Why Work Out

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Working out is hard. It takes energy, It can be difficult. It takes time. There is a learning curve. Frequently it costs money and it makes more laundry. So why do it?

Working Out – Why Bother?

The other day I did a workout that kicked my ass. It was one of those workouts that didn’t look all that bad when I read it on the gym’s blog. (Seriously, you would think I would know better by now. Every single time I read a workout on the blog and think, “Oh, that doesn’t look too bad…” it’s a killer. Every. Single. Time.) But I haven’t had one this tough in awhile. Because the Coaches at my gym program workouts that are a mix of cardio and strength, usually there is something in there that I love, along with something… let’s just say, “I need to work on.”

Anyway, because of the workout, or the dark and gray weather we had at the end of January, or just my mood in general, this time, I went to a very dark place. About midway through I had such incredibly helpful thoughts as:

  • I am terrible at this and I don’t know why I even try.
  • Everyone around me is so much better at these movements than I am.
  • I’ve been doing this for four years, but why bother?
  • I’m quitting everything. I hate this.
  • And the classic, “I suck!”

Then I Paused

I have been reading Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, which is all about pausing in the midst of negative emotions and accepting them. To not feed into the emotions and not fight against them. Just pause and saying “Yes, I feel this way.” In my case, it was no more than a breath or two, but I took that pause, acknowledged that this was incredibly hard, then I got back on the bar and did another pull up.

It can be difficult at the moment to realize that whatever you are dealing with is temporary. Even when the Coach called out that we were halfway through, I felt more demoralized that I had half to go than motivated that half was done. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, he told me later that everyone looked at him with a mix of hatred and defeat when he called that out. But at the time, it felt like it was just me.

It’s About Doing What You Want to Do

I drove home thinking about it. I haven’t had a reaction that strong in a long time. Honestly, the Coaches at my gym are extremely good at helping people scale workouts accordingly. I always feel pushed but never that something is completely beyond me. So these feelings surprised me.

When I got home, I went to take the dogs for a walk. Ace’s legs are getting stiffer and stiffer and he’s having a hard time on walks. So, I have started walking Finn, Bandit, and Duncan all at once. All three are pretty opinionated about their walks, and Finn and Bandit are incredibly strong when they want to be. They are also still working out how to walk together as a group, so for now, it is a bit like walking a small furry hurricane.

Not that this is my first time walking multiple dogs.

Let’s Be Honest, the Fact I Can Take this Photo While this is Happening is Crazy

Which Reminded Me of Why I work Out in the First Place.

I’ve written about it before.

So, why do it? Why sweat and work and push yourself at the gym? I’m never going to be a CrossFit Games Athlete. I’m a decade (or more) older than most of the people I workout with – they are all faster, stronger, and more athletic than I am. And let’s face it, I’m not going to “win” a workout.

senior do
Three of my boys and my friend’s dog. (I was dogsitting.)

So that I can lead the life I want to lead. One of my reasons is that I love senior dogs. I currently have four. I workout so I can have 150+ pounds worth of pent up dog energy on the end of strings and control it. So, I can do things like walk three or four dogs at the same time.

But Dawn… wouldn’t it make more sense to walk them in groups of two? Of course it would! And sometimes I do. But sometimes I only have forty minutes and I would rather give four guys the whole time rather than give each only 20. Less when you consider it takes time to get everyone into their leashes.

Sometimes life gets busy and you have to do the best you can with what you have. And walking behind the boys that night I thought, “oh yes, this is it.”

why I work out
These guys appreciate it. At least Bandit does.

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