How Hard Should You Work On Your Fitness Goals?
Getting to the Gym on a Rainy Day
As the gray rain patters against my office window, when I would rather stay in my sweater and drink coffee at my computer (but know I should go to the gym), this is a question I ask myself.
I know it’s something many of my clients relate to. Here in the northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the nights get longer and colder, it’s easy to respond to the shift in seasons and go into hibernation mode. To some extent, it’s normal and natural and healthy. Our bodies respond to the rhythms of nature just like our circadian rhythms fall in line with patterns of darkness and light.
It takes willpower to push yourself to exercise on days like this, no doubt.
But as I ponder whether I should push myself into athleisure and get myself behind a barbell, I think of a car.
Yes, a car.
For those of us who drive regularly, we know that there’s a sweet spot of operation for any car. Pushed too hard, without enough oil changes or without enough gas, any car will fall apart – even the slickest, highest performance sports car on the planet. But on the other hand, we don’t do a car any favors when we cover it up and leave it in the driveway for months, either.
Last week, my husband got the oil changed in his beloved Saab convertible. This weekend, we noticed how different it felt to drive it – nothing felt wrong with it before, but now it veritably purred down the street.
Similarly, it’s hard for us to know sometimes that we were under-fueled until after we feel the positive difference. This means that it takes experimentation, and willingness to make changes, to experience that positive change and see it in contrast.
The Sweet Spot
There is a sweet spot – enough use, and enough care. When those two domains intersect, you’re looking at optimal performance.
If you’re wondering how to incorporate more exercise into your life (and how to summon the willpower to get yourself to the gym), ask yourself first:
- Am I sleeping enough each night?
- Am I well-fueled with healthful, energizing foods?
- Am I well-rested with recreation and sufficient space?
Make sure to fill your self-care tanks, and you may find that getting to the gym is easier than you think. You may have to push yourself to get into your workout clothes, into the rain, and into the car, but you’ll have enough “gas in the tank” for it to make your day better, not worse.