When I made the decision to begin exercising earlier this year, it was out of a grudging realization that I needed to for my health. Never have I worked out consistently (except for that brief stint in eleventh grade), and never had I been even remotely athletic. Memories of that fated kickball game (where everyone was shouting my name as I stepped up to the plate and then missed the ball) haunted me. How could I even like the idea of exercising when I was convinced I would fail?
I also didn’t like the implication that my body needed work. Yet, the evidence that it DID need work became insurmountable over the months that I gradually became more health conscious. Looking over the laws of health, I knew exactly where I was lacking. Yoga was great, but no matter how hard I tried to justify it, I knew it just wasn’t meeting my fitness needs. I decided that I’d go to the gym five days a week, muscle my way through some god-awful exercise routines, and hopefully I’d begin to see some progress.
So I did just that. I ran some, lifted some, sweat some, all the while telling myself through gritted teeth that it was worth it. There’s something about those 5:30 a.m. treadmill runs that brings out the gritting teeth and self-affirmations.
Then something strange happened – I began to love it.
It started with a small measure of enjoyment. After a hard workout I would walk towards the locker room and look back over my shoulder at the large gym full of machines and dumbbells and think, “I want to do more.” In fact, the only thing stopping me was that I simply didn’t have the time. I liked that feeling. It made me feel more vibrant and health savvy then even drinking a veggie smoothie before heading off to yoga did!
Then my hubby and I evaluated our goals and decided to hire a personal trainer for six months. As we began the fitness program in March I discovered that working out together with my best friend was fun! Who knew? We race, encourage each other, and point out growth and accomplishments. And it is fun. Even when we’re both too sore to drive the Honda (stick-shift) home.
Now I know what it’s like to sweat and love it, to feel sore and relish it. I walk a little taller knowing that I’m actually doing my best. Half-assing it (pardon my French) just doesn’t bring that same sense of fulfillment.
And for the first time in my life I feel strong. Progress is slow, even painstaking. Sometimes I second guess myself and feel like a failure because the results take more time than I have the patience for. But I came to a realization this morning as I stared at the mirror and saw the small successes. It is good that the progress is painstaking. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Because when I wake up at five in the morning to put together nutritious lunches, blend up vegetable and fruit smoothies, and then do a cardio and core workout, I am preparing myself to become that person I want to be. When it feels like my entire day is spent taking care of my small household, and even the very last moments before bed are put into preparing salads for the morning, I am learning to work towards a goal and set myself up for success. These are life skills, not simply health motions. Some quick-fix fat loss wouldn’t take me there. I have to take me there. And through the painstaking diligence every single day, I will grow. I don’t want a merely beautiful body. I want to be a healthy, persevering, disciplined person. And I will be. And it will be glorious.