Have you ever wondered why they call exercising “working out”? I’m no etymologist, but I do notice that the word “work” is inside of it.
Webster’s Dictionary defines work…ok, just kidding. Dictionary.com defines work as “Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something.” Exertion? Effort? Ugh. I thought that I heard I could just walk around the park a couple times and the weight will just melt off.
I apologize if you feel like I’m saying something that is just too obvious that it insults your intelligence, but I figure that if this took some learning for me, maybe someone out there needs to hear it. You are not going to lose a substantial amount of weight from a leisurely stroll around the park once a week. You are not going to lose it by parking further back in the parking lot. You are not going to lose it by taking the stairs to your second-floor dentist appointment every six months.
Changing your body requires work. Real work. Sweating, groaning, some serious intensity, and probably some cussing. That lesson was a hard one for me, because I read articles with titles like, “Ten Easy Steps to Weight Loss,” or “Six Easy Things to Do For a Six-Pack.” I’ve found that anything with “easy” in the title is code for ineffective. Getting in shape is an entire lifestyle change, and there’s nothing easy about it.
There’s a saying that’s all over the Internet to which I absolutely subscribe. You may recognize it because it’s at the top of this post. Or perhaps you’ve gone on the Pinterest “Health and Fitness” category page in the past six months. Or attended one of those inspiration work conferences.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
It feels like common sense, right? But somehow, I spent several months just moving along on that treadmill feeling a false sense of accomplishment. I don’t mean to be a treadmill hater, it’s just that I didn’t challenge myself at all when I was jogging on it for months, and it was a huge discouragement. If you’re not sore the next day, or at the very least if you’re really not even sweating and breathing hard, why bother?
That’s great for you. But shouldn’t it just kind of happen for me?
I think that we live in a time now where people (clearly myself included) believe everything should just happen for us. This sense of entitlement permeates our consciousness. Things should be easy; life should be simple. The idea of learning to relish a challenge left much to be desired for me at first.
My mind’s cure for this was the joy I got from taking on a challenge and coming out on the other end stronger—in the area of fitness, I mean that literally. Life isn’t easy, and neither is changing habits. If you’re going to succeed, you need to accept that you can’t do the same things you’re doing now and expect a different result.
There’s another big secret to losing weight that is basically the same sentiment. By secret, I mean common sense idea that I took a while to pick up on.
Work harder. If you’re not getting results, you’re not working hard enough.
The concept is so simple. Step it up. Don’t fake it. Try something new. Pick up something heavy. Punch something heavy. Hold yourself up. Run—really run. Ride your bike up hills. Make yourself go longer. Make yourself go faster. Make yourself go heavier. Put more weight on that prowler. Throw on a weighted vest. Hike up something tall. Push yourself. Get the word “can’t” out of your mind, because it’s really just a substitute for “won’t try”. You’re better than that.
Not into it? Think it’s just too hard? That’s fine. The only person you’re cheating is yourself.
Mini Yoga Update:
Still on board. Still waking up to do it. Still the first week. Not a whole lot of change to share. I’ll keep you posted!