So the alarm goes off, it’s 5am ( in my case 3:30 ) . The ac is on, you have the covers on and the last thing you want to do is go and exercise. The last thing ever. You’d rather eat something than exercise. You’d actually rather wake up at 5 am and stuff your face with whatever than getting dressed and going to exercise. It’s too stressful and I understand. I do. The brain doesn’t want you getting out of your bed. It doesn’t even want me getting out of my bed. Put the cover back on and hit the snooze button.
That scenario I just mentioned is something 1000’s of us go through every single morning. And if it’s an evening workout. After work, and you’re already tired and don’t have the energy, you’d rather spend time with your family and friends or just Netflix and chill in your Pj’s while jumping through app to app until its past midnight, you’re braindead and congratulations you’re now a zombie until you decide to go to bed.
I’ve been through all of those phases. And boy were they something, but I’m now I’m at a very sweet spot and I want to share it with you. It’s a place of comfort, stress, adventure and life. For now at least, you never know what life throws at you. I’m now also at a place also where I know nothing is permanent and may the odds be ever in your favour. But I’ll enjoy this while am at it. I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with exercise and fitness. I can easily say that I’ve been fitter but not necessarily healthier. I used to push my limits with exercise and was very aggressive and competitive. It was a stressful time. After becoming a father I was always pressed for time and never had the same amount of freedom that I had with sports, that put even more pressure on me. I was angry with myself and kind of let myself go a little bit. I did an ironman 70.3 recently that was a disaster. But I learnt a lot from that.
I am now very compassionate with my approach to exercise, I listen to my body very closely and try not to push too hard especially if its something my body isn’t familiar with. Any new kind of exercise or new work out regime I try, I do it very lightly until my body gets familiar with how it goes. I try not to get too sore if I ever workout. I’m now happier and I’m less stressful towards working out.
About the adventure part. I now see working out as an adventure and I can’t wait to wake up the next day to get out the door. I now look forward to different things in a workout. It’s not about how I’ll look or how I’ll feel only but it’s something bigger than me. I do it for many reasons but the main ones that help me make the most out of every workout are the following.
- Community. Waking up to work out just for fun and to see new people is something that helps get me out the door. I really enjoy it now. I used to be a lone wolf when it came to working out and I still can be, but this is something that I realise also helps others get out their door.
- Nature. As dull as nature in Bahrain can be, there’s always something to appreciate. I appreciate the silence when I step outside at 4-5am in the morning. The traffic lights are all peaceful, a few birds chirping ( just a few ) and the sunrise. I’ll take that any day over a 5k PB.
- Grateful. I’m grateful for this body I have. Some people don’t have limbs. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to go out for a walk. A Swim. A bicycle ride. We clearly don’t appreciate it enough. I know I don’t. There was a program that I don’t know the name of, it’s a couple of years old; a man in his late 20s (I would say) was now wheelchair bound being barely able to stand on his own with motor neurone disease. He was being interviewed and he said that if he could have a wish – he would wish that he could wake up in the morning and have one more day of the use of his legs so that he could run one more time. He said it with a big smile on his face, it broke my heart. Exercise can really suck…but it’s sucking awesome
- Community (again ). When I work out, now only do I feel good but I raise my energy levels and that is not good for me, but for my job, my family, my friends and my passions. Because I have more energy I can carry my daughter around a little longer ( until she runs out of energy, that’s a BIG motivation for me ) , I can back home from work after 12 hours of work with a little more juice left in me to smile and have a decent conversation with my wife. I can be more focused and effective at my job. I have the energy to fit in passions and hobbies into my day, such as reading, creating videos and writing this post for you. I’m not drained anymore, I slept well, eat well and exercise for fun. Now I can give you this back.
- Looks and feels . Looking and feeling is all a byproduct of why I work out. Me feeling and looking better is not really helping anybody else if I’m selfish and abusive about my energy and looks. This just happens to be part of the package and I wish I knew this earlier. How I feel and look is not meaningful, if I don’t do anything meaningful with it.
- Experience. Not many people I know experience the sunrise often, sure they have experienced it sometime in their life, probably by accident. Not many people I know experience the daily silence of a busy city like ours. Not many people experience what we call “Runners high”. I’m all about enriching experiences.
I don’t have a strict exercise plan anymore. If I want to run, I run. If I want to swim, I swim.If I want to do some yoga, I do it. It’s that simple. Sure I’d like to do some epic super long adventures. The time will come. I trust the timings of my life. I don’t have to force it anymore.
Go now and start your adventure. It doesn’t have to hurt, it doesn’t have to be brutal, it doesn’t even have to start with sweat. It starts with a walk out the door, any kind of shoes and a few steps towards the light.
Remember change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle but gorgeous at the end.
I hope I stay here till my end of time.