What are you running from?
Auto-pilot. That’s the only mode I used to know when it was gym time.
- My StairMaster or treadmill.
- And my one goal: Burn as many calories as possible in my allotted time frame.
And I ran…and ran…and ran…I ran my butt off….All for what?! I had no real training objective other than to be the “fittest version of myself” I could be.
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Fitness Version of Myself
In my mind, “being fit” meant:
Being an unstoppable, an Energizer Bunny, with willpower unparalleled by any other average gym goer or fitness enthusiast.
(Little did I realize…that I was running myself into the ground).
Daily, I talk with other women (much like the former version of myself), who know only one mode of “fitness”—Go! Go! Go!
- Running every day to earn their gold star
- Showing up the gym in order to “pay their dues” (so they can justify eating lunch afterwards)
- “Paying” for the binge or extra serving of chicken and broccoli they ate the night before
- Getting their cardio in because it’s “just what they have to do”
- Going through the motions of their workout, spin class or bootcamp—but really, really not wanting to go
- Exercising to numb your mind or check out from reality
- Bootcamp at 6 am, spin at noon, Barre at 6 p.m.—check, check, check
- Carefully monitoring their FitBit and then logging their calories in MyFitnessPal to make sure they are “good to go”
- Salivating for the glass of wine or piece of pizza they can have when their workout is finished
- Stressing out if their workout routine is cut short or moved to a different time of day
In other words:
- Using exercise to “get through” life.
- Using exercise to feel “ok” or live with themselves another day.
- Using exercise to run from their own inner critics or daily stresses that come their way.
If so, what are you running FROM?
For many years, I never realized that my excessive, 6-7 hour, “chronic-cardio” exercise routine actually was my “solution” for dealing with and running from…
- My inner self-critic
- Low self-esteem
- The stress and worry I had over people-pleasing and trying to hold everything together
- Unhappiness in other areas of my life
- Rejection (of myself and my fear of others not liking me enough)
- Anxiety and stress
Instead of using fitness to elevate my health, performance and life, I used exercise to escape FROM life.
Ironically, my tendencies to run wildly on a treadmill and step an hour away at Level 20 on the StairMaster, was symbolic of me running FROM all the fears, worries and stresses I had no idea how to deal with.
“Chronic Cardio” is MORE than just “overtraining” or working out “too much.” Chronic Cardio happens when we use exercise to (literally) run from the things most pressing on our hearts, minds and souls.
Fast forward to today: As I squatted 165 lbs. on the bar for 10 sets of 3 reps (a doozy!) this morning, I found myself thinking how my relationship with fitness has transformed…
Today, exercise serves a DIFFERENT purpose. Today, exercise and my gym time helps me run TOWARDS my bigger goals—(outside the gym).
No longer a slave to mind-numbing hours spent on a StairMaster, or “going through the motions” of a body building routine in Oxygen Magazine, my training sessions (i.e. “recess breaks”) now allow me the mental and physical space to grow in my life. I…
- Do my best thinking
- Get inspired for fresh ideas in my writing
- Take a break from the monotony of looking at a computer screen
- Meet people at the gym
- Strengthen, stretch and boost my energy
- Re-charge my creative juices
- Break a sweat
- Overcome fun challenges
If you’ve ever struggled with that inner mean girl (that girl who makes you go to the gym, or tells you to “burn more calories!”), I’ll ask you one more time…
What are you running FROM?
What would it be like to use fitness to run TOWARDS something? (your bigger goals and your life pursuits outside the gym or same ol’ cardio routine?)
5 Kickbutt Workouts
(to get off the treadmill)
Here are 5 (Unconventional) Kick-butt Workouts (to get you off the treadmill and running TOWARDS your own greatness—not defined by a rock-hard body, flat stomach, fiery metabolism and 5 more pounds).
2-Min AirDyne or Row
30 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches
30 Clean & Jerks
Every Minute on the Minute x 10 Minutes
3 Backsquats + 3 Push-Press
Tabata (20 seconds on, 10 seconds of rest)
Hollowbody Hold + Spiderman Plank (bring knee to elbow)
(Alternate each for a total of 16 rounds, or 8-minutes)
1000-meter Row or Run
70 Russian Kettlebell Swings
60 Box Jumps
50 Hand-release Push-ups
20 Goblet Squats
10 Handstand Pushups (or Seated Strict Press)
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