Monday, July 6, 2009

Showing up is (more than) half the battle

The other morning, I had just finished up swimming laps and doing paddleboard drills for 40 minutes when I saw a guy from another floor of my condo building out of the deck of our rooftop pool giving me a thumbs up. I finished tying my lavender fleece Hello Kitty robe and walked over, giving him a high five.

"Man, you're my inspiration!" this fellow, an entrepreneur in his fifties, said to me. "You're out here, gettin' it done!"

"Well, showing up is at least half of the battle," I replied.

"Man," he continued, all jazzed up, "I just signed up for the _________ Challenge; I'm gonna lose 25 pounds and kick some ass!"

"Right on!" I replied as I stepped onto the elevator.

I wish this dude all the luck in the world, but I'm not optimistic. I've seen him appear and disappear from the top-floor fitness room in our condo. He's told me about the juicing/detox workout system he was doing, this one workout thing, this other workout challenge, and so on for a few years now. My point of view is this: if any of these worked, you wouldn't be doing another one ever three to six months. I have to say that he never seems to look any different to me. He's the same size, shape, etc. everytime I see him. And he doesn't look bad, mind you, but he never seems to look any more or less in shape. (Maybe I'm not paying that much attention, either. I'm awfully self-absorbed at times.)

I've been working out every morning, six days a week, for almost eight years now. People get kinda blown away when I say that, but the truth is that showing up is often the hardest part about getting into shape. Making yourself put on the t-shirt and shorts and go to the gym, or lacing up the sneakers and going for a walk or run, or rolling out the mat and doing yoga...that first step or two, the showingupness, that's often the hardest part. Everyone has different reasons for not showing up: I got busy, I was tired, I'm not seeing any results, skipping once won't hurt anyone. Then they don't show up again, and then they don't show up yet again, and then they quit showing up.

I can't not show up for a variety of reasons. Even if I drag through my workout and take it easy, I need the activity to reset my mood. Ever since I had to go off birth control pills about five years ago (they unnaturally jacked up my blood pressure), I've had to use exercise and the ensuing endorphin release to moderate my mood. I realized ust how much I depended on that boost when I sprained my ankle two years ago and couldn't work out. I was a ball of cranky fury for about three or four months. But even though I couldn't do much, I'd strap on my walking boot or wrap my ankle in a brace and limp to my yoga mat and do a few seated poses and a few exercises that my physical therapist gave me. Soemtimes I'd limp upstairs to the gym and do some upper body and abs stuff, just something. And sometimes, especially early on, I would limp into the living room, roll out my mat, and just lay on it for half an hour. I just kept showing up.

And now, even still, I get up and do some yoga, go to the gym, go for a run, go up to the pool, whatever. Some mornings I'm hell on wheels and make great time, have tons of energy. Some mornings I drag through. Most mornings I'm in between. But I show up. I show up, and while I'm there I might as well lift something or run somewhere or do something. Showing up is the first step for any endeavor--work, hobbies, relationships, everything, anything. Just show up--you'll figure out the rest.


BaxtersMum said...

True that.

Same with pony.

Have joined a gym - missed the last month because of excuses.

started back last week - bag is packed, coworker work out buddy is primed, and I'm starting interval training to see if it works better for me.

but showing up - very much key.

Miss Kitty said...

Same wif teh kittehs. They make me show up. >^..^<

And my word verification is CONGB.

Mile High Pixie said...

Baxtermum: Yayz! Keep it up! Do whatever it takes to keep showing up. These days, it's such a habit for me that I'd no sooner skip a workout than skip taking a shower.

Kitteh: I noes ur kittehs maek u show up. They wakes u up lulz!

Amy BB said...

You are so right and I have had that mantra in my head this week. I've signed up for Ultimate Bootcamp, a butt kicking workout that is 4 days a week for 4 weeks from 6-7 am.

I'm in hell - but I paid to be here and I'm going to show up, even if I need grab bars at every chair I manage to fall into in order to get up.

In fact, so I can have the option of staying late at work, I am continuing the morning duty of walking the dogs. My alarm goes off at 4:30 am. ugh!