Doing Weights – The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

In my post last night I wrote about doing weights and how hard it is to get started doing a workout with weights. Since tonight was a weights night and I just went through the experience I decided to post more on the subject. I failed many times when I was younger but I’ve been really successful for the last two years so I’m hoping I can describe the difference in a way that will help others with the same problem.

As I’ve said before and I’ll say often again:

I have never regretted doing a workout but I have often regretted not doing a workout

Knowing that, it should be easy. But instead it’s really hard. It can be so hard that sometimes you just cave. That’s a double loss. Not only do you lose the benefit, you regret it later. When you succeed, it’s a double win for the same reasons.

But here’s the thing.

Unless you’re different from me, it’s always going to be hard.

As hard as waking up and knowing the alarm clock is going to go off in five minutes and actually getting up when it does. Well, not quite that hard, but hard – and you don’t have a job on the line if you don’t show up for your weight session.

Ironically, accepting that makes it easier somehow. I’ve come to know that I’m not going to put up with the way I feel when I get home from work even on the days when it’s a weights night and I come home thinking “I’m just going to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself”. Somehow I always end up doing the workout anyway even though I’m thinking “no way” right up to the minute I get up and go do it; although lately I don’t even go through the “no way” part.

It’s hard to put into words. There’s dread, angst, a sense of futility; it’s almost primal, like you’re afraid to start because then you’re committed, and what if you fail? Or maybe it’s the id, the infant that lives on in us all, feeling exhausted and not at all happy about lifting heavy objects; what the id doesn’t know is that the exhaustion is an illusion caused by low blood oxygen and probably a host of other chemical imbalances, all of which would be improved or corrected altogether by increasing the respiration and heart rate through exercise.

As best as I can describe it, the way I get past it is just to look at it as a temporary mental aberration. Just remember it’s nearly all about starting; once you do the sense of doom goes away. If you don’t, it lingers and gradually fades into regret until it happens so many times you give up altogether.

It’s not just you; it’s almost everyone (probably). You won’t come to any harm even though it feels like it. It’s like the Highlander, being killed is pretty painful I imagine, but he’s come back to life so many times he probably doesn’t even notice. That’s actually a pretty good comparison. A workout at the end of the work day is like coming back to life.

Anyway, you can’t fight blood chemistry, so:

Don’t waste time trying to talk yourself into feeling good or even ok about it, or worrying about why you can’t have a better attitude.

Just start, even though it seems horrible, because if you do you’ll find that starting is the only part that is.

Get past that often enough and the workout itself will become easier and seem shorter. Plus the id starts to realize there’s a treat in store at the end and doesn’t cry so hard.

I'll be 70 in less than 6 months (it's Dec 2016 now) and never expected to be in this kind of shape or have this kind of stamina, at any age. Then I discovered JumpRock at 55 and HoopRock at 66. Both are so much fun it's actually easy to get fit and stay that way; this blog is to encourage you to follow my example and be in great shape yourself going into old age - that's all I can promise for now - we'll see how actual old age goes. I'm highly optimistic.
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5 Responses to Doing Weights – The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

  1. Grandma Kc says:

    Great post, Richard. You really do explain it all very well! Keeps us all motivated.

  2. SAD says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Too true-why do we all love the Nike slogan “Just Do It” ??!!

  3. Sandy Siegel says:

    I’m motivated more than I ever have been. You are exactly right about starting being the hardest part! Once you get going, it’s no big deal!!

    • Rich says:

      It’s so great to hear you say that. Everyone knows that they should exercise, what they don’t realize is the only real hard part is starting.