I can. I did. I’m grateful for my little experiment, and here’s what I learned.
1. You can do anything for one week. I’ve been avoiding runs and workouts because I thought they took up too much time during the day. And granted, my schedule is a little more open that most people’s, but even on my busiest day this week I managed an hour at the gym. And a week is easy. A month is hard. A year is unfathomable to me. But a week? I can do 7 days.
2. I am so not THAT girl at the gym. And I don’t care. I wear the first overlarge t-shirt I find. I sweat more than any one person should. I don’t smile or talk or flirt. I smell BAD. And I will probably make fun of you if you’re the prissy girl doing hip abductors with lip gloss on. It’s okay. You can make fun of me, too.
3. I am not at all interested in debating treadmill vs. outdoor vs. spin vs. something else. 4 months ago, I was declaring that I hated gyms and outdoor runs were my only love. Until I hated the drive to one of the few safe places to run and I wasn’t running outdoors anymore. Or at all. And right now I’m really enjoying the gym, so why make it a thing? It’s easy to feel competitive, especially when you love something. And somehow our love for what we do turns into a competitive streak that isn’t easily switched off. But I’ve definitely adopted my girl Krissie’s catchphrase: “Find your running.” Find the thing you love to do and do it, even if that thing changes and requires that you eat your words just a little.
4. It’s not worth it to phone it in. I see lots of people at the gym putting in minimal effort. And hey, some days, that’s all you can give. But most days, you’ve got so much more in you, and your return will be so much greater if you step it up. And for me, it’s just not worth it–the time, the money, the feelings of regret–to be less than. To do less than I know I can. So I run a little extra. I add a little extra weight. I rest when I need to but then I’m right back at it.
5. My body loves to move. I’ve been an indoor cat for my whole life. Movement, unless absolutely necessary, is a bad thing. And as miserable as it can be to be sweaty and out of breath, I like it more than being sedentary. I like moving faster and stronger, and finishing a workout with sweat dripping down my neck is a reward for me. And when I’m working out, I swear I can feel my muscles smiling and dancing a happy jig. And the more frequently I move, the more my body craves movement.
6. Working out makes me feel good. Physically, obviously, as I’m more alert during the day and stronger when I move, but also mentally, emotionally. I feel great about my body when I workout. My legs look awesome when I run. And when I do lateral pulldowns, my shoulders are sexy as hell. And that confidence just glides with me for the rest of the day. I’m a confident son of a bitch during (and after) a workout. I’m telling everybody how much I lifted and how long I ran without a break. I’m planning my next goal believing I can do it.
7. This needs to be about more than weight loss. Losing weight is a great goal. I want to be thinner. But if I’m working out only to lose pounds, I’m going to give up easily. I’ve gained weight this week, and my weight has been stagnant since early November. That’s incredibly frustrating and if I was just in this to be skinner, I’d give up and quit. But I’m not in this just to wear smaller jeans. I’m in this to run incredibly fun races (The Color Run 5k, March 31st in Atlanta!). I’m in this to do an unassisted pull up. I’m in this to lower my cholesterol and make my doctor smile. I’m in this to live a long and ridiculously amazing, furiously happy life. I’m in this for myself.
So that’s it. What my 7 days at the gym taught me. What’s your 7-day thing?