As I previously mentioned, my goal is to just make it a habit of GOING to the gym every night (I'm starting out slow, with 3 nights a week...but I eventually want to make it up to 5+...btw…haven’t decided yet what to do about weekends since various plans make weekends hard to stick to a set “appointment”) at around 7:30. DVR is set, shoes are ready by the door, water bottle is full of icy cold goodness…and it’s off to the races!
So…step one of getting out the door and dragging my butt TO the gym is in progress. What about step two, though? What do I do when I actually GET to the gym?
Assuming we’re talking about a night where I DON’T sit on my behind in the lobby and actually opt to DO something…I’ve given this a lot of thought. In the past, I’ve always had this mind-set that I have to work out very intensely for a very lengthy period of time in order to see any results. This is probably true to some extent. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t push your body, you’re kind of cheating yourself. I do NOT see how a person can get their backside in shape without breaking a sweat. But that’s a post for another day. The point of TODAY’S post is that I’ve had an epiphany.
The problem with pushing one’s self like a crazy berserker is burn out. Every time—EVERY TIME—I’ve vowed to get off my patootie and get into shape, I’ve attacked the exercise portion of things like a rabid dog. Gazillions of laps around the track. Hours on the boring-as-hell elliptical machine. Gallons and gallons of sweat lost. Pretty soon the self righteous pride I feel for pushing myself so hard turns into this icky dread of having to torture my body like that during the next workout. You see, the teeny tiny bit of progress (aka stepping on the scale buck naked, with an empty bladder, AFTER I’ve spent three hours sweating like a pig at Ribfest) I see between rabid dog phase and burn out phase is NOT enough to keep the momentum going. The fact that I’ve gone all sadistic on my body and cannot INSTANTLY get fit pisses me off and I get frustrated and run to the nearest available store that carries Crunchy Cheetos.
So, I’m trying something different this time around as far as exercise routines go. As much as it feels WRONG to do this, I’ve told myself that it’s OK to go to the gym and only “torture” my body for a half hour. Right now the focus need not be on getting insta-skinny but on building a habit of consistently working out. We’ve all heard this truth millions and millions of times—that we need to start off slow and build a habit that we can sustain for life in order to beat the battle of the bulge. I’ve always thought that was nonsense.
But the thing is, what I HAVE been doing (rabid dog) hasn’t worked for me. So I’m going to start slow. This week it’s going to be 30 minutes. Next week it’s going to be 31 minutes. The week after that it’s going to be 32 minutes. And so on and so forth. If I do 31 minutes on the torturous elliptical machine and STILL feel like doing something else (like walking)…I can. No problem. But I don’t HAVE to. ALL I HAVE to do right now is be consistent with going to the gym. All I HAVE to do when I choose to work out is 30 or 31 or 32 etc. minutes. Everything else is optional at this point.
The goal is to work myself up to an hour a day. (Eventually I’d like to start lifting weights too, but I’m going to let that be a little ways down the road for now.) At an hour a day of consistent exercise, with consistent good eating habits, I will be rocking the weight loss. And I’ll get there. It’s hard for me to not rush ahead and try to be “there” right now…but I just keep reminding myself of what HASN’T worked in the past. And I’m reminding myself that the ultimate goal is to make this whole thing a habit, a lifestyle change. Pin up girls take care of their bodies on a consistent basis. And while it seems insane to be going too “easy” on myself, I need to remember that ANY sort of consistent exercise is WAY more than I HAVE been doing…and it IS going to benefit me and my body in great ways!