Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wake Up; Get Up

Getting up in the morning sucks. Nobody likes doing it. Except my cat, who gets all her sleeping done while I'm at work, so that she can keep me up all night.

Thanks, cat.

For most of my life, when I woke up, I would lounge in bed, trying to eke out every extra minute of warm comfort and laziness that I could. I imagine most folks do this. But I wasn't actually accomplishing anything. Sure it felt nice, but that was it. And if you've been reading my blog, you know that I've since given up doing things just because they feel nice.

Now I beat the shit out of myself, because it makes me stronger.

Now, when I wake up, I get up immediately. If I wake up during the week and it's about 6am, I get up and lift. If my cat wakes me up and it's only 4, then I go back to sleep, but I actually sleep. If I know I won't be getting any more meaningful sleep though, I get up right away. On weekends I do the same thing. If I wake up and it's already 8am, I just get up. Even if I have the luxury of sleeping in, I don't.

Sleep is for healing.

Your body heals. Your brain emblazons new pathways. But once you're awake, it's game over. Lying in bed after that point is about not wanting to go live life. I'm into life. Life is cool. Life is about pain and sweat and sore muscles. But it's also about wine and chocolate and frolicking with fellow humans (and occasionally other mammals; sorry snakes).

Sorry snake. No love for you.

Once I started getting up immediately, it opened up a huge block of time for me. I can now exercise every day before work. I lift in the mornings, and I run after work. And I have more time on the weekends to do the things I actually want to do.  And because I exercise so regularly, I pass out easily at night and sleep soundly. Minus my cat occasionally biting my face.

Seriously cat, you will be fed. Stop panicking.

It's hard at first. But everything is hard at first. Running if you've never run before is hard. Starting a new lifting routine is hard. Learning to play the guitar is hard. Getting out of bed when it's cold and dark is hard. But if you make yourself run, or lift, or play guitar, or get up early every single day, you get used to it. It becomes routine and routine is awesome. But doing it every day is key.

If you only exercise three times a week, then you will need to trust fickle motivation. Motivation rarely behaves. If you practice a new hobby only when you have the "spare time", it'll never happen. If you wake up early only some days, it'll always suck a lot. Sure it's great to sign up for that morning yoga class on Thursdays, but if that's the only day when you get up early then 1. Getting up on Thursday will suck, and 2. You'll miss out on all the other mornings. If you're going to start doing yoga on Thursdays, then find something to do on every single one of your other mornings. Fill that schedule right up.

Or just get a cat and you'll never sleep again.

The last two days were very busy for me. I was up at 6am and didn't get back home until 9:30 on Tuesday and Wednesday. I stayed up till 11 on both days, having a few beers and taking some time for myself. But despite being tired from the long days and getting less sleep, I was still up at 6am the following day to lift. It's tempting to take off a morning to catch up on sleep. But if I do that even once, it becomes an option for the future.

It's a slippery slope, and as with all slippery slopes, it only takes one errant step to tumble face first down that slope.

Even the previous week, when I was horribly sick, I still got up early and did deadlifts. Then I went back to bed, because I really was dying. But that routine is crucial for me. As long as I'm physically able to do so, I will get up. Because some day I won't be able to. So I'm not going to squander the time I have while I'm strong and healthy. And by using that morning time to exercise, I will keep myself strong and healthy longer.

And then when I do get old and frail, I'll wrestle a bear.

Although if I have to go outside to find that bear....

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