today, i want to talk about support.
no, i'm not about to go into a diatribe about sports bras (although, really? they're so bad. i just use my old bras and take them out of "regular" rotation...). i'm going to talk about how, when you're working out, you must have people in your life who you can a) vent to when your frustration level is peaking and b) be sure will push you past what you believe your limits are.
on my regular blog, i often talk about how much i love body combat. i love it. i've been doing it for about six months, and it is probably my favorite part of every week. that may sound stupid, but in one sixty minute class, i find challenge and encouragement. my favorite instructor makes me work harder through a finely honed combination of guilt and encouragement. she challenges me with the choreography and with her expectation and i, like the group exercise junkie that i am, follow. unfortunately, i can't keep that instructor in my pocket to tell me what to do when i feel like i don't want to go to the gym, when i don't think i can keep running, when i don't see the results that i want.
like it or not, i think exercise, fitness, and weight loss pursuit is the most psychologically demanding thing i've ever done. and i've finished a dissertation, so that's saying something.
it will take everything out of you sometimes, and that's when you need your dream team in place. you need someone by your side, metaphorically or literally, who understands you and what you're going through, who you want to impress, who you want to make proud, who you admire and who sees in you all of the things that you hope to be, that you can be, that you are.
this isn't about accountability. i don't believe you should have to answer to anyone other than yourself, because if the reason you're doing something is so you can tell someone else, it won't last. the motivation has to come from inside of you. but we all get tired, and we all need encouragement, especially when all concrete numbers seem to not indicate any sort of progress at all.
in the dark times, you need the support that you don't have the strength to give yourself.
your dream team doesn't have to be physically near you. sometimes, a little electronic pep talk can do wonders. one of my dream team members is meg. you know her--she posts every thursday. she is the person that i can email with my long rambling rants and she can wade through the nonsense to get right to the heart of the matter. we rarely see each other in person (why is that?), but there have been many times when we've used email as our way to reach out and find solace in the times when nothing seems to be working.
one of her awesome reminders to me last week, when i was hitting a hard place in my journey, was that i had already come so far: "i think you'll be surprised at how muscular you actually are. you are buff. you have been working out like a mad woman since we joined the gym...what seems like forever ago." she encouraged me to take a scary step (body fat measurement!) that she thought would really help, and then she shared her own struggles with the psychology of being a woman trying to navigate body image in a world that is just not kind.
it really helped.
the other member of my dream team right now is my husband, who has had a fitness fire lit under him. why? he has a goal. he wants to play intermural rugby, and knows he needs to get into better cardiovascular shape in order to endure such a rugged sport. we went to the stadium last week and we did running intervals. let me say first: i am not a runner. i would like to be a runner, and one of my grandest dreams is to run a 5K--the whole thing--but i just struggle with it. between my knees, my glutes, and my lungs, it seems like everything is screaming at some point "STOP!"
but my sweet husband just kept going with me. he just kept telling me he knew that i could do it. he didn't guilt trip me, he didn't make me feel badly for stopping or for running so VERY VERY SLOW. he just encouraged me to keep going...even when i thought i could go no further.
i ended up doing more because HE believed i could. i'm not completely convinced that he was always right, but there's something intensely motivating about someone who believes that purely in you, who sees your potential as completely reachable, who never doubts your capacity to be amazing.
everyone needs that. everyone needs those moments amid the chaos of thoughts that encourage you to stop. my husband even threw back at me the convoluted, but valid, logic that i threw at him when he was doing chest presses earlier that week, the line that makes up today's title--that every step, every rep, every ramp, every kick, every punch, everything you choose to do is more than you would have done if you chose not to do it at all.
sometimes those choices are made infinitely easier by having people in your corner who know you can get back into that fight.
feeling like you're bleeding, sweaty, beaten down by your journey? go back to your corner and get encouraged by your dream team. find the people who make you feel inconquerable and strong and able. put them in your corner. let them bandage you up and send you back out there. take a moment, inbetween the metaphorical bells, and listen to the words of the people who know who you are.
then go out there and do it. if they know you can do it, believe them until you believe yourself again.
it works, i promise.
(proof positive? i'm doing body combat AND superset conditioning today. my dream team works.)