This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I don't WANNA! But I'm glad I did!!!

I made myself go to the gym today. I didn't want to. At. All. I did all kinds of self bargaining and whining to get out of it. Didn't work. I even wore a dress today. I have a meeting tonight. Generally, that means I won't be working out. BUT, I didn't get up and work out this morning. I had some work to do instead.  The deal was that I would workout either in the morning or at lunch. And I kept the deal with myself.

I didn't like it. In fact, I was downright grumpy as I marched into the gym today at lunch. Still thinking of a hundred reasons why I should do something else. In fact as I pulled into the parking lot I seriously considered driving right through and turning around. "That's so dumb."  I told myself. I'm already here. So I thought I'd go in and do just 30 min of cardio. That's not bad. And it got me out of my car.

I went in, changed into my work out clothes. As I walked up the stairs, guess who I saw? My trainer. Shit. And he says, "Going to lift some weights after your cardio today?" Dang it. NO. I wasn't going to. I was going to have a short workout and get the hell outta here because I DON'T want to be here. But there he was with his grinning face. I said, "Maybe." He smiled and said, "I'll be watching you." Dang it.

I hopped onto the elliptical. The only consolation is that I get to read my book. I did my 5 min warm up and then cranked it to level 20 and went to town. I was pissed and I took it out on the machine. Usually I crank it up and then turn it down a level every few minutes. Every time I turn it down I crank up the speed. It's a good workout. I did 30 minutes. As I finished I realized my mood was better and I had a few minutes.  So I decided to do some weights and core work. I did some weighted crunches, planks, chest presses, triceps presses. My abs are so super de duper sore. But I did some weighted v-ups also even though they suck. I even did those crappy ab roll out thingys I hate so much with the little rolling scooter thing.(I'm sure it has a technical fitness word, but I am still new in this world and haven't mastered all the lingo yet.)

After I was tired and sore. But, glad I'd finished and proud that I can say I did do weights next time my trainer asks. My deal for going to the gym today included a trip to the yogurt place for lunch. Sugar free, low fat strawberry frozen yogurt with fresh berries and a little almonds was my lunch and MAN it tasted good and was great in this heat. Made my day.

Sometimes I feel bad because I'm not always "gung-ho" like some people I read in blog land. I don't always look forward to workouts. I don't always feel great afterward. I don't always push myself as hard as I can. I don't always enjoy working out. I can't run 5 miles a day. I can't bike 20 miles a day. I'm not ready for marathons or tris or even half-marathons for that matter.   I don't have hours to attend classes and I can't spend lots of time learning new exercises or trying out new DVDs.

But, I'm good at being regular with exercise for the first time in my life. It's no longer a question of IF I'll exercise, it's WHEN. That's a HUGE accomplishment for me. It's a regular part of my life now. Whether I have to squeeze in a workout in the morning or at lunch or in the evening, I WILL be exercising regularly. In fact, most days. One way or another it will happen.

And even though there are days like today where I REALLY don't want to, I do it anyway because I like the way I feel when I exercise regularly. I hate the sluggish feeling I get when I don't work out for a few days. My body craves movement now and that's AWESOME.   I've discovered some new exercise goals, especially with my Tae Kwon Do. I'll be testing for another belt in a couple of weeks. I know I can't keep going if I don't workout on my off days. I have to keep my cardio going and get stronger so I can do the ever increasingly harder things they are teaching me.

I haven't always been this way. It was HARD at first to squeeze into my busy day. With 3 kids and a husband and a career and a house and laundry and cooking and all the other crap that is my life, I really had to sit down and schedule an appointment for exercise at first. And there was a lot of, "Oops can't do that meeting that day I have another appointment." That person needn't know that appointment is with a treadmill.

My husband has been supportive. Not perfect, mind you, but overall supportive. We've added my exercise schedule to our daily "what's happening" conversations. This used to revolve around the kids and work meetings now it includes exercise talk. Might go like this:

Him: So what have we got going today?
Me: I work until 5:30.  Kids have TKD, boy has horn lesson.  I'll have to go to evening TKD today since I have that office staff meeting at noon and I'll miss my regular class. Can you watch the girls while I go? I'll bring home the boy as his class is just after mine.

Him: No problem. But, I've got work to do tonight so after you get home I'll have to disappear for a while.

It's just part of our regular conversations now. Is it easy? No! Is it a ton of juggling? YES. Would it be easy for me to think, "Boy I'm tired after working all day. The last thing I want to do is drive across town, change clothes and get all sweaty and more tired." Of course. But nobody said this would be EASY.   Making a change in habits is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. But it can be done and it does get easier.

