This post originally aired on April 4, 2013 in the-fitness-blog-that-shall-not-be-named. For backstory, read Out in the open.
I don’t think I can count the number of times I’ve tried to start an exercise program. Certainly more than all my fingers and toes combined. Even this year, despite my deep aversion to New Years resolutions, I decided I wanted to start again in January. *eyeroll*
Pretty sure you can see how that turned out.
Then several things happened in a vague, ostensibly random order that seemed to be the Universe conspiring to get me off my ass. The first was that I was in Staples and ran into an old friend of mine. We stopped to chat, right next to a stand of Fitbits. I’ve not had the best success with them, as I’ve already killed two — one, death by washer and the second, dock fail. But really, another one? Well, it was January, and I was probably loopy on something, and ended up buying one, thinking something along the lines of “third time’s the charm!” Yeah, right. (By the way, I did immediately lose the USB charging cord and had to buy yet another one, but so far the Fitbit itself is still intact.) I totally love the data stream that comes from them, and I especially love that they track sleep patterns. There’s motivating factor number one.
The second was a group of Les Mills instructors defecting from my gym to set up their own group class studio close to my house. They were looking for people to participate in a study, and I got in. For four weeks, I attended the new BodyVive class and gave feedback. The important takeaway here was that I had some very kind people gradually getting me motivated — and since it was a study, I knew I couldn’t cop out. I had to make it three times a week. So I went, and gradually, you could tell my cardio was improving. It was slow, but I could see it. There’s motivating factor number two.
Then the weirdest thing happened. I got a very last minute chance to go to SXSW. That in itself should have had NO IMPACT, but I remembered the last time I was in Austin for a conference, I didn’t have the right shoes for all the walking (or the lungs, but let’s not go there). So this time I packed my Keen sandals and got moving. And with the warm weather, and the walking, and my Fitbit, I discovered I’d typically walk at least five miles each day at SXSW.
Can you imagine? FIVE. MILES. A. DAY.
And since I had been doing the BodyVive classes, I had the cardio to keep up. I actually enjoyed the walking. I was amazed to see I could get to 10,000 steps every day. My feet were fine, and I just kept going. Success, it is addicting. Motivating factor number three, right there.
So fast forward to my return to Pennsylvania. I have to tell you, it sucked. I went from 80 degree weather in sandals to 40 degree weather in coats. With snow and wintery mix coming down every other day. Total suckage. I had been so excited about coming home and walking to and from the studio, and then reality slapped me in the face. I could feel the backslide set in.
And here’s motivating factor number four. I’m not proud of it, but I’ll be honest with you: it’s called frustration. There are a bunch of things that fall into this category, and they elicit a bunch of strong reactions — reactions that need to be exorcised from my brain, body and spirit. And somehow, that ended up with me on the elliptical machine at the gym. At first it was maaaaybe three times a week for thirty minutes. And then I remembered my nutritionist set the goal at an hour a day, five days a week. I wondered how far I could go in an hour. And for whatever reason, it works. I put my earphones on, I step up to the machine, punch in the workout (right now it’s interval training), and I go. And I go. Go, Robin, go. Right now I’m consistently getting 4 miles in — and I never thought I could say that. When I’m finished, I’m hot, sweaty, soaked, and definitely winded.
But I’m 4 miles farther than I was the day before. And that’s what I focus on.
So, this is where it’s at. I don’t know if I can leverage this into a long term thing, but I’m damned well going to try. And let this be a lesson to those of you who don’t believe you have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting motivated. Sometimes, it’s the little things that you never figured on that get you there.
Go, Robin, go.