Have you ever heard of TRX exercise training? If you haven’t, let me try to explain what it’s all about. It’s suspension training that uses your own bodyweight to perform hundreds of exercises. At times you use your arms to pull up and out, and at other times, you use your legs. Let me tell you— after one class, every muscle in your body is exhausted. This is actually what I believe to be the point of exercise— to challenge your body and become stronger.
Not even halfway through the class, and I was staring at the clock, willing it to go faster. It didn’t. I was unbelievably tired and didn’t think I could continue much longer. Ten minutes after that, I remember having a thought that was something like this, “Why am I doing this class again? I’m not having a good time”. Near the end, we did an exercise where my feet were in the straps and I was doing a plank on the floor. Exhausted beyond belief, my body feeling like jelly, I suddenly thought that the breeze I was getting in that position on the floor felt wonderful. I shared my thought out loud and then laughed at myself. I found it amusing that even when I was miserable, I was trying to find a way to focus on something positive to get through the experience.
When I was finished, all my bad feelings vanished. I felt a rush of pride that I had made it through something so difficult and taxing. I left the gym accomplished and ready to take on my day.
The other night at Sassy Girlfriend Talk, we shared our feelings about making changes in our life. The discussion eventually turned to exercise and women began to share their feelings on the subject. More than one woman confided that they couldn’t get into exercising routinely because, unlike me, it doesn’t make them feel good. On top of that, it’s exhausting.
This thought haunted me the rest of the night. Were they right in the thinking that I’m wired to enjoy exercise and movement more than other women? Is it easier or more natural for me than it is for others? Am I expecting something of them that’s unrealistic? Then I had a memory— checking the clock in the middle of spinning class and wondering why I was doing something that was making me so miserable!
Exercise that pushes the limits of what your body can accomplish is not FUN! It’s just not that realistic to think you’ll enjoy every minute of what you’re doing. That’s not to say that some forms of exercise might be more appealing to you than others. Whether you find pleasure in swimming, dancing, or bike riding, you should do what is more enjoyable for you. Although I usually feel accomplished and terrific afterwards, the honest truth is that the “during part” is really hard work. Which just made me realize— everything I’ve ever accomplished in my life and every goal I’ve met also involved times in the middle of the process that were HARD WORK!
My suggestion to women is to stop treating exercise as a choice in your lifestyle. It’s just another piece of staying physically and emotionally healthy. It’s not always going to be a minute-by-minute good time but it’s akin to taking your pill in the morning. It’s what you need to do to be your absolute best self.