Struggling To Start
When I first began the journey to reclaim my health, I struggled with daily feelings of personal failure and disappointment. Couldn’t run right. Couldn’t swim right. Biking was difficult. Everyone around me was bench pressing twenty reps with half a dozen plates on each side. But I couldn’t handle anything other than the tiny weights, without shaking or losing control. I had overwhelming feelings of inadequacy because I’d sweat uncontrollably and lose my breath when I would try cardio. And I was constantly angry. So I trained alone because I didn’t want anyone to see how bad I was. And I didn’t want anyone to hear me belittling at myself.
Then, one terrible, sweaty day on the track, an older woman who frequented the gym at the same time each day started to glide past me as I tried to grind through my workout. Then she matched pace alongside me. Her arms pistoning like an alpine skier. A huge smile across her face. She said, “Honey, you are trying TOO hard. Want to be a better you? Get a little better each day. You can’t do it all at once.” Then she accelerated back up to her pace and left me alone with all my sweat and angry thoughts.
Eventually I understood. She’d seen me in the weight room. And the spin room. And on the track. And she saw what I couldn’t. That I was measuring myself based on other people’s abilities. On other people’s performances. Instead of focusing on my pace as an individual, I was struggling (literally injuring myself in some case) to match the performance of people who had probably spent months (if not years) developing their abilities.
So I throttled back my efforts. Focused on fixing my form instead of maxing my power. Stopped looking at other people’s weights. Didn’t worry how my pace was compaired to theirs. And after a while, things started to suck less. Little by little. The sweating lessened. The breathing improved. Once, with a lot of practice and gradual improvement, I broke a six minute mile. (But just once.)
I’m me. I’m not anyone else. I can’t lift more than any of the twenty-something guys in my gym. Hell, I can’t lift half as much as some of them. But for a lanky, middle-aged nerd who never played a team sport in his life, I am happy with what I lift. I’m not the fastest runner, or second fastest runner in my age group. I’m probably in the bottom third. But I can run faster and run further than every guy sitting at home on the weekend.
Patience and a focus on personal improvement are all that is needed to get started. Then get a little better each day. Just get off the sofa and do something. Anything is always better than nothing. Always.
123 Days Of Stepping It Up
In Dec of 2018, I had my first 30 day streak with 6,000-10,000 steps per day. At the time, I thought: 30 wasn’t bad, lets do 60! In early Feb of 2019, I had my first 60 day streak with 6,000-10,000 steps per day. So I thought : 60 wasn’t bad, lets do 100! In late March of 2019, I had my first 100 day streak with 6,000-10,000 steps per day. And in April, it hit 123 days, with no sign of stopping. Odd as it may sound, by lunch time I can usually feel if I’m going to be short on steps or not And by evening time, I’ll start figuring out what needs to be done to keep the streak alive for the day. Being mindfulRead more
Six Months Without Coffee
Six months ago, with little fanfare and no real planning, I stopped drinking coffee. For me, it wasn’t a difficult change. I simply replaced it with a custom blend of tea. And I’ve been impressed enough with the results to stick with it. If you’re curious or on the fence about a change of your own, keep reading. First, why did I want to give up coffee? At the time, I was drinking a cup of modified Bullet Proof Coffee for breakfast, and two to three additional cups throughout the day. As with most coffee drinkers, I noticed the effects of the caffeine wore off quicker. It felt like dropping off a cliff. And I’d even get a bit cranky between cups. Plus, I don’t like cheap stuff.Read more