Feel the Burn

The hardest part of working out is getting started.  Usually, it’s finding the energy and resolve to get your butt to the gym and stick to a routine.  Sometimes it’s the self-induced pressure of finding just the right workout clothes to look good while sweating.  Today, it was getting past the visual distractions.  I have concluded the four letters at the YMCA need to be changed to M-I-L-F.  I mean, really!!  How is a guy supposed to get a workout in with so much lycra walking around?

But in all seriousness, the effort in working out is not the 30 minutes on the Precor or a couple of miles on the treadmill.  The biggest challenge is telling yourself to do it in the first place.  And it’s not an easy thing to do.  We hide behind excuses like time and to-do lists.  We tell ourselves that we deserve a break after a long day at work.  We find comfort in a sofa, a remote control and a box of double-stuff Oreos.

There are a million reasons we don’t work out, but there is only one reason we should.  That reason is ourselves.  Sure there are benefits to working out.  Health, looking and feeling good. Losing weight.  Those are all bonuses.  But the number one reason we should all pickup some sort of exercise regiment and stick to it is ourselves.  Our sense of worth and well being.  We should do it not because other people ask us or expect us to, but rather because it’s the right thing to do for ourselves as individuals.

And there are different strokes for different folks.  I am not saying every one has to run out and sign up at Lifestyles or Gold’s gym.  Walk your dog for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night.  Do sit-ups while you watch TV.  The key is to do something.  The key is to change your state of mind and make a difference in your life for yourself.

As I hit the 17 minute mark on the Precor – and subsequently cried on the inside because I knew I had another 13 minutes to go – I got to thinking about a conversation I had today with my friend Sue.  We talked about how we both overcame personal and emotional adversity to get to the place in life where we both are now, and how the pains of yesterday keep fading further and further into the past.  We laughed at how our respective outlooks where both the same, and neither one of us thought we’d see proverbial sunshine again.

I am happy to say that we have both triumphed over the weights that once held us down, and there are several things in common at which we both point that allowed us to get to where we are today.  The first is faith.  With God, anything is possible.  The next is our friends.  In addition to ourselves, Sue and I share several friends in common, and individually we have those people in our lives to whom we turn when we’re feeling weak and vulnerable.  Further proof that no one in this world can truly live ‘alone’.

Finally, we both agreed that making a mental decision to let go of the pain and the past and accept the circumstances of our respective situations was the trifecta to being truly free.  It’s no different than making that decision to get up and work out.  It’s all about choice.  It’s all about what you allow yourself to think in your head.  And I know that if I can overcome what I thought was the worst moment in my life, working out is going to be a walk in the park!

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