Sometimes when I tell a friend that I'm sore, or tired, or that 85% of my body hurts, they tell me, "maybe you exercise too much." Or they say, "you should exercise less." Or even possibly, "you're insane, I'm surprised you're still alive!"
I know I'm insane.
And I get that they're just trying to be helpful. To them, I am doing too much. In the context of their lives, running 40-50 miles a week, doing deadlifts 6 days a week, doing upper body workouts twice a week, walking 20 miles a week, teaching karate, and doing all the other shit I do is about 100 times too much shit. But I don't plan on slowing down.
If I complained about work, they wouldn't say, "maybe you should work less." I mean, I wish that was an option. To tell my boss I just don't "feel" like coming in, and eating ice cream all day instead. If a friend complained about their kids, I wouldn't tell them, "maybe you should drop a couple of them off at the pet rescue." I mean, I might say that, because I'm an asshole. But it would be, um, funny?
It's because - much like going to work or keeping the kids alive - exercising isn't a choice for me. It's something I have to do. It can't be a choice. Because if it was, I could "choose" not to do it. As soon as working out twice a day becomes something I can do or not do, it becomes a question of motivation. Do I want to get up before dawn to pick up 400 pounds? No, of course not. But I have to. And that's just how simple it is. It doesn't matter how lazy I am.
|Laziness is seriously great though. Give it a shot.|
So telling me I should do less isn't helpful. If I say I'm tired, I'm just making conversation. You can say, "that sucks." Or even just, "uhuh." That would be totally fine.
I usually try not to talk about running or lifting or kilt-wearing. But they're pretty big parts of my life, and occasionally they'll pop out of my mouth. I mean, not physically. It would be weird if I opened my mouth and a kilt fell out. "How do you breath?!" You'd say. Good question.
But with people I trust and talk to often, they know what I've got going on. Eventually we get tired of talking about trucks or puppies or the inevitable zombie apocalypse. They'll say, "speaking of the walking dead, what have you been up to lately?" Sometimes I'll say, "oh nothing, I'm a lazy douche." But sometimes I'll say, "I ran 8 miles in the dark while it was raining." And it's as if I'd just said, "I went into a room full of rabid chipmunks just for shits." It's just as crazy.
|At least I was well prepared for those chipmunks.|
Photo Cr. Marc Ryan
I try to motivate folks to improve themselves. And if I had lost just a couple of pounds, or only ran a couple times a week, they might think, hey, that's not too bad. Maybe I'll try that! But when they look at me and I portray this image that if you exercise, you have to give up your whole life for it, it's probably an anti-motivator. Which kind of sucks.
I try not to give unsolicited advice, because it usually pisses people off. So mostly I try to set an example. But I'm a pretty manic example. I can't wear a t-shirt that says, "do 10% of what I do, and that'll be plenty!" I mean, I could, but I think it would just make me look like a bigger asshole. Like wearing a shirt that says, "I'm so awesome; look at how awesome I am."
In any case, if you're reading this, anything you do beyond what you're currently doing is great. You don't have to go from running 5 miles to 50 miles. Going from 5 miles to 6 miles is fantastic. And honestly, that's how I got to where I am. I didn't suddenly wake up, see the face of the Great Old Ones, and have my mind snap. No. I was a fat lazy schlub who would pick up a canister of potato crisps and eat the whole thing on my drive home. And it was amazing.
It's taken me a long time to get to where I am, and a lot of incremental steps. I still look at potato chips and drool. I'm not superhuman. But if you haven't seen the entire course of my journey, you'd probably think that I was some kind of pain-loving lunatic.
|Nope, I'm fine. I'm a pain-loving lunatic.|
Photo Cr. Frank Romero
I am, but only because I trained myself to be. So if you want to get stronger, faster, or leaner, just start. Start anywhere. Just start. And build up from there. Make yourself awesome. And if I say, "yeah, my lower back feels like a truck ran over me," just reply, "uhuh."