Today is my third day back at CF and the suck factor is going down by degrees each day that I'm back. Even so, as I was warming up today, swinging the kettle bell, doing my stretches, doing my pull-ups, I thought to myself, "I absolutely despise working out."
Yup. I said it. I hate working out. I always have. I still do. I hate breathing hard, sweating, pushing myself to the point that if I go further I'll puke. I hate the burning sensation in my muscles. I hate learning new skills and feeling like a dork when I can't do them. I hate running, and bar work, and burpees. The only thing that could be worse would be an aerobics class of some sort.
The truth is, sitting around is so ridiculously easy! But the other truth is I was sinking into the mire of poor health and a future of nothing if I continued in that mode.
So what is it that keeps me going back if I hate it so much? A few things, actually...
In personality tests I am pretty evenly split between introversion and extroversion. The introvert me writes, reads, stands and ponders the universe for inordinate amounts of time, plays the guitar, hates meeting new people, freaks out in a crowd. The extrovert goes to CrossFit, stays and talks after church, checks Facebook, doesn't miss a party. The introvert me is highly unmotivated to work out, and this is a problem, because I thought it was something I needed to figure out on my own. I finally realized that when it comes to exercise, I am completely extrinsically motivated. For years I operated under the misconception that if I could not motivate myself to exercise I was a weak person and lacked self-discipline. I basically feasted on the lie that I was going to have to be miserable in order to get into shape in order to punish my weak character, and I just wasn't in a rush to sign up for that. When I found CrossFit, I went with a friend, was encouraged by friends, and made new friends who were coming alongside and encouraging me constantly to keep going, so I did. The time I spent suffering, hi-fiving, chatting and cheering with other people kept me wanting to do more, do better. Over a year later, I still hate working out, but I love my peeps. I. love. my. peeps.
So in spite how much I hate working out, there is this ... this ... RUSH that I get when I am done. I feel happy. I feel energized. I want to congratulate myself over and over for just doing the hard thing (and I do). I just feel good. When I sit around, I never get that feeling, and so I keep going back.
You can't see them, but they are there. I can feel them and I can see a difference in my own body, but I know I'll never look like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. That's okay...I'm 44 years old and she's half my age and has never borne children. I love the strength that comes from having muscles, for the fact that I can (because of these that I now have) continue building more. I am elated that I am doing weight-bearing exercises so that I don't end up brittle and shrunken from osteoporosis. I am thrilled that I have better posture and hardly ever need to see the chiropractor. I love that my clothes fit and feel better than they have since I was in my 20s.
By this I mean that "if I had known then what I know now..." I would have been doing this years ago. I wouldn't have waited until my 40s to start. I would have understood that in order to enjoy doing the things that the introvert loves, I need to get out and do the hard things. It feels so much better to earn the right to sit and write, and read, and do the things that I love to do that unfortunately burn far fewer calories. I get to in essence be a stronger, better me.
So yes, I hate working out, but the truth is, the balance is now tipped so far in the other direction, and I can no longer operate as I did. Why would I exchange 24 hours a day of unhealthy for 23 hours of feeling really great and one hour or less of embracing the suck factor? The truth is, I wouldn't. I can't go back...It costs way too much.