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Get Curious About Fitness to Get Inspired

a 30-Day chronicle about getting back in shape

Today was an upper body day.  After warming up on the elliptical machine, I ran the circuit of upper body machines for about 40 minutes.  As I moved from machine to machine, I thought about how this workout felt compared to the first one.  I found that line of questioning inspiring because I could tell I was getting stronger.  And I was enjoying the workout more. 

When I first worked with a personal trainer, she tried to chat during my work out by asking me questions about my week.  I found it really distracting and asked her about it.  She said that most people enjoyed chatting because they wanted to keep their minds off the fact that they were exercising.  That was the opposite of what I wanted.  I told her that I wanted to be super focused on my workout so I could pay attention to the entire experience. 

As I look around the gym, I notice that most people are plugged in when they’re working out.  They’re plugged into an iPod, a magazine, the TV or their fitness buddy.  If that’s the only way they can get their workout in, that’s fine.  But I’d like to offer a counter cultural idea-pay attention, tune in, enjoy the entire experience.  Get curious in order to get inspired.

Here are some examples of questions you might ask during your workout:

  1. Am I getting stronger compared to my first session or most recent session?
  2. Are my daily activities getting easier (lifting groceries out of the trunk, carrying them into the house, climbing the stairs, running after the kids, etc.).
  3. What do my muscles feel like?  Are they feeling pumped, shaky, firm, strong?
  4. Is this weight appropriate-hard enough to get a good workout but not so demanding that I might get injured?
  5. Is this workout helping to balance my muscles (front and back)?  We experience fewer joint problems and injuries when our muscle strength front to back is balanced (e.g., quadriceps and hamstrings, chest and back, biceps and triceps). 

If you’re normally plugged in when you work out, try going cold turkey next time and get curious about the experience.  Pay attention to your breathing, your thoughts, your muscles, and your experience.  After all, for that 30 or 40 minutes, your workout is your life.

Your Turn:  Thoughts?  Comments?  Are you plugged in when you workout?

Should you see a physician before starting an exercise program?

Medical Disclaimer: Any information you obtain from this blog series is not
intended and should not be construed as medical advice and is for the sole purpose of providing information derived from the experience of the author. Diet, exercise or other lifestyle changes should be made only after consulting with your own intuition, common sense, and health care practitioner.
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