Lies and Lunges

by Amy

My trainer gave me some new exercises way back in April. They were hard, SO hard. Too hard. I couldn’t do them without feeling like I was going to puke, or feeling dizzy. And I was in pretty decent shape at that point – I had been working out at a decent intensity for months. I think I was stepping it up, but we stepped too far, too fast. I felt foolish, and weak, and like a fraud, because these exercises were kicking my butt. Not in a good way.

So, instead of taking it easy and modifying them, or maybe continuing with my previous workouts, or perhaps, even e-mailing my trainer to see if we could change them up? I just stopped.

Let me take this opportunity to tell you that if you are working out on a regular basis, stopping for any mental reason is just about the worst thing to do.

Finally, last week, after way too long off the exercise kick, I managed to get one walk and one workout in. This week, I am on expecting to get at least one walk and three weight workouts. But it’s hard – and I am finding that it’s actually harder mentally than it is physically.

In my head, I told myself that the new set of exercises (along with a serious pep talk!) that I got last week looked really hard. Tricep dips. Lunges.

I said, in my head, “I can’t do those. I am too out of shape. It has been too long since I worked out.”

Tonight, in a rare burst of bravery, I decided to build this week’s workout with tricep dips AND lunges.

Lunges scare me. All I can think of is Cindy Crawford and her long, long lunges. I could never do them the way she could in that workout of hers. I never got them right, and I always felt like I was about to really hurt myself when I tried, and I always had to stop early. So, last week, I decided to do them with a chair for balance, and do them small to start.

Tonight, I decided to try them again. Without even thinking about it, I did longer lunges and barely touched the chair. By the time my workout was through, I wasn’t using the chair at all.

I can do lunges. I can handle lunges just fine, on my terms.

The tricep dips were fine, too. I couldn’t do them for the whole time I was supposed to do them, but I did them for half. That is good enough.

The lie that I tell myself is that I have to get it right every time or the effort was wasted. I have to give 100% or I don’t deserve anything for my efforts.

The truth is that a workout done at half intensity is not wasted. A short walk is not meaningless. Every little bit helps.

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