I’ve always been an active kid. My parents would make my brothers and I go outside and run around, we spent our days climbing fences, swinging from trees, and riding our bikes around town from park to park. I’m sure I complained, but really I loved it. I’ve always loved getting active. I grew up playing sports in school then graduated to the adult world of fitness centres.
In recent years I took up running, and more recently heavy weight lifting. I’m not here to tell you to do the same, or prophesize about how it will change your life, but I will tell you why I go to the gym or run long distances or pay a someone to kick my ass.
It would be boorish for me to tell you that I never think about how I look or that looks have nothing to do with my going to the gym. I mean it does keep me looking a certain way, and a way that I like, but that is in no way my motivation. I think for a while it was my motivation, years ago. Not unhealthily so, but you know, so I looked good.
I found that when I tied my fitness motivations to how I looked, I rarely ever saw progress or felt like I was accomplishing much. It wasn’t even that this was a major draw for me, but you start thinking, why am I even going if it doesn’t make a difference?
It wasn’t until I started running and focused my goals strictly on how much I could improve, how much easier things felt, or how much further I could run that I noticed a change. I was more empowered, saw results, and was actually excited about getting out to work out. I started to place goals for things that I never thought possible, I decided to run a 10k. Well I kind of jested at the idea of running a 10k, thinking it would never happen.
I set the goal for ‘whenever it feels doable,’ because I wanted to make sure that it was achievable and still fun. The first time I actually finished a 10k run without walking blew my mind. Then I just kept on running those 10km’s until I got to the point where I needed a new challenge. About two years later I decided to take on a half marathon, which once again blew my mind. Before I started running I honestly thought that it was an impossibility. After completing the first half marathon I realized that I could probably do a lot more than I gave myself credit for.
I started to add goals that were suitable for me but still out of reach and then I gave myself plenty of room to fail. As long as I was consistently trying, I was winning. This took the pressure off and allowed me to be patient with myself.
About a year ago I decided to make my gym goal being strong. It doesn’t make my shape, how I look, or how much I weigh the focus. It centres me on my physical ability to do something I couldn’t do before.
Lately my goals have looked something like ‘squat more than my body weight,’ ‘do a headstand,’ and ‘do a pull up,’ which I genuinely never thought in my entire lifetime I’d be able to accomplish. So, when the day comes that I am able to pull my chin over a bar without any assistance I’ll be over the moon.
And that is why I work out, its this amazing, rewarding challenge that tests me and pushes me to do things I never thought I could.
I feel my very best then when I am walking out of the gym having just picked up something heavy or ran further or faster than I did the week before. I’m proud of what I can do, and it reminds me to push myself past my own limitation in all aspects of my life.