Back to Fitness: 50% or Nothing?

There are a few activity speed bumps in our world right now. The obvious one is COVID-19.  Although there is a bit of a handle on it, this pandemic still exists.  But “Lockdown” did happen.  We sat a bit more, ate a bit more, and some of us drank a bit more.  All things that take a toll on the body.  Then, there’s age.  The last three years felt like a slow crawl through a strange place, and now that 2023 is here it feels like a blink.  In that blink, we all got three years older, another thing that changes the body a bit.  Lastly, the holidays happened, snow fell, and even when the sun shows itself, it’s not in our sky for very long.  Which is to say that sleep, movies, warm blankets on the couch, and heavy red wine might sound better for some of us than a run around the lake.  All of this brings me to one thought.

“I don’t have it in me today.”

I am as guilty as anyone for having said this to myself or to another, to be excused from doing the hard thing in exchange for doing the not-so-hard thing.  As a healthy person, it is easy to say that taking today off is okay…until that procrastination leads to a bigger problem.  The bigger problem can range from more weight than you meant have put on, to something medical. Either way movement and focus is your way to improve.

What I’d like to talk about is: what does this statement mean?  “I don’t have anything in me today”? “I don’t have 100% in me”? Or maybe “If I don’t have 100%, then why try?” In a previous posting about Compartmentalizing Your Workouts I made noted that my body would be different right now if I had rowed for even 10 minutes a day consistently during isolation.  As I cannot change the fact that I chose to prioritize other things over exercise during that time, I can change it now.  The two most important things to consider when getting back to fitness are finding what motivates you and why?  The WHY is your goal setting. “What am I trying to achieve when I get up 20 minutes early to do something before work?” “Is my end game worthy of me committing time after work to exercise before I watch my show?”  While WHAT MOTIVATES YOU, is how you’re going to get there.  “Is getting up 20 minutes early going to fit my personality and lifestyle, or would committing time after work be more realistic and therefore more likely a thing I’ll keep doing to earn time to watch my show?”  These are only two ideas, and both can be right or wrong, it all depends on you. 

When I started writing this I was happily wrapped up in warm clothes, at my desk next to a heater.  Changing out of a sweater and into workout clothes was not the most appealing thought.  But, for me, the act of changing is a thing that motivates me.  Putting on workout clothes is my mental redirecting, be it a swimsuit or running clothes.  The sooner I get to it, the sooner I’ll warm up and I know that I will always warm up (red face and sweat are guaranteed).  The next question for me is why do it?  I do miss the section of my wardrobe that does not currently fit; I’ll not pretend otherwise.  More than that, I miss having the energy.  I miss coming up to a steep hill on a walkabout and having the urge to wait for my husband at the top after I’ve trotted up it, rather than considering a way around.

To put this into perspective, I would say that trotting the hill would be 100%, skipping the hill would be 25% (I would still be walking myself home) and getting a bus would be nothing.  The other option would be to take my time going up the hill, that would be my 50%.  There are different ways to measure your output with a variety of accuracies in each approach.  When getting back to fitness I recommend not over-thinking it.  Listen to yourself… when you get to that level of exertion that feels like peak, remember it and push yourself a little more next time.  More than anything, move your bits.  I will be repetitious with this one, “Talk yourself into it rather than out.”  Don’t compare your ability or fitness level to others unless it inspires you.  Negativity and guilt should not be associated with this endeavor, wherever you start at focus on starting and celebrate each improvement.  Working out is work but it can also be fun.  It’s a new year, if you don’t have 100% in you today, give it 50%, do it for you.