I’ve been working on a post about this for two days now, and I have found it harder to put into words than I thought it would. I also did not want the post to be eleventy-billion miles long. So bear with me if I get rambly and my self-editor decides to take a coffee break, k?
mmmm… Coffee… *slurp*
Ok… Now that I have met my goal of running a 5k race, I am looking forward, towards May 2013 and my first Tough Mudder. There is a whole winter between now and then to keep my motivation and momentum up, and I am now collating hundreds of workout routines to find some that will rip me up and spit me out as a more muscular, fitter version of myself. Learning to swim + strength training + cardiocardiocardio = Me who is able to climb a ski hill, jump into cold water, and vault a 12′ wall.
Or outrun the Zombie apocalypse.. whichever comes first.
So, with all this circulating my current headspace, the concept of “play” popped up.
I had watched my kids playing on the living room floor, my son doing tumbles and jumping around. He was playing, but it was exercise for him too! He was loving it, laughing his fool head off, his sister trying her best to mimic him, but at 18 months, tumbles are not really very easy. She eventually sat on her duff and watched him, giggling like mad at the ridiculous 4 year old boy noises he made when he was upside down.
Play is a concept that adults often forget. We have so much responsibility to our schedule, to our family, to our careers that we often push play off the to do list. Besides, what adult plays when there are groceries to put away, a laundry mountain to fold, and three days worth of dishes to wash and dry? Sometimes I feel as if society pushes this artificial idea onto us that as adults, we must be serious, get the job done, make the money to have a comfortable life and shiny children/spouses/homes.
Boooring, right? Uh huh… If anyone here has fun folding laundry, please raise your hand! No Kelly Ripa, you do not count, put your hand down. I’ve seen those TV ads, I don’t buy it, sister.
I think this concept can be applied to fitness too. People, call it what you will, but sometimes, working out is boring and we get into ruts. I know we have all felt like a hamster in a wheel on the treadmill, or almost lulled ourselves into a nap on the elliptical, watching reruns of Degrassi High on the gym TV. That following the same six-day schedule for a few months makes us feel like drones with no creativity or imagination. But we keep doing it, fighting hard to stave the inevitable apathy, a responsibility to be fit and healthy, which is one of the biggest responsibilities out there, pushing us. And the one so many give up, because…
It stops being fun.
(OK, that sounded way more dramatic than intended, and for the record, there are lots of us who like the routines and such. I hate it, but that is my own personality, so let’s go with it, shall we?)
Knowing my track record for starting and then quitting gym-time, I had an epiphany. How can I make my workouts more fun, like my son tumbling about? How can add joy and enthusiasm into my fitness journey while I push my limits and improve myself? And really, how can I make Mid-January cardio fun, when there are snowdrifts everywhere and running outside will cause a groin pull when my cluzty-as-@#%& self does a Bambi-on-ice impression?
Trying new things, never doing the same routine twice in a row. Investigating a class that looks hard and screwing up my courage to go in and not care if I look silly. To get outside, rent skis and snowshoes. To include my children and encourage my husband in trying new and fun things (he just joined a Crossfit box at my insistence, YAY!). To challenge myself to new levels of achievement, even if they are small, like “How many different exercises can I do on the stability ball today?”, or “Learn how to use the squat rack this week”. To find friends willing to come and work out with me, even if to simply walk side by side on a treadmill, not talking, or take that class together. To being silly, incorporating funny t-shirts and rainbow socks into my workout wear so I can find humour and laughter in my daily sweating.
To sum that wordy explanation up (just get to the point already, right?), I can say this; To make my fitness journey about discovery and experiences rather than clocking time and recording weight.