Thursday, March 19, 2009

Surprising myself

Thank you for all the fabulous suggestions from the last post. Here is how they have played out.

Things that make you go Huh?
It’s normally your partner or a close friend that surprises you. Sometimes they say things or do things that you just wouldn’t expect and you think to yourself ‘wow! I thought I knew them’. Rarely do you expect that from yourself, but it turns out that this week has been full of it!
  • On Monday, I figured I’d give the jogging thing another chance. So I started and at first it was hard but then I just kept going. For 15 minutes until the destination I had set myself. For someone who hates jogging and doesn’t consider herself very fit, I was shocked. When I got home, I felt this incredible sense of empowerment and calm. It was so bizarre.
  • On Tuesday, I went to a Body Balance class at the local gym. Walking away after the class I was disappointed that it wasn’t a whole body workout because everywhere north of my belly button didn’t get worked. So before dinner I grabbed some weights and finished off what the class had started.
  • And this morning, I awoke at 5:30am (an hour earlier than usual) bouncing off the walls so excited about going interval training. When I came home, bathed in sweat I proceeded to grab some dumbbells, my yoga mat and started strength training. I thought ‘who is this person?’

On interval training
I was usually totally put off by the idea because the instructions were always so convoluted. They either changed from day to day or week to week and I have no idea how you are supposed to walk effectively with the instructions in one hand, stop watch in the other, whilst monitoring you heart rate. So I never bothered. I was intrigued when I read about using the outdoors to create an interval course and I figured that would suit me perfectly. So I embraced stairs, park benches, the timber rails along the sides of bike paths, dirt patches, surface changes, hills and any other thing that got my attention. And I had a wonderful time! It got me out of my head (apart from the occasional ‘who is this person’ thoughts) and focused on how I could push my body. I made up little ‘rules’ like every time I saw a dirt patch on the oval I would skip really fast or when I left the bike path I had to jog or I would jump over all the timber rails in one section or run along them in another. Each time I caught my breath after these bursts I would find a new activity to amuse myself and get my heart rate up. I presume that that is the idea of the usual instructions, but this was so much more natural and in tune with my environment which dovetails neatly with my cardinal rule of listening to my body and responding.

The other thing that worried me was not working hard enough both during cardio and weights. I am usually the first to go ‘too hard, I’m outta here’ but the class on Tuesday showed me how great it felt to push your limits. So what I found worked for me was:

  • set goals based on landmarks like ‘I’ll jog the length of these rails’ or skip fast until I get tangled up 5 times.
  • when doing yoga standing poses (or something where there isn’t a particular number of repetitions) play music that has regular changes in it like long rifts of music with no lyrics so the goal might be to hold the pose until the singing starts again.

I had so much fun pushing myself that I can’t wait to do it again. And when I reflect on my sore muscles I keep asking myself ‘who is this person’?

All of this has made me wonder about the person I actually am. If this peculiar being inside of me who is loving pushing herself physically really is me, then where has she been hiding for the last 15 years? Can we really hold ourselves back this much based on our beliefs of ourselves? Before I started walking regularly, I was sure of two things about myself; I don’t like pushing my body hard physically; I need to exercise because it’s healthy and has weight loss benefits but I may never love it. Two ideas that I have held for a long time, shattered in just one week.

I am really interested to see how my love of exercise develops especially over the coming days. We are spending a long weekend at the beach and I’ve always said I would be fit and healthy if I lived by the sea. But when on holidays I usually have to drag a very grumble bum out the door to do anything physical except for soaking in the ocean or pool. Is this the end of lazy me? We shall see. In the meantime on a very philosophical note, I’m curious to know are humans really the empty vessels that can be anything we want to be? Are our dreams are reflection on what is within us even if it seems distant from reality?


  1. I do understand the confusion over where this exercising person was hiding all that time! :)
    I've learned to simply embrace her and not dwell on what she might have been doing before I met her. :)

    Have a fantastic weekend!

  2. great job. once that feeling comes over you, it will only get stronger. It will only get stronger. Welcome it, embrace it, and be proud of all of your hard work and progress.

  3. great job. once that feeling comes over you, it will only get stronger. Welcome it, embrace it, and be proud of all of your hard work and progress.

  4. sorry don't know how that comment got on here twice!

  5. such a great job and SMART way to do it. I cant wait to watch as your passion for this grows and you teach *us* a thing or five :)

  6. WOW - some great stuff going on with you! :-)

  7. Great that you tried so many things!! Glad to hear you're coming around on this exercise thing..the more I personally dive into it (and i've been at this for literally 3/4 of my life) the more I realize my body hasn't experienced anything yet!

    Happy Friday!

  8. That's great. It's wonderful when exercise becomes a part of the lifestyle and it's really enjoyable!

    - Sagan

  9. Cammy - Good advice. I shall embrace her with all my might.
    Kristi - Thanks. I think it is getting stronger and I am feeling so excited about it!
    MizFit Thank you! I'm learning and loving it.
    Trish - Thanks!
    Rupal - I'm glad to hear it cause I'm looking forward to the journey like never before.
    Sagan - It is and yet you don't know until you try it. Funny world isn't it!



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