the idea of working out


My latest theory is that everything is best when it is hypothetical, and I am currently testing that with my workout routine. If I were to get up early, hop into my gear, and fling myself out the door to run in the darkness of the early morning, it would be wonderful. I would feel awake, alive, and energized as I pounded along the silent, chilly streets. Or I could slip into the front row of a yoga class and feel my entire self waking up as I stretched all the way up from the tips on either end of my body. It would be an actual, full-body kind of zing, and every part of me would be alive. Or I would dive into the pool, and as I immerse myself completely, the buoyancy of the water, the strength of the waves pushing back against me would make me, in turn, feel buoyant and strong. I would lap my way back and forth until I burst from the pool after swimming miles, and the crowds would be cheering.
No matter what exercise I had performed, I’d find myself full of life and love and happiness and energy and strength and joy and a feeling that the entire world was on my side and nothing, not even spiders or missiles or ebola or dragons, could stop me because that is exactly how awesome I am!

That is in my head. In the world exists exhaustion, the snooze button,
the icy coldness, the missing sports bra, the broken shoelace, the
runner’s high feeling more like the lowest point of your entire life, a
too-crowded pool, falling over in the middle of plank pose, feeling
more wiped out after than before, falling back asleep in the shower,
running late, the fact that exercise, in general, whatever the
long-term effects, is hard. Why do I keep getting out of bed, again? I
am just a hopeless dreamer, chasing a dream?

6 Replies to “the idea of working out”

  1. If you feel more wiped out after than before, something is wrong. Either you are working out too hard, not getting enough sleep, have something medical going on, or a combination of all of the above. Working out is supposed to be about taking care of yourself and if it makes you feel worse you need to find out why.

    Now for my really unsolicited advice: make sure you are sleeping at least 8 hours a night. When you work out regularly you need more sleep so your muscles can repair themselves. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try changing your workout. Instead of an hour, do half an hour. If morning is the problem, try afternoons. If sleeping more and changing your workout don’t help, see a doctor. You might be anemic or have a low thyroid.

  2. Hate to say it, but I think your expectations are too high… :-P

    I would put feeling like that as a goal, something to achieve, not a basal expectation. Because the reality of it all is that getting strong is not comfortable.

    Getting up early and laying the smackdown on your not-quite-conscious body isn’t fun right away. And yeah, you’re going to be exhausted for a few weeks. I disagree with the above poster… the first few weeks of getting yourself into a new more active routine at odd hours combined with a new job (and the freaking out about the new job) will indeed make you tired. but you’ll be ok in a few weeks, I think.

    A few things to make it easier:

    – Pre work out, eat something. A banana and a cup of tea. Half a bagel with peanut butter and OJ. Something. Anything. But not dairy products. In my experience, dairy products + workout = total hell. Lure yourself out of bed by having a cup of tea, half a banana, and a square of chocolate. For breakfast! Chocolate! (Not a whole Twix bar. A square of something delicious.) Then go work out.

    – Wear layers if you’re outside and it’s cold. According to my bf, REI’s madd crazy technologically advanced clothing rocks cotton’s sorry ass. Sweaty wet cotton results in slimy cold clothing, sweaty wet technologically advanced clothing dries quickly. I tried it out in NH skiing, and I grudgingly agree with him…

    – Like the other poster said, sleep. Early and often. Also, make sure you drink water. Not enough so you’re doing laps peeing every 3 seconds, but enough so when you wake up, you’re not dehydrated. Your body will adjust gradually.

    – Post workout, eat something. Something proteinaceous, like eggs. Or tuna fish. Or rice and beans. Or borscht. Have a fruit and another square of chocolate.

  3. Working out in the mornings just sucks. It doesn’t matter what time you get up, getting up sucks. Is it worth it? Yes, but we all know that deep down inside, right? It’s getting motivated. For me, I know what I want to look like and what I want to achieve, that helps get me moving. Also? My saying is, chubby doesn’t take a vacation, so neither do I. This also gets my butt out of bed when I’m tired and don’t wanna. Eventually chubby will take a vacation and I’ll be there to see it happen.

    Also everyone is different. Some have more energy in the mornings (that’s me) whereas others would rather work out at night. And eating before working out depends on the person. Before my runs in the morning, I don’t eat anything. I just go out the door. When I come home it’s oats with lots of mixins like granola and dark chocolate PB for more protein!

    It’s finding balance and what works for you. That’s the goal!

  4. Lately I’ve just been working out later. I used to do the 5 a.m. thing but it’s just not feeling worth it when there is a relaxed breakfast and lingering over coffee as an alternative option.

  5. Shoot, you just started a new job. That is very exhausting, even if it’s mostly mental work. Take it easy, girl.

    I started working out in the AM because it was the only time I could get reliable, free child care (everyone’s asleep!). It was hard the first 3 weeks or so but I knew it would be. Once I got over the hump though, it was much better.

    I’ll tell you a secret. I look forward to my morning runs as the best part of the day. I’m all alone with my thoughts in the dark, flying through time and space and occasionally engaging in feats of badassery like running further than ever or faster than ever.

    Now that it’s a routine, the routineness of it is comforting. It’s what I do at that time. It’s who I am. It totally doesn’t suck. Find what you love to do and the best time for you to do it and get into it. Make it something positive. Your escape. Your meditation. Your treat. Exercise as treat? May sound dubious but…if you think about it we are lucky to have the leisure time to do such things.

  6. 1) Ditto on the getting enough sleep. If your body needs sleep, the working out is not going to make you happy.

    2) I once drove to the gym still wrapped in my big fuzzy blanket. By the time you get there, you will be able to leave it in the car and no one will be the wiser.

    3) Make sure the exercise you do is suited to the mood you’re in. If I had to interact with a peppy yoga class in the morning, I would warrior pose someone’s leg around their neck. Running good, weightlifting good, human contact bad until AFTER the workout.

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