No, I'm not talking about marriage. I am talking about exercise.
This morning as I was sweating my way through a series of roundhouse kicks it clicked. I LOVE kickboxing. It's fun. It gives me a sense of power. It lets out stress and it makes me sweat. When I turn on that particular DVD, I am psyched and ready to go. I can't say that for the elliptical machine, or the Jillian Michaels DVD that, while I admit is an effective workout, makes me want to lie down and die more than get up and moving.
A few months ago, a member of my mom's group arrived at a playgroup event really excited about some exercise move she had done that morning. She was so excited she wanted to demonstrate it to us. Being that most of us are not particularly enamoured of exercise, and that this particular mom is one of those people the rest of us women envy because she is in amazing shape and is totally dedicated to staying that way, we made fun of her. Partially because she is a skinny bitch. Partially because we didn't get it. We couldn't imagine being so stoked about exercise.
There are as many ways to lose weight and get in shape as there are women dying to drop 20 lbs and look great again (or look great for the first time!). There are trendy workouts that come and go. There are thousands of dollars in fitness equipment sitting in garages and basements collecting dust and there are plenty of people watching money leave their bank account every month for a gym membership they never use. There are stacks of workout DVDs each with a different purpose and different uber-fit woman on the cover. Or man, but mostly women because let's face it, much of that stuff is marketed towards us - women.
We buy it, we try it, we hate it, we forget it. We do it over and over. Because if you don't enjoy doing it, if you are forcing yourself to do it, it simply won't ever become the habit - the essential part of your life - that it HAS to be in order to work long term.
Just because a particular work out helped your friend lose weight doesn't mean it will work for you, and yet we all run out and sign up for the classes or buy the DVD. And when it doesn't work, when we give up on it a week or two later, we feel it's just us. We just aren't as motivated, don't have the will power. We will never be "that person". The thing is, you shouldn't be that person - you should be THIS person - who you are. And you have to find the method that you can love.
I have a friend who lost weight doing Zumba, is now in great shape, and teaches the classes. It's not for everyone, but it works for her. I know people who love to run and people who love to swim. Almost everyone I know who has been successful in getting in shape and making exercise part of their life successfully got there doing something they really love. None of them dread working out. Sure, all of them have days when they don't feel up to it, but because they love what they are doing, they find the motivation. They find the time. It's something they do because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. It's the difference between success and failure.
I used to take kickboxing classes and I loved them. I had a DVD I haven't looked at in a while. I pulled it out the other day because I lost my Jillian Michaels DVD - and I remembered how much I love it. Every punch, every kick, is therapy to me. It's fun, and I was sweating like crazy but not wishing it was over. It isn't the first time it has occurred to me that kickboxing is something I really enjoy, or that I could probably stick to it better if I focused on doing what I enjoy. But for some reason I didn't connect it with that moment at playgroup. It didn't really, truly, break through to me. I kept trying all these different things because they worked for others and I thought maybe it was a better workout.
There might be workouts that burn more calories or build more muscle, but it makes no difference if I don't actually do them. No workout works better than the one you actually do.
Now I get it. And I am sorry for laughing at my playgroup friend who was trying to share her passion. Although, she is still a skinny bitch.