It is much easier to train yourself NOT to stay on top of your fitness goals than it is to train yourself to keep those fitness goals in mind and drag your sorry carcass to the gym/on a run/anywhere that doesn’t involve wearing pajamas and sitting on the couch reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book.
I know this to be true because I recently did an experiment that involved me not going to the gym or doing anything all that physically active for about two weeks, and then yesterday I made myself get up early and accompany Don to the gym. The results of my experiment prove that it is very easy (and also quite fun!) to snuggle up in bed and make excuses as to why one shouldn’t get up and slip into one’s sneakers, and also that the more times one lies in bed, turns off the alarm and makes excuses, the harder it gets to resist the allure of inactivity.
I hadn’t intended to be quite so inactive for quite such a long time; I was a little bit the victim of circumstances and also a little bit the victim of my own poor planning. After my victorious 10k run (If you haven’t read the post about me finishing my 10k run and making my time goal, please read that one too because it makes me look a WHOLE LOT less lazy than this post does!) and the weekend of celebratory beers and concert, I boarded a plane headed for the US to visit friends and family whom I had not seen in a couple of years…
And then a big storm blew in and my flight got delayed and I was stuck in the Frankfurt airport for a day…
And then I, again, got stuck in the Newark airport for another day when a flight was cancelled, and when I finally made it to my parent’s house in Vermont, exercise was the furthest thing from my mind. The closest things to my mind? A shower and a nap!
I managed to fit in two short, uninspired runs during the week I visited the Northeast- one where snow pelted me in the eyes as I ran, another where the wind blew so ferociously that I turned a corner and was blown to a standstill despite the frantic pumping of my arms and legs- but mostly I sat around and stuffed my face while catching up with my dear family and beloved friends.* As my trip came to a close, I was anxious to return to Germany because- newsflash- we are moving, and while I was loafing around, sampling the best macaroni & cheeses Vermont has to offer, Don sent word that our things needed to be packed post-haste because they were being shipped about a week after my return.
I’ve know about this move for quite a while, but I have neglected to mention it because I thought we had more time. I was (quite obviously) wrong, and you can imagine my distress when all of my returning flights were again cancelled or delayed and it took me an extra three days to get home. You can also probably imagine Don’s distress as most of the responsibilities of packing then fell on his shoulders, and to make matters worse, this isn’t a simple around-the-corner-next-town-over move. Uh-uh, we are moving to eff-ing HAWAII. We are super sad to be leaving Germany (and at the start of Fest season, no less!) but we are also excited to be going to the land of pineapples and sunshine! When I finally arrived home, I had only two days to make sure our stuff was in order. After it was picked up and en route to our new tropical digs, I could have gone to the gym because its not like I even have a couch to sit on, but…..well….I just took the weekend off for no good reason other than it was easier than not taking the weekend off.
When I finally did drag myself to the gym yesterday, I made sure not to overdo things (although an injury would be a pretty good excuse to not go to the gym…). I did a few circuits of burpees, sit-ups, and box jumps, and followed that with some time on the stationary bike. Today, since Don and I are now sharing a car and he needed to use it to go to work, I didn’t go to the gym and instead opted for a slow 3-mile run in the beautiful Bavarian sunshine.
Yesterday, as I was cursing myself for the last few weeks of laziness and regretting every homemade cookie I ate while I was at my parents’ house; I came to the realization that, although I often dread it, I never regret exercise. I regret many of the things that I love (the aforementioned homemade cookies eaten by the fistful, for example), but exercise- in any form- is never something that I end up wishing I hadn’t done. No matter how little or how much of it I do, I always feel better for having done it. That alone is encouragement enough to convince me not to make an excuse tomorrow and to instead get myself to the gym.
*If you’re like me, you are probably interested in WHAT I was stuffing my face with: Homemade bread, homemade cookies (my parents are turning into quite the bakers), vegetarian sushi, pizza, Vermont craft beers, pad thai, macaroni & cheese (from the Parkside Kitchen in Richmond and again from Twigg’s Gastropub in St. Albans), mexican food, vegetable soup, cheddar soup, garlic bread, maple peanut brittle, and many other things, but those were the highlights! God, I love food.