(First published: Nov 14, 2007)
Training your way back to fitness and better head health is not as severe as many of you make it. You start small and reasonable and adjust your attitude as you go and before you know it, you’ll be the Queen or Stud of the Ball.
Well, you’ll feel MUCH better at the least!
I wrote the following in response to a post on my writing mentor’s blog. Ronda got disgusted real fast in her search for the elusive “exercise high”.
As exercise is primo important in your regaining mental and physical health, and because I stress the crap out of it to anyone who’d like to feel better for ANY reason, I decided to share my response with you guys.
Ha ha! Hi, Ronda!
I understand your predicament. The “high” cannot be achieved until you are at a more developed level of fitness. It’s an emergency chemical dump in your head based on survival.
As you enter a new realm of pain, you get “high” so you can continue. Your mind produces these chemicals to help you block out the pain.
Your body doesn’t know you’re in a gym. It only knows it’s having excessive demands placed on it. As far as it knows, you’re trying to outrun a bear and it’d be best if your legs could keep going regardless of agony!
If your life is not being threatened in some way according to your subconscious, then the high will not arrive. You’re still “safe”.
You literally have to be fit enough to push your body into a danger zone. Prior to reaching this level of fitness, it’s just pain, exhaustion, boredom and nausea.
But that’s only if you’re not enjoying yourself. The trick is to pick exercises or systems that truly match what it is that got you wanting to exercise in the first place.
Why do you think you need to exercise? Answer that question and a more suitable form of workout will appear to you.
The easiest way would be to go to a fitness center (not a gym like the kind I love – all pain and sweat and hollerin’) and ask the owner or find a trainer to answer your questions in this area. They want your business so they’ll be glad to help.
There are probably many things you’d enjoy doing but don’t know exist. Tell them what it is you’re trying to achieve and they should have an answer.
The other trick is to start very light, very easy. Don’t decide to complete a half hour of something when you already know in your heart you don’t really want to. You’ve lost before you’ve even walked through the door.
Pick something ridiculously easy that you KNOW you have it in you to finish and then do it. “Ten minutes on the treadmill and I’m out of here!” Like that. You can do ten minutes. Anyone can. But make that the entire goal.
Upon completion, call it a day. Remember to congratulate yourself for taking the necessary steps and sticking to your guns. You now have more integrity than you did ten minutes ago!
Now return the next day or day after and simply do eleven minutes. Tell yourself, “Only one more minute than last time. Child’s play.” Then repeat the process week after week.
Eat the elephant one bite at a time. You have to sort of schmooze yourself like you would a crappy employee of whom you were in charge.
But the ultimate underlying thing here is you have to believe that you really want to be more fit. And you have to understand and accept in your heart why this is so.
If you joined some sort of light workout class, you’d probably be surrounded by many who have the same ambitions as you. You’d feel comfortable and supported. Life struggles are always easier in a team setting.
Lifting weights can be tailored to suit your fitness goals. It’s not all about gruntin’ and sweatin’. There are gradations.
But there is more than one reason why women avoid a more gym-like setting. That’s why those classes I mentioned appeal to so many.
I personally love the achievement involved. You and I are not the same in how we would care to exercise but that sense of achievement is universal.
Keep a log book. Write down all data so you can see how you’re progressing.
Some trainers hate logbooks but it’s a matter of perspective. I feel better knowing what’s going on over time.
Include in your logs your mood, energy level, aches or pains, brief entries of what outside of the gym may be affecting all of the former.
Get to know your training self this way so you can capitalize on the good stuff you learn. Also learn what hurts excessively and should be avoided so you don’t get injured.
And if the gym annoys you or it’s just not an option right now, then take walks with your canine friend and apply all the same perspectives I mentioned about how to train in the gym.
I’ll stop there because this is my great love and I could write for hours but I think what I’ve written above is a good start.
P.S. Buy NOTHING off an infomercial and expect magic. Nothing. Eat right and train methodically. That’s the only way that gets you what you want. No shortcut exists.
The photographer of this post’s featured photo: lucas Favre