fitness

Head vs. Heart

Happy Hump Day, or, as it is known in my neck of the woods, middle of Hellth Week. 3 days of GPP’s Hellth Week down, 3 to go!

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The first few days of Hellth Week were extremely cold, but nevertheless I’ve been trucking on.

What’s Hellth week? Hellth Week is a week-long challenge where GPP throws its roughest, toughest workouts at you. There’s generally no programming behind this week, unlike normal GPP workouts. Hellth Week is designed to push you hard and help you tighten up ship on any bad habits that have slipped into your routine—we’re specifically targeting added sugar this go around.

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Hellth week (my second) has been tough for me. I took a workout break for a few weeks around the Holidays and just really got back into the swing of things last week. To jump head first into this challenge has, of course, been physically taxing. My legs are so sore.

But I’m surprised by how mentally challenging I’ve found the week to be. It’s me vs. me as my heart and head battle it out. My heart wants to persevere and stand strong. My head wants to quit. The two have been fighting it out during every single workout this week, with today’s being the worst.

Two rounds into today’s 10 round workout I wanted nothing more than to turn around and run (okay, maybe more like slow walk) home. But I kept moving by letting my head talk me into just completing 8 rounds. “That will be good enough,” my head told my heart. I completed all 10 rounds and let my heart give a nice, big “F You!” to my head.

You know what’s good enough? My best. And nothing less.

Truthfully I’ve been pretty afraid throughout Hellth Week, so far. Afraid of failing. Afraid of being the  slowest. Afraid of working out in the cold.

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My good friend Annie has taken to using this saying a lot lately. I didn’t think about it too much until this week, but it’s really been resonating with my soul as my head and heart collide.

Afraid to fail? How about getting out of the way of succeeding. Afraid of being the slowest? Applaud yourself for completing what you set out to do, no matter how long it took you. Afraid of the cold? Warm your muscles up before starting the workout to prevent injury and count your blessings you have the space to workout.

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Assume the best and only the best for yourself. Why automatically fear the negatives? All that negativity and fear do not put you in a place of success and motivation—they just drag you down. Choose to meditate on thoughts that will lift you up, even when you feel like the challenge ahead of you is impossible.

My goal for the second half of Hellth Week is to stay positive and assume the best. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m up for the challenge.

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I’ve also been working on foam rolling and stretching every day. Flexibility, in general, is one area of physical fitness that I am weak. I don’t have a lot of patience to sit around and stretch. I’ve been doing it before bed each night and I think it’s made a big difference in keeping the soreness level lower than it otherwise would be.

I’ll check in at the end of the week and let you know how it all panned out.

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Who’s serving who?

Every summer, in Japan, there is a breaking point when you suddenly realize it’s HUMID and that the humidity isn’t going away. The humidity always seems to seep in overnight, undetected. One day you just wake up and feel like, “Where the hell did the humidity come from?”

Well, folks… the humidity is here to stay. Running outside in the middle of the day is impossible for me. I can’t breathe without feeling like I’m suffocating from the moisture in the air. So it’s wake up and run at 6 AM or don’t run… starting tomorrow.

So, onto the title of this post. Who’s serving who?

This post was inspired by the video embedded in this GPP post. I’ve been feeling really bogged down lately spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I feel like there’s this mental block in my way.

I haven’t regularly lifted or done anything except run in weeks. I haven’t been eating very well or taking great care of myself either, truth be told. Where did all my enthusiasm for lifting and weight loss go?

I love exercise. I do. But I love exercise because of the way it affects my life outside of the gym, not the way it makes me look. Looking good (for me) is not a strong enough motivator to devote daily time to working out. In the last 2 months I’ve gotten my priorities twisted and forgot that I do not serve exercise, but rather exercise is to serve me outside of the gym. I exercise (and encourage others to do so, too) so that I can lead my best and most fulfilling life outside of the gym walls.

It’s not about what I look like and when I make it about my appearance I quickly lose interest in everything except running. Running is never about weight loss, looking good, or getting skinny for me… I run because it makes me feel strong and I love it. I need to make that mental switch to other activities, too.

I exercise because it affords me these benefits:

  • stress relief
  • better relationship with my husband
  • confidence
  • mentally focused
  • mood booster
  • pushes me into a place where I’m ready to be close to God

There are obvious physical benefits that naturally come along with eating well and exercising regularly, but I don’t want that to be the focus of my life or my exercise.

So, who’s serving who? Starting today I’m flipping it back to having my exercise serve me outside the gym. I will live my life and be healthy, but I won’t be a slave to exercise. That is not health.