Thursday, August 21, 2014

it feels good to feel good

I've gained some poundage since my last checkup at the doctor's office a year ago. I'm pretty sure this can be explained by one or all of the following situations:

1 -- I have been working out more. Muscle weighs more than fat, so maybe I am getting so abundantly muscular that it's over taking my body. Sounds plausible enough.

2 -- I am not stressed about volleyball, and therefore I am remembering to eat and feed my children and exercise and breathe and sleep and talk to God about the good stuff in life and not just the bad. (I am not joking. I probably lost at least ten pounds every vb season.)

3 -- I am eating chocolate to take the emotional place of the little chocolate-colored girl I'd like to be hugging and kissing and tucking safely into bed at night.

That said--and despite the anxious feelings that #3 often brings me--I feel good. I feel really good.

And it feels good to feel good.

One major change that can be attributed to this good-feeling is the regular workouts I am experiencing. Sure, I'm getting great workouts at home while chasing Brecken all the way down our winding driveway and hoisting a sleeping Brody out of his car seat to carry him to bed, but I've also made some time to sweat it out in a gym (or in a parking lot, wherever the sweat session may lead) or in a lap-pool (It's true. More on this later...). 

And I'm feeling the difference.

I just feel better when I'm moving, when the sweat is rolling, when my lungs are on the verge of explosion and my legs are cramping and my arms can't lift a jug of milk after I'm done with all of it. Seriously. It does feel good, in a weird sort of awful way.

I feel good when I wake up the next morning and have a hard time getting out of bed because my abs won't allow me to sit up straightaway and, instead, I have to roll my weak little stomach muscles around to the side to sit up like an overstuffed bear awakening from a winter hibernation.

And trust me, when I started my "regular" workouts (regular=more than an occasional "when I can squeeze it in" long run down our country roads) back in July, I went big. I'm not sure about the psychology behind my choice to do one of the hardest workouts I could find right out of the gate, but that's what I always seem to do.

I think maybe it's related to the self-fulfilling prophecy; if I go into a workout knowing it's the hardest level, I can justify failure because I didn't try to work my way into it; "I haven't been working out, people." On the other hand, if I fail at the lowest level of intensity, I want to quit immediately and drown my sorrow in a Cappuccino Caramel Fudge Sundae, because in my former-athlete mind I am a huge unathletic, failing waste of space. 

I started with Level 3 of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. I survived that. So after about a week I decided to join a local gym and take their more intense classes. I survived that, too, but it sure wasn't pretty!

And now, all of a sudden, Bradlee and I are trying to learn how to swim for an informal Mini-Triathlon. We are basically being forced into this one by our friends. Lake-swimming isn't something one should just jump into--pardon the pun--quickly. However, this Mini-Tri takes place in just over a week and we are still trying to learn how to swim. (I can survive in the water but I won't get anywhere quickly, nor will I do it gracefully.)

Sadly, I've Googled "How to swim" repetitively while attempting to figure out this whole breathing-while-swimming thing. I look absolutely ridiculous in the water and will only practice when no one is looking. Because that's the type of person I am. Too proud, I suppose. (That said, I am of the firm opinion that our children need us, as parents, to be alive for them when this thing is over, so I'd rather not drown. Bring on the froggy floaties. We'll take two.)

I have a tendency to want to keep up with the Joneses of muscular duration, strength, and speed, but I'm too old for that, and I refuse to be a slave to the gym. There are better things to do with one's life. I will not be in the gym every day unless I'm getting paid for it. I'll just get there when I can and be happy for some muscle rest when I can't.

Exercise de-stresses, releases toxins, increases energy and empowers potent endorphins that make us feel good. Not to mention the fact that it usually makes your cool clothes fit better.

I'm feeling good, and if you're not, I suggest you get your move on. Walk around. Dance. Do some sit-ups here and there. Hike. Jump into the most difficult and ridiculous class you can find. Do whatever you like. Just do something. I promise it makes a difference.

It feels good to feel good.