When workouts become burdensome…

I just received word that my team at work will be on a 12-hour work day schedule Monday through Friday with a few weekends tossed in for good measure for the next two months or so, which puts a severe damper on my intention of giving Kim’s plan another more serious try. I got derailed from following through 100% with the program by the last work crunch for the Winx project, and it’s not going to be much better this time around.

Double gym sessions per day are out if I want to keep up with such plebeian endeavors as paying my bills, doing laundry, and preparing meals, so I am going back to a single one hour AM workout per day. I’m going to focus on consistency and quality in my diet and workouts over quantity.

One thing I’ve learned about myself in the past few months is that I don’t like exercising enough to want to do it twice in a day or for more than 45-60 minutes at a time.

There, I’ve said it.

I can be gung ho about twice-a-day workouts for a month or two even with a crunch time work schedule, but after that, the rest of my life starts to come apart. The house gets messy. I run out of clean clothes. Unwashed dishes in the sink develop their own ecosystems. My cats are lonely and chubby from lack of play time with Mommy Mags. My parents begin to leave pointed phone messages asking me if I can spare the time to visit this month.

Working out becomes a chore instead of the physical and mental catharsis it normally is for me.

Mind you, I am not saying that exercise is fun, because the acts of physically exerting myself, heaving for breath, and creaking through days of DOMS will never be synonymous with “fun” in my mind, but there is something very empowering about training your body to be faster, stronger, and better that makes all the sweat and sore muscles worthwhile.

I don’t like exercising to lose weight. That isn’t a good enough reason to go through what is fundamentally a series of unpleasant and uncomfortable physical sensations. I like exercising to improve myself and get ever closer to achieving my maximum potential. Just because I am actually a major geek doesn’t mean I want to look like one or take pride in being all brains and no brawn.

To be complete, I think I need to have both. ;)  I just need to cut back to more reasonable, sustainable amounts of exercise until I am back to regular work hours, which, I estimate, should be sometime around the next decade when I retire from the game industry and open my own health food bistro.

4 thoughts on “When workouts become burdensome…

  1. Maggie … it’s time you seriously think about CrossFit. I consider myself an evangelist and I’ll never go back to a regimen modeled after bodybuilding. While there are heavy days (like deads or front squats for seven sets of 3), most of the workouts are brief and intense. For example, today’s workout is one called Helen:

    Three rounds for time of …

    • 400m run
    • 21 dumbbell or kettlebell swings (use a 55# db or a weight scaled it to your bodyweight and/or current fitness/comfort level)
    • 12 pullups (feel free to do these strict, but you’ll help yourself by kipping)

    Remember, this is for time so your 400m runs should be sprints and the swings should be done with power but controlled. And, like I said, the pull ups should be kipped to do more work in less time.

    The first time I did Helen, I finished in about 16 minutes and I was W-H-O-O-P-E-D. And I was in and out of the gym–showered and changed–in under an hour. Another workout, called Fran, takes me less than 10 minutes.

    Give it a try … I think you’ll like it.

  2. Kind of sad to hear Maggie. All I can say is that for me exercise comes first. I’m 45 and the VP of Engineering, and I’ve bowed to the pressures of work before, only to regret it and lose out in the end. The recipe for success at work for me has turned out to be (after much learning the hard way): exercise first, success in everything else follows. Exercise is under YOUR control, and it sets YOU fee. When you do what YOU can control, you are liberated to succeed at things you can’t totally control (like work, relationships, other important things).

    I too can’t workout just to lose weight, so I set tough running goals and strengthen my body for the running (currently training for a 50 miler). That makes for fulfilling and motivating “reaching beyond”, which is the true joy of training. I know the pressure of deadlines in Engineering (mine are with satellites…brutal deadlines making it to the rocket on time), and especially software development, but I’d offer that exercise makes time and creates energy. Best of luck. You are obviously someone who has their priorities set and the you-know-what together.

    All the best, phil

  3. the math question got me! I didn’t do it and it erased my first entry. 😛 It makes me laugh though because I feel like I have to be a certain intelligence in order to post…

    Anyway, as I was saying, It’s interesting to read different people’s mindsets with exercise. For me, I need exercise to be fun first and foremost, in order to hold my interest so it doesn’t become a chore. Things like yoga, martial arts, dancing, and running (if I get good at it) are on my “fun” list (not to say that I’ve tried all these things). I understand exercise as being more than just losing weight, esp. if you don’t have much weight to lose. I can understand exercise as trying to do the best you can and reach your maximum potential, but for me, it still has to be fun as well..

  4. How about workout with a partner? Then after that, muscle worship. It can be fun.


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