Recently, fitness has changed for me. What used to be something I had to do became something I want to do…all the time. To the point where a rest day is the most dreaded day of the week (move over, Monday). Having found real genuine enjoyment in exercise has had me thinking. When did this change occur? Why did it occur? Why did it feel like a chore for so many years? Well, I think I’ve finally been able to capture exactly what changed for me (and no it has nothing to do with the workout itself). Physical fitness struggles (i.e. when you don’t think you could possibly do another pushup, those kinds of moments) simulate real life hardships.
So you’re probably wondering how shaking through your last set of pushups has any similarities to real life problems. Well, for me there comes a point in every exercise where I just hit a wall. You hit a point where your body is failing, every fiber inside you is screaming for you to stop, and you just want to pause. When your body gives up on you, your mind has to completely take over. In those moments, you have to remember why you’re working out to begin with. And if your answer is as simple as “I want six pack abs” then let me tell you, you will definitely fail.
But that’s ok! Because for a while, that was my mantra too. I wanted an enviable body. I wanted a perfectly toned physique and that was it. That was my only motivation. No wonder I wasn’t crushing my workouts the way I can now. It’s not because I was physically weak then, but mentally I just wasn’t all there. Your mind and body are connected, any schmo off the street can tell you that. But what we don’t understand is to what degree they are connected. Your body by itself can only do so much, can only push so hard. What your body can’t do, your mind has to make up for. You know the old saying “the body goes where the mind takes it.” Well, there’s a lot of truth there! In any decent workout, you’ll hit a point where your mind has to takeover.
So, now you’re probably wondering, well if I’m not working out for a hot bod then what am I working out for? To this, I would say this answer definitely varies from person to person. For me, I just feel like myself when I work out. I’m a mess. My hair is in disarray, I’m slipping on puddles of my own sweat, my face is flushed, and I love it. I love it because I feel strong. I feel like I’ve conquered something. I feel like if I can get through this then imagine what else I can get through. And if you’ve ever faced any sort of hardship in your life (which I’m sure we all have) then why wouldn’t you want to feel powerful? Fitness gives you a sense of control. You’re in control of how much your body can accomplish. The same goes for real life. Even if you feel like it’s out of control sometimes, it’s not. Ultimately you’re always in control. Maybe you can’t stop things that other people do or say, but it’s really not about what happens to you. It’s about how you deal with it. How you react. How you push through. And the way you react, the decisions you make, that’s all you! You’re in control of you. Fitness can help us really grasp that idea.
I think that’s why there are so many fitness junkies out there now. We’re addicted to the feeling, the feeling of power and control you get after completing a tough workout. The body that you wanted? That’s secondary. When you realize what you’re capable of, you start to become overwhelmed with self-acceptance. And eventually, that acceptance becomes genuine confidence.
Isn’t that something worth sweating for?