Happiness matters to me. My health matters to me. I want to feel energized and strong. It’s not youth that I want. It’s more mature than that. My youthful emotions were mercurial. My adult emotions are goals and choices. I choose to feel amazing.
It’s what I want for myself, it’s what in the end, only I can give myself.
My fitness journey began with a physical goal of achieving strength and the figure that I felt better represented who I wanted to be. When I thought about all that I wanted out of my new body and what I supposed it would bring to my life, I didn’t factor in the emotional joy.
Movement is joyful. Physical success is elating. It brings laughter and excitement to the edge of the moment. What does that tell you about how we are meant to court our bodies every day to feel whole and fulfilled?
As I watch these videos of me laughing with Bertina while we push past mental barriers that weeks ago seemed daunting and elusive, I realize that this is a journey full of unexpected gifts. One of these gifts is discovering that what I do to engage my body has a greater application in how I approach my life in general.
For example, when I came out of this barbell plank on Thursday, I let myself off early anticipating that I should save my strength for the rest of Bertina’s morning lineup. When I tell Bertina this, she gives me some of the best counsel of my life.
Push to the limit, she says. Do not hold back in fear of not having enough later. This becomes a habit of reserving and performing below capability and is a bad practice in all areas of life.
She’s right! Is there any area of expending our energy where we should hold back in fear and not give our best? I sense that it is in those pockets of cautious reserves where the seeds of regret take root.
I have a friend who exercises each set in his circuit training until failure. Meaning that he doesn’t set a limit of how many reps he wants to achieve. He’s done with the movement when he cannot do it anymore. Then he rests and does another set without limits again. He does this alone, without a trainer. I greatly admire his physical drive. Does he apply this same philosophy to the rest of his life?
What would struggling until we have given only our very best look like at work, with our hobbies, or in our relationships?
These connections appear to me to be very real. What if life were a series of sets that we should ‘pursue until failure’? What would it be like to give our very best to any task or goal at hand, reserving nothing out of fear?
I do believe our sense of physical and emotional success is based upon a series of daily choices. And there is something very tangible in that philosophy when it is applied to exercise and movement. Exerting your body to the limits of its capability is a constantly moving target at the gym but it is obtainable at any moment.
Pressing past fear to realize and cross over your furthest boundary can happen in a plank, a bar squat, a pull-up or any other physical feat that you choose. It’s not limited to a date that is set on the horizon. The best time is always now.
I am falling in admiration with the body I was given and all that it can do. I am realizing the ability that I have to create the reality that pleases me.
These are the happiest days! I don’t have to look back to find them. I don’t need to look forward to seek them. I can choose this day and the way it makes me feel right now.