It’s very early morning here, and I come to you from my kitchen with a huge mug of hot Pike coffee sweetened with monk fruit extract and lightened with soymilk, and isn’t it true that if you drink coffee, there are few moments in a day as satisfying as this one?
Hello there, old friends, and welcome, new friends! You latter bunch seem to mostly hail from fitness communities, so I thought I’d speak to you… and you, and you, and you, meaning those of you who aren’t from fitness communities, as well. Many of you folks have been here for years. Thank you for hanging around all this time!
Well, I’d set several goals for the new year, and I’ve yet to reach the one where I get back into a consistent blog-posting schedule… or the one where I regularly check my email… or the one where I check messages on social media, or the voice mails on my phone, for that matter… (I’m really the worst at staying connected, and not proud of it, let me assure you)… or the one where I get more sleep!… but I have managed to dial back into my committment to fitness. I can now report that I have arrived. I have reached my destination. It was the last turn on the left, three months down on the right, and I’m here to stay for as long as circumstances allow. Life does happen. There may be more hiatuses in the future, but it’s humbling to know that I can get back into the groove when I set my mind to it. I never feel right when I take extended breaks from fitness. Returning to it feels like returning to myself.
So, having finally integrated a training regimen back into the rhythm of my mundane day-to-day and week-to-week, and feeling that it was such a momentous feat, I thought I’d share a little aspect of it. I mean, it’s a great feeling to get back into the fitness game after months of sitting it out. Along the way I’ve been reminded that muscle memory isn’t a myth. In a short period of time, I’ve regained what I’d lost, and I can see a clear fitness path to a place beyond where I was before.
(I still have a Planet Fitness membership, but it’s been all Les Mills On Demand these last six weeks. BodyPump and BodyCombat are my main fitness jams. The love is real.)
Getting back to my point: The aspect of fitness I want to share is thoughts... because working out is mind over matter, and so on and so forth, and while such adages seem stale, they’re quite apt.
Now, physical training has always served as a form of moving mediation for me, a meditation that includes the mental challenge involved in making it through a tough workout. Just as in traditional meditation, my mind tends to wander. When I want to direct my brainwaves and focus inwardly, then, where do my thoughts land? Here are some of the things that pass through my mind while working out, things that seem random, but actually apply directly to my efforts as I struggle to maintain my form and keep up the pace while strength-training in, say, BodyPump:
I think of this formidable deity, and I imagine that he’s got my back. He lends me fortitude.
The divine warrior, flaming sword in hand. I don’t have to request his presence to help me through a tough workout. He’s always there. When my thoughts turn to him, I feel his strength.
Rhythm in percussion and bass is always a driving force.
Being rooted, grounded.
Swiftness and weightlessness, imagery that actually helps me to lift heavy weights.
Fluidity in movement.
A part of the joy of working out is the elation I feel when I persevere through physical challenge to make it to the goals that I set for myself during that workout. The euphoria is both physical and emotional, coming through in brain chemistry and the feeling of accomplishment. It’s more than a rush. It’s being high on achievement, and I’ve found that my thought processes during my workouts amp it all up. They help me to work harder and go the distance. I feel stronger in my body, more energetic the next day, and I sleep better. The benefits of exercise can’t be overhyped, and every time I return to the fitness life after being away for a while, I can’t imagine how I’d managed in the interrim.
With that, I’m drinking the last of the coffee before getting ready for work. I wish you all the wondrousness you find in your efforts, whatever they may be!