If you find yourself saying you "just don't have time" or "are just too busy" or "there aren't enough hours in the day", I say to you WHAT IS WORTH MORE TO YOU? There are plenty of hours in the day if you're honest with yourself, it's just a matter of how you choose to spend them. If you let yourself buy into the idea that your life is too busy, guess what......you'll find it very hard to get in your exercise.

If you have the attitude that exercise is just as important as anything else in your schedule, suddenly it becomes easier to squeeze out 30 min or an hour here or there. If you think about it, it's not really THAT big of a commitment. I mean most people make more of a commitment to their favorite TV show.  You know that one you just CAN'T miss. Guess what? You can! You just don't want to.

I'm asked all the time how I keep it up. How I keep myself going to the gym? The best advice I can give you is this:
1. You have to want it.  That's the truth. You have to want it. You have to find your own motivation. Mine is that I want to be around for my kids and grand-kids.  And I want to be able to move and be active for a long time.  I don't want to die young and I don't want to be unable to enjoy my life.  Fat will kill you and squeeze joy from your life. Why are you letting it?
2.  Just do it. Silly I know but so true. You won't like it at first. It will be hard. There will be days like mine today where you don't want to. But, over time it will be a habit. A part of your life and you will LOVE how you feel.  And keep doing it. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and.......
3.  Find something you really like and do it.  Try new and different things. You know better than anyone else what kinds of exercise you might enjoy. I never ever ever would have thought that I could do martial arts or love it as much as I do. I had the guts to try it and not only is it a great workout, I love it. I look forward to it and now it spurs me on to do more exercise to stay fit for my favorite thing. 

The thing about this health and fitness journey is no one can do it for you. You have to figure it out for yourself. Find your own way. Doing exactly the food plan or exactly the exercise plan that worked for your friend or another blogger or Second Cousin will not necessarily be the right thing for you.  You are not alone though. We're all here helping you along and you in turn help me.

What excuses have you used to avoid exercise lately? How do you handle fitting in exercise when your life is really out of control and stressful? Do you have days where you just don't ant to exercise? How do you handle them?


  1. Yep, I have days when I don't much feeling like exercising. Especially right now when we have so much humidity and heat in MN. But, I make myself get up early and just do it. If I don't do my exercise first thing in the morning I can make a million excuses not to get it in. Sometimes I have to get up at 5 or so, too, to get it done because of work or other life events.

  2. Well shoot. I don't ever want to! But I'm always glad I did it once it's done. One trick I sometimes use is to tell myself I don't have to go long, just 20 minutes. Usually if I start I will keep going. It really helps too to have a partner:)

  3. I wish TKD was more popular here. But it's a small town area and we don't even have a decent gym. But that's no excuse for not exercising, is it? ;-)

  4. I think some of the best workouts are the ones where you have to overcome yourself. The workout itself may not be ideal, but the not listening to the negative talk and getting it done is huge!

  5. This is an awesome post! I like exercise but still don't always want to do it. The sweat, hot gym (grr) or cold outside can put me off. Like you though, I know I will find a way because it's just part of what I do.
    I'm not a fan of comparing myself to others. It's never going to put me in a good headspace so I just refuse to go there. Instead I find activities that suit me and do them the best I can do at my current level. If that improves, great, but if it doesn't I am still doing great things for my body.

  6. 90% of success is just showing up, right? Way to go doc!

  7. The overwhelming heat/humidity really saps my energy. (We live in north mississippi). So I pretty much just have to not ride my bike during these heat advisory & warning days. Everything moves indoors with DVDs, elliptical, treadmill & weights. I have fans to help keep me cool too. But I will tell you what. If I sit on the couch just one minute too long some sort of mental pendulum swings and the black hole sucking force of the couch will literally make me not want to move my butt an inch. I just want to lay there and curl up with my little miniature dachshund and zone out with tv shows I recorded. So I have to use my commute home to completely psych myself up for walking straight in the door, pet the dog, pour a glass of water and go change clothes RIGHT AWAY and get to the workout BEFORE I even think about anything else. Or all bets are off. LOLLL Oh & I wouldn't think those gung-ho bloggers are 100% ON for every workout. They just might not write about the mental gymnastics going on about whether to workout or not. :-/

  8. Yeah, I didn't want to get on the treadmill last night, but I sucked it up like a big girl and did it anyway. And afterward, I was happy.

    Sweaty and icky, but happy.

  9. It isn't always easy and I don't love to exercise like some people do but I know that if I want to be healthy and maintain my weight I have to exercise.

  10. I have to bargain with myself many times, too, in order to get my workout in. And once it's done, I never regret it, but yeah, some days, I just want to drive right past the gym, lol!

    Good job getting it DONE!!!

  11. I think that dieting and working out will be easy after a while.
    But no!
    Not always the case.
    You are spot-on.... ya have to want it!
    BIG time!

    Cool looking back at all the changes!


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