Ooohh, the torture of working out. You know what I'm talking about. Although I finally started really taking care of myself - working out and eating well - about five weeks ago, this is what used to run through my head. It was negative and self-destructive, and if this is what you think too, then just know...you're not alone.
A workout is very much like torture to me. It’s “a session of vigorous physical exercise or training” that causes me “great physical or mental suffering or anxiety“. It doesn’t matter that I should do it, or that its good for me, or that most of my friends do it, or that its temporary state. Working out is BY FAR my least favorite activity in the world.
The Physical Torture
Working out physically sucks. It’s a repetitive, never-ending state of uncomfortableness. You can’t ever stop or you lose all your gains. The space time continuum changes seconds into HOURS. Honestly, anyone else think one hour massages go by faster than a 2-minute plank?! Cute workout clothes accentuate the reasons I’m working out in the first place, but NOT cute workout clothes make me look homeless. My hair turns into a Medusa snake pit and lets not even talk about things like crotch sweat! Gasping for breath becomes a full-time job, and it just feels like I’m going to DIE…or want to. The sheer amount of effort and time it takes to actually get into shape is ridiculous! Expending that physical level of effort just never seemed worth it to me.
The Mental Torture
In addition to how much my body hates how it feels during workouts, the mental conversations I have with myself are exhausting. The voice in my head never, ever, ever shuts up. Like, EVER. It screams at me to stop when I feel my muscles burning, and then whispers at me to wait until any soreness goes away before working out again. It points out that I was never an athlete, so working out really isn’t that important. It reasons that if it’s not a part of my lifestyle by now, then it never will be. It presumes that anyone who tries to motivate me during a workout is being condescending, because every “You can do it!” just highlights the belief in my head that I can’t.
That insistent voice emphasizes every single negative thing about the experience, telling me to stop, to give up, to accept that being in shape just isn’t meant for me. But the voice’s MOST compelling argument is that I should just be happy the way I am, and that the world should be too. Right?
The Psychological Torture
If the physical and mental aspects of working out weren’t bad enough, the absolute WORST thing about it for me are the emotional transactions that happen internally. In my mind, it seems ~so easy~ for other people to workout. It’s not like it takes all day, and there are so many ways to do it that I should be able to find ~something~ I like to do, right!? Maybe 1/3 of Americans are overweight, but the other 200,000,000 million people are getting it right. Not to mention other millions (maybe billions?) of people all around the world. So why can’t I!?
The Honest Truth
I’m a smart, happy, successful independent woman who has everything going for her. I’ve hired personal trainers, changed my diet countless times, read tons of self-help books, and even won $20,000 once for a body transformation…but nothing sticks. I’m always back at square one. So why can’t get my sh*t together in this one area?! Whyyyyyyyyyy!?!?! I feel SO ashamed and inadequate and unworthy. Ugh.
So if I’m being completely honest, I mostly hate working out because in that small window of time between the second and third sets of torturous burpees, in those endless minutes when I feel like the perfect trinity of my absolute WORST self … I hate the me that I become.
Thankfully, I no longer quite feel this way. Over the last few weeks, I’ve gained a few tools that have made a huge difference for me, which I’ll share in later posts. For now, just know that if this is you too, if this is how you feel, then I invite you to join me on my fitness journey. No one should ever have to feel this way, and I made a promise to myself that I never would. More to come on fitness!
“I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t.”
– Neila Ray