Now that it has been a couple of months since I began working out, I’ve realized a few things about the nature of working out, its relationship to the body, and the applicability of the the lessons I’ve learned to other areas of my life.
Truth #1: weight and body size are not necessarily related
I hadn’t noticed my mid-section changing much. Then I uncovered some capri pants that I had put in a giveaway pile. They had not fit well in several years, but I loved them. I figured I would fit into them one day, but it didn’t happen. I decided to try them on.
Not only was I able to fit into my size 6 capri pants, they were very roomy in the thighs, waist, and tush! I wondered whether I was a size 5, and whether I should add a belt. My weight has been the same, maybe even a pound or two more, than when I began working out at the gym.
This experience made it clear in my mind that weight and clothing size don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other. If you work out, body fat becomes replaced with lean muscle. A friend of mine pointed out that, pound for pound, muscle takes up half as much space on your body than fat.
So, the next time you see someone super skinny, remind yourself that you might be seeing a dedicated gym rat, not an anorexic.
Truth #2: hard bodies equal hard work
Having seen and understood that the changes in my body are because of my efforts, I now know that people who have sculpted bodies have been at it. For years. I have a newfound respect for the these people, men and women alike.
Every muscle that you is a result of reps, days, weeks, months, and, yes, even years, at the gym. Whereas before I was intimidated because I compared my weak little self with them, now I am inspired. I see all kinds of possible outcomes and goals in front of me every time I step in the door. I realize that I can have that body, too, if I put in the same kind of effort that they do.
If you want that kind of body, then you need to work on it, too.
Truth #3: having a coach is key
I told my coach Leo the two truths that I learned. While waving my workout book, Leo said, “When we’re done with this, you’ll be able to work out on your own.”
I panicked a bit and said, “What? Like when you retire?”
Leo bust out laughing. I told him I was in this for the long haul, and I doubted that I there wasn’t going to be a time when I didn’t work with him. This exchange led me to my third truth.
While pointing my right index finder towards his right chest, I told him, “The only reason I’ve kept working out these past two months is because of you, Leo. I would never have been able to keep up my pace if it hadn’t been for working with you.”
Leo told me he liked what I said because it showed I had a long-term plan and was motivated to work out. I enjoy working out with Leo. He’s matter of fact, and, yet, encourages me and makes me feel like I can do. I’m not sure I could do all that by myself.
After I left the gym, I started thinking about this post, and I realized a fourth truth.
Truth #4: Determination is a Mindset
Another reason I have been able to keep up an average of 4 visits a week to the gym, with a goal of making it 5 days, is because it is a done deal. Like eating, showering, or brushing my teeth, it’s something I do.
Working out is not something I’ll get to if I’m feeling up for it or if I run out of time. When it’s time to pack my stuff and go, I pack my stuff and go. I no longer shove myself off the couch or from my computer chair, groaning. I know I’m going to do it so I don’t waste any energy in the debate. I get in the car, drive 10 minutes, do a quick change, and get on the treadmill to warm up before lifting or spend the 30 minutes speed walking. Or I take a class. Tonight, dance music and speed walking calls my name.
Don’t get me wrong. When my cat died last week, I did not go to the gym. However, I was there the next day so that I still got my 4 days. This week, something came up on my usual Tuesday so I went Wednesday.
Realizing I had the determination, or mindset, to get my ass to the gym made me realize something else.
Truth #5: I need to treat my writing Like the gym
Writing is something that is not on my “I’m doing” list. I have my twice-weekly blog here, and that’s about all that I have been doing for the past few months. I haven’t given up on my writing goals, but I haven’t been working on them, either. I had mindset in place during the first half of the year, and it made my writing happen. By August, I had put it on the back burner and turned to working out instead.
Focusing on my health has turned out to be a good move because I’ve relearned some crucial lessons that I can use to get my focus back in my writing life: Make a decision, make it a done deal, find a a coach, and put in the time.