Monday, May 14, 2012

Falling in love with exercise

Century training update: 55 miles for the week ending May 13, 32.5 miles longest ride. 

Saturday was a tough day to get out on the bike -- gray, cloudy an 40 degrees out. I'd been out late and I was tired. I delayed, delayed, delayed ... another cup of coffee ... check Facebook again. I started humming "Hit the road, Jack" in an effort to mentally boot my butt out the door.

Made it out the door I did, and went 32.5 miles, alternately freezing in the wind and sweltering in my black windbreaker when the sun broke through the clouds. I was tired, and it hurt. Last weekend was easier -- longest ride was 27 miles on a gloriously sunny, calm morning. Two+ hours of joy. But even in the 40-degree chill Saturday, I still felt the same joy.

I love to be on a bicycle, and I don't know how you would stick with exercise unless they fall in love with it to get you through the tougher days. Kind of like a marriage. If last weekend's ride was a wonderful date night with my hubby, the latest ride was a full-day session of grouting the tile in the sunroom.

Golda Poretsky over on Body Love Wellness did a wonderful post a few days back about breaking up with your diet as if it were a bad boyfriend. Is your exercise program a jerk as well?

Does it start out by telling you you're fat and ugly and have to change? Does it cause physical injury? Does it demand you exercise when exhausted? Spend every waking minute or money you don't have on it? Do you dislike all the people you end up hanging out with when you are with it?

Maybe it's a pretty decent one, and all your friends (even your mother!) like it, but you don't care that much for it. Yoga is like that for me. I have never once felt good after a date with yoga, so I've taken that one out of my list.

Or maybe it makes you feel wonderful, makes you healthier and happier, but you're told (or think) it's not good enough for you because it's not carving flesh off your frame. You might end up ditching it and go back to one of those jerks who promises (perhaps falsely) to make you skinny.

I like to think not only of intuitive eating, but also of intuitive exercise. One of my favorite bloggers on that point is Chris Serong at Move and Be Free.:

I don’t care what shape you are, or what shape you want to be. What I’m about is appreciating exercise for the simple sake of enjoying movement and feeling more awesome. What else is the point?
I enjoy feeling my legs spin on a bike, and it makes me feel awesome. That is the point, indeed.


  1. That marriage analogy's great.... I often find people struggle to understand the idea of loving oneself (people seem to think it just means being whimsical), and I think these analogies are helpful. If I imagine taking care of someone else, or taking care of a relationship, and then I apply that kind of care to myself... it helps me to be more specific and attentive to my needs and desires. There's work, but there's also freedom and a sense of it all being worthwhile and good, rather than restrictive. I seem to have a history of depriving myself, which is seldom helpful, I think...

  2. Such a good point. Someone pointed out to me once that the hurtful things I was saying to myself were things that I would never in a million years say to a child I loved dearly.

  3. I need to find an exercise I can fall in love with. It's like pulling teeth to get me to do something, and then I do it because I'm supposed to, but not really because I want to. I've always been envious of the people who say they love exercise. And I have a bad habit (which I'm trying to break) of saying horrible things about myself, too. I try to remember that I would never - nor would allow anyone else - talk to a friend that way.

  4. I'm kind of surprised with your theater background that you wouldn't love dance of some sort.