In the last couple of years I have developed a passion for fitness. I have also enjoyed working out to some extent, running in college, walking up the hills of San Francisco in heels (a bit unsafe really), and group fitness cardio classes-but now I can truly say it has become a love of mine. I go to shred classes, I lift heavy weights, I soul cycle, I do stretches on the floor at home, I walk and run blocks with my dog, I have dance-off parties with my stepson. I find joy in moving my body in some way every day.
And then there's the struggle-the struggle in fitness is when the real growth happens, not just the physical kind, but the mental kind. The war cry of trainers "You can do ANYTHING for thirty seconds!!!" Yes, You can. Of course there are times when it just seems too much, when I want to give up, order a pizza, go home and lay on the couch. And occasionally I do. But when I do, I know I made a decision to take care of myself. The moments when I keep going though, oh those are brilliant. Because I prove to myself that I can do it, that I can trust myself, that I am stronger than I think, that I can control those negative scary thoughts for "thirty more seconds." When things become emotionally tough in my life, I remember those times when I thought I couldn't lift heavier, run farther, cycle faster, and I find inspiration there, for me.
I know fitness is not "easy" and I am lucky to have developed such a passion, but it also took years (maybe decades) of work. It is nearly impossible to convince my non-fitness minded friends that this passion is also actually fun, but I do hope it gives you something to consider. Being active includes so many different types of exercise, and you can achieve the same level of mindfulness and mental strength with even the "smallest" goals.
I have reposted a few quotes from one of my favorite articles about weightlifting and mental health by Henry Rollins after the jump. I hope you enjoy it.:
These quotes are from an essay written by Henry Rollins originally published in Details Magazine in 1994.
You can find the entire essay reposted here: http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/strength-articles/iron-henry-rollins
From: Iron and the Soul
By Henry Rollins
"It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you."
" I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout."
"Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart."
"The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back."