What is it about “those” people that get freakishly extreme about diet and exercising? Do they have something prove? Are they obsessive, or maybe just crazy??? Where do they find that drive that makes them want to physically punish themselves by working out so much? In fact, where do they find the time and the energy to do all that? Have you ever wondered all that about somebody? Or maybe you’re THAT person, the one they’re talking about…and you’ve wondered why people ask you those questions all the time.
I’m not sure which person I am…I’d like to think I’m the workout type, but I also don’t’ see myself as one of the crazy intense freaks. What I do know about myself is that I’ve had times in my life where I’ve been in great shape and felt spectacular, and there are times that I’ve been in not very good shape and felt pretty crappy. I know what side of the fence I want to be on from here on out! The choice is simple for me; keep my ass in shape! I also know that it takes some seriously hard work, which is sometimes translated as distraction for somebody like me.
Yeah, I know that didn’t make much sense, but I’m going to ‘splain it now. I’m a fixator, an obsessor, an idiot savant, whatever you want to call it. But I’m also super easily distracted…OHHH, look! Shiny object! I know what it takes to get in shape, but I don’t necessarily enjoy it. If I tell myself that I’m going to hit the gym every morning at 5am and ride the elliptical machine for 30 mins after doing some weights, I’ll do it. I’ll get all into the routine of it and do what I instructed myself to do. I’ll also get extremely bored, stare off into the distance, and take the first chance I get to hit the road out of there! Somebody’s on the machine I was going to use? Damnit, what to do? Forget it, move on to the next.
What Sort of Working Out Works???
That sort of working out just doesn’t work out for me (yes, pun sort of intended, sorry). What I forgot to say above is that I’m also extremely competitive with myself and others. I’m the one at the red light that will casually look over at the little old lady in the lane over from me and then decide that I MUST beat her off the line when the light turns green. Why? Who the hell knows why…I told you, I’m competitive! This all means that when in the right environment, I can’t NOT work my hardest. It’s not some magical formula, or some sick need to feel pain, it’s learning enough about myself, my idiosyncrasies, and my habits to put myself into the right scenarios in order to get the results that I want.
In the past, this environment has been martial arts, hand-to-hand combat training, self-defense training; you know stuff that makes you want to kick the other guys’ ass. It was also incredibly self-empowering, not to mention super fun! Now, I’m all into CrossFit. Its similarity to martial arts for me is the ability to FEEL my body’s strength, as well as the competitive aspect that pushes my buttons. I can work out against my own personal best records, or against the others in the class. I can’t tell you what a self-satisfying rush it is to beat some 20-year old dude at the timed workout of the day and then collapse on the floor in a pool of sweat and exhaustion. This is the moment when you know you’ve done your best!
So, what does this look like from the outside? I’m sure you have your opinions…I’ll theorize about what I think some people see it as; they see it as some freakish need to feel pain and then tell everybody that it felt great! While that may be true for some people, it’s definitely not true for me. I don’t enjoy pain…I don’t LIKE feeling the burn, the pull, and the ache of pushing myself past my physical limits. What I like is the results! I’ve used my otherwise useless fixation abilities to associate the pain with the end result. I’ve also used my shiny object distraction “talents” to block out the immediacy of discomfort while quietly, yet obsessively keeping track of each passing second on the clock and the fact that it will all be over soon. The days following an incredible workout when I can barely sit down or stand back up without clenching my teeth, and lurching around while trying not to buckle from the soreness are my favorite (yes, I understand that this might be the point where you just put me back on the crazy person list). It’s my favorite not because it hurts or because I look like a complete fool, it’s my favorite because I know it worked!!! I know there are muscles in there that got their asses kicked and they’re going to be stronger tomorrow! Easy? No, but doable for a person like me!
I’m not sure if I just completely freaked you out or if I convinced you that I’m not really all that certifiable…either way, I’m hoping that you get my point here. There’s no magic in working out or getting in shape or staying fit. The magic is all about YOU!
It’s a simple mathematical equation: YOU make the choice + YOU learn what makes your inner freak tick = YOU Succeed!!!