I’ve never been one of those people who particularly enjoys exercise, seeing it as a necessary evil in order to prevent my love of food leaving me completely sedentary and ordering people to thrown into Sarlacc Pits.
I’ve even always been a little suspicious of those people who claim to actually love it and actively seeking it out for its own sake.
So, I’ve been actually quite surprised how much unsettled I’ve felt when I haven’t been able to make it to the gym when my regular routine due to travel or snap lockdowns, and how much I look forward to each session as opposed to having to drag myself to them.
Breaking a sweat the right way
Now, I want to be clear about one thing. I have not fallen so far as to enjoy cardio. I am not an animal. But, I have found that I really enjoy lifting weights, thar it helps me relax and it is a good way of dealing with stress. It got me thinking—what is about free weights that makes it so much more enjoyable than other exercise?
One of the things that helps is the sense of achievement that is so easily attained. It is very quantifiable, knowing whether you are making progress is a simple matter of numbers.
You can look at the weight you are lifting, or the sets and reps you are completing, and compare it to the last session and immediately know how you are progressing. You can take satisfaction in knowing you are getting better, and it does bring a real feeling of achievement.
The measure of this man is...this man
That means that the only person you are competing against is yourself. Yes, you can get caught up in worrying about what other people in the gym are lifting, but that is only if you let yourself fall into that trap. Because you are measuring yourself against your own progress, you don’t need to be constantly wondering whether you are doing as well as anyone else.
You can focus on your own self improvement, your own pace, your own satisfaction. You get to set the terms of what you consider success, rather than letting other people define it.
But, there is also room to challenge yourself, set your own goals to strive towards, but if you don’t meet them you don't lose anything, you are not beaten. You just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try harder next time.
Weighing up your words
In many ways, it reminds me of writing, where all you can control is what you put into it and the only real measure is whether you meet your own goals—you can’t control what other people think or do, or measure yourself against other people’s career trajectories. And, of course, like writing it always feel better when you’ve actually gotten through something and you can feel smug about having done what you set out to do!
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html