Have you ever heard that saying, “The more you lay around, the more you’ll want to lay around”?
I’d be surprised if you had since the only person I’ve ever known to say it is my best friend who heard it from her dad, so I’m pretty sure it was just one of those all-knowing dad-phrases that he coined when the kids were younger. Smart guy.
Every time I’m laying around like a lazy bum when I should be doing something, that phrase plays over and over and over and over in my mind. The more you lay around, the more you’ll want to lay around. The more you lay around, the more you’ll want to lay around. Sometimes it wins and sometimes my laziness wins, but in the end, it is always right.
There’s a reason that phrase has stayed with me over the years: It’s one of the truest, yet simplest, observations of life. How hard is it to get up off the couch after you’ve become perfectly snuggled into the cushions under a soft, warm blanket with your favorite reality TV show dancing on the screen in front of you? It’s pretty tough … and the longer you lay there, the harder and harder it becomes to get up and get going.
As I was finishing up my run the other day, I realized the phrase not only applies to being lazy in life, it also applies to being lazy in fitness.
Making exercise feel easy and natural
Lately, my runs have been coming as easy and naturally to me as it is to love Lloyd (I’m engaged, people – sorry). In non-lovey-dovey speak: my runs have been off the chain lately. Or, even more simply: lately, me run good.
There is nothing worse than a bad run. That moment in a bad run when you lift your leg off the ground for that first stride and it feels like a limp sand bag is one of the worst feelings I ever experience when working out. You know that this run is going to drag on and on and you’re going to be in extreme pain and agony for every millisecond of the next 30 minutes.
But a good run – there is nothing better than a good run (when it comes to living well, that is). These are the runs where it feels effortless, your mind wanders to happy thoughts, you completely forget you’re running, the sweat feels good, the physical movement feels good, your breath feels good – you feel like you could run forever! No, there is definitely nothing better than a good run.
Good runs come to those who commit
A good run takes time to achieve. I remember when I went on my first run way back in 2002. I couldn’t run a half mile before I felt like I was going to die. My muscles were on fire, my lungs were burning, my breath was wheezy and harsh, I felt like my body and legs weighed a ton and I could barely move one foot in front of the other.
The easy solution is to give up. To just quit. It’s only natural to worry that this is how exercise will feel forever. That it will be constant, excruciating pain. Who wants to commit to a daily activity that you dread and that only makes you miserable? How can anyone possibly stick to a workout regime if it’s this painful?
But it does get better. A lot better.
Once you commit to running and start running regularly, you will reap great rewards. Eventually, you’ll start having excellent runs. At work, you’ll look forward to your upcoming run that night. And during your run, all the stress, frustration, and annoyance from your work-life will dissolve from your body. The sweat will cleanse you. Your legs will feel strong and at the end of it all, you’ll feel happy, content, accomplished, and calm.
Stick With It
It isn’t just running. All exercise becomes easier over time. Not easier in the sense that the movements are easy to do, but in the sense that you’re stronger and healthier and your body can handle more.
This is why those quick-fix workout plans never work. In high school, I would jump on an intense, 4-week workout program to drop weight, but I never finished. I always got burnt out and discouraged. Workouts should be hard and intense 90% of the time, but going from zilch to 100 miles per hour isn’t the best means to the end and usually always ends in disaster.
I am like everyone else in the world who jumped on and off the workout bandwagon for years. I didn’t want to make a commitment to my health, I just wanted to make a commitment to the boot cut jeans I planned to wear that night.
It takes time to become committed. It took me years to get hooked on exercise. And sometimes I still waver. But I do know one thing – the more you stick with it and the longer you regularly work out, the more you’ll want to work out. You’ll crave those feel-good sweat droplets licking your brow line. You’ll want more of that confidence and happiness that comes with health and exercise-produced endorphins. But, it doesn’t happen over night; it takes years. It takes change.
Becoming committed to working out and leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Sometimes life happens and my commitment falters a bit, but it’s always there to welcome me back with open arms when I’m ready. It doesn’t beat me up for stumbling, it just encourages me to keep on running.
Do you struggle to commit to a workout plan? Why do you workout? Do you hate working out or love it? Share your thoughts in the comments!