that something is going to be offensive to someone though I said the something in an innocent way. Good lord is that moment going to suck. Good lord has that moment sucked.
Living without regrets seems like a great way to live, but I do not believe that one can truly make the absolute best choice every time. A local maximum good choice every time, sure; the best choice one could make given the information they had at the time, yes; the absolute best choice very time, no.
So, my plan for this year, when I wonder if I'm making the right decision, when I wonder if being fully open and honest with people is the right choice, is to remember, this is who I am, strengths and flaws and all, and to remember what I thought when I joined the guys for a topless photo-shoot on Union Glacier this past December, "I was wondering if I'm going to look back on this and regret it when I'm older, and then I remember, I'm already older, and I don't regret it."
Come on, 2022, let's do this.