Life in the Fast Lane


In a Relationship With... Exercise

By 5:26 PM , , , , , , , , ,

The alarm goes off at 4:45 on a Tuesday morning, an ungodly hour by 90% of the world's standards. Knowing that it's coding day and I'd have to be in the office by 7, I have no choice but to start my day extra early.

Groggy, I stumble out of bed, and make my way to my closet. I grab the first dri-fit top and jogging pants that I see, do some stretches, put on my running shoes, stick my earphones in my ears, clip on my iPod Shuffle, and head out the door. The sun hasn't even risen and I've already done a 3K workout; by the time the sun's out, I'm on my way to work.

Sunrise shot at 5:20am on one of my morning runs.

Those who exercise regularly probably know what I'm talking about. The more you engage in it, the more you feel like you're "in a relationship" with it.

How so?
  • Exercising is a commitment — a commitment to be disciplined and to do it regularly.
  • Exercising requires you to "spend time" with it, even if you don't always want to.
  • Exercising is a two-way to street: the more you give (or invest in it), the more you get.
  • Exercising is a clingy beast — the more you try to stay away from it, the more it makes you miss it.
  • Exercising gives you a guilt trip — the more you try to stay away from it, the guiltier you feel.
I'm at that stage now where I seriously enjoy it, and I really miss it on my rest days/if I don't get to exercise when I go home late from work (which I try to avoid). My cousin who's into CrossFit also tells me how guilty she feels whenever she has to skip a WOD session for school-related reasons, for example.

But there are days when it feels like such a chore. Seriously.  

Sometimes, I wish I didn't have to wake up so early just to squeeze in a run. Sometimes, I wish that, at the end of a long day at work, I could just lie down instead of bringing out the weights for strength training. Sometimes, I wish that, on Saturday mornings, I didn't have to get up at 7 to hit the pool. I'm only human after all. Honestly, there's that part of me that would rather to plop in front of the TV with a bag of chips.

But when I'm tempted to forgo exercise, I just think of the benefits. Friends, relatives, and family members excitedly report to me how strong they feel now or how much weight they've lost. (My dad, for instance, lost eight inches after months of jogging and eliminating rice/carbs from his diet.) They inspire me greatly. Their stories keep me going, no matter how taxing it can get to exercise regularly.

On my end, by God's grace, I've seen and felt a lot of changes. I've lost weight, gained muscle, my stamina has greatly improved (a far cry from my huffing and puffing months ago when I started running seriously), and I feel stronger (I now swim double the number of laps that I used to swim). I'm no superwoman — in fact, the flu bug bit me a few weeks back — but I'm less lethargic, even during those "food coma hours" (i.e. after lunch). 

And so I force myself to be a dutiful "girlfriend" or "wife", get out of bed, and change to my workout clothes. 

Corgis on a treadmill. If their short legs can handle this, so can we!
(Image nicked from Google.)

Because if I don't, my "boyfriend" or "husband", Mr. Exercise, might just berate me the next time I try to contact him by giving me shin splints or lactic acid build-up.

How are you and exercise doing? Any progress stories you'd like to share? I hope you're both going strong!

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