Sunday, 7 February 2016

Fitness Fibs - Lies We Tell Ourselves

Two things that made me cringe when I originally wrote that title:

1 - I worried it makes me sound like I think I'm some kind of "expert", which would translate to everyone else as "unqualified douche nugget who probably can't even outrun a tranquilized sloth in a weight vest."  This only makes me want to write this post more, because clearly I need it just as much as, if not more than, anyone else.

2 - I originally wrote "Lies Women Tell Themselves," which is ridiculous because I don't think only those of us with certain chromosomes are entitled to feeling a bit insecure about our abilities.  Unless I'm totally wrong and "The Men" are just pretending in order to somehow get the better of us women folk in a way that we are too distracted by knitting and chocolate to grasp. God.  Men, huh? 

That was a joke.  I like men.  You guys are great. *Eyes you all suspiciously*

I should probably tell you what this post is about now.  I've been an enthusiastic (and oftentimes unenthusiastic) casual/amateur pursuer of fitness for a few years now.  I've transformed from girl who fakes "hurty ear" as an excuse to get out of P.E...actually, hurty ANYTHING to get out of P.E in into adult woman who enthusiastically turns down Friday nights out on this piss so she can go hang out at the gym on Saturday morning until it feels like her lungs are coming out of her butt.  She can also bench press a bus.

I lied about the bus.  Point is, I do some kind of physical activity (running and/or CrossFit) 3-5 times a week (depending on the week) and even though it took me a long time to get here, I now love it almost (almost!  Let's not go crazy) as much as I love cake.  I'm not super fit.  I'm not even sure if I'm average, but I've got to a stage where I know that I will come away from that day's workout feeling happier, saner and stronger than when I went in.  

 Image 1 - How I used to spend my Friday nights (now how I spend the odd Saturday night instead.  What?  I said I'd changed a bit, not had a personality transplant. Jeez.  Go get me a beer)
Image 2 - How I mostly Spend my Saturday mornings now instead of crying because I want pizza and a cuddle.

I haven't always felt this way about exercise.  On some days, I still don't, but those days are getting rarer.  On these "off" days, I find that I lie to myself (like that one about the bus.  Maybe I could bench a toy bus though.  So technically not a lie?), but at least now I know well enough that my brain is just telling me fibs again in order to get me back to the sofa sooner, which is closer to the cake. I'm sure it means well.  It's hard to stay angry at a body part with such a strong devotion to getting me cake.

From personal experience and speaking to others, I think a lot of these lies are universal barriers to living more actively, so I'm writing them down in the hope that people like me will see them and realise that they're just dastardly fibbers too.  Here goes:

1.  I'm not a natural
Who is?  For every Usain Bolt there are fifty bazillion gajillion (fact.  I counted on my fingers. I have a lot of fingers) "regular" people who can only learn something and become competent at it by doing that thing over and over and over again.  And then again some more after a snack break.  Pretty sure even Usain has to keep doing the sprinting thing over and over and over again in between filming Virgin Media ads too.  It's not glamorous or easy, but that's just how it is.  And the great thing is that once you "get it" on your bajillion and twelfth go, you can celebrate that little bit harder because you know how much work you put into getting there.  Fuck it, throw in a victory dance if you have the energy!  I did one push up a year or so ago and didn't shut up about it for a week.

Did I mention that I can do a push up now?  Sometimes I can even do two!

2.  I have to be fit already to keep up with group workouts
Nope.  You have to be willing to turn up and do what the workout, even if you come last.  And if the class/gym/running club you've gone to get all sweaty with is any good, coming last will be applauded because you stuck at it until the end.  Also because you are a badass who worked out for longer than everyone else and still had the balls to not take the easy route and give up.  As long as you're doing as much as you can do, everyone there will know that you've tried just as hard as them.  If not harder. Go you and your balls!

3.  I don't look the part
If you have at least a semi functioning human body, you look the part. In the running club I used to go to, I often used to think I looked like a three legged pug chasing after gazelles. When I started CrossFit, I thought I looked like Tim Burton drew my arms on in comparison with some of the gun shows on display there.  I don't look that much different now, but I don't care because I'm constantly finding out I can do things that I previously thought I couldn't.  No one is judging you for how you look. 

4.  I've been doing this a while now and I'm not getting "good" fast enough
First of all, what does "good" mean?  How do you quantify it? "Good" is such a vague notion that if you strive for this alone, you'll never feel like you're enough.  This is the one I'm worst for and I continually have to "logic" myself out of it.  When you see people progress at a faster rate than you, or worse, you see someone who is totally new at what you've been doing for ages best your efforts right away, it can be heart breaking.  You have two options here; Give up, go home and cry into some ice cream or remember that everyone is different and you can probably do something that they covet...and then go happily eat some ice cream.  Either way, you get ice cream.  What was the point I was trying to make again? 

 Small weights, big improvement considering I couldn't lift a plastic bar over my head without getting a bit of a wobble on (not an exaggeration) 2 years ago.

5.  I can't do it
Unless it's reciting the Russian alphabet backwards and simultaneously inventing time travel (Wait! Do you think that's how we can crack time travel?  Who speaks Russian and how can I copyright that idea? Dibs on that idea!) yep, you can.  Slow down, concentrate on doing what you're doing well and safely (ask a coach/trainer/magical gym genie if you're not sure how) and keep going. You'll get there, if only so you can turn around to your past self and those people who are in the same place you were and tell them that it's 100% possible.

I've nicked  borrowed all the photos (bar the "pint cow" one) in this post from Outcast CrossFit Swansea's Facebook page.  If anyone from the Swansea area wants to join in in having sweaty times (ooh, matron!) with a bunch of people who are so supportive that you'll end up regularly going on the internet to spout about fitness despite being heavily under qualified to offer fitness advice, this is a great place to start.  It's not a cult, honest.

 "One of us!  One of us!" 

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