For most of my life, and certainly my entire adult life, I’ve been an avid athlete. I’ve run three half-marathons, run my share of relays, done Bikram yoga (Slip a disc you say? Why yes, yes I did.), walked, swam, done aerobics and spinning, p90x and a host of other things I don’t care to remember just now.
I don’t care to list them just now probably because I am doing something I’ve never done before.
My workout includes… nothing.
The beginning of the “end” if you will, began after my last half marathon, the Hippie Chick. They have cool swag.
I was worn out from training and I began an unorthodox workout that involved heavy breathing mostly. No, not that kind of heavy breathing. After several months of it and not feeling like I was going anywhere, I stopped.
Since that time last May I’ve done things from time to time; a few treadmill jaunts, a run here and there and a handful of “7 Minute Workouts”, but not the 5 or 6 day a week workout I’m accustomed to.
There’s no real way to put my finger on how exactly I feel about this. I’ve worked out regularly for so many years that at the very least it feels odd. It’s not guilt I feel. It’s not anxiety and it’s not even a longing for the workout.
At this point I will admit that not working out is currently a conscious decision.
For most of the last 28 years my workouts have had one underlying theme: Fear. I worked out because I was afraid I’d be fat. I worked out because I was afraid I was lazy. I didn’t want to be lazy. I didn’t want to be fat. I worked out because I feared I would be in some situation where I didn’t have the physical fitness required.
You know, like a zombie apocalypse. What’s the first rule of Zombieland? Cardio.
What I am doing now, well, what I am not doing now is a conscious decision to listen to my body. This is perhaps the most challenging workout I’ve ever practiced.
On one particular day, maybe ten years ago, when I was working with a personal trainer, I ran five miles, did 90 minutes of hot yoga and I gave blood. While that particular day was never, ever again repeated, the underlying theme of it has been with me throughout my exercise career.
“It’s never enough. You’re never enough. Run faster, jump higher and maybe someday your body will look like the cover of a magazine. And you will be worthy.
Love, Not Your Friend,
I suspect my current non-workout workout will not continue much longer. What I am doing is listening to my body. For the first time, perhaps in my whole life, I didn’t eat pie on Thanksgiving because it didn’t sound good. That saved me more calories than a 4 mile walk.
When I meditate in the morning, I scan my body and I feel how that feels. It’s like yoga for my mind and it’s not as easy as you’d think. As soon as I feel like I have a good handle on this, I think I’ll add in something more than the occasional yoga pose or 7 minute workout.
What I won’t do, hopefully ever again, is work out in fear and loathing. At the end of the day it’s our intentions that make or break us and fear was never and will never be the power that gets us where we want to go.
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