A Fitness Theory

You work all day, manage the kids, juggle homework and dinner, then wrangle everyone into bed and heave a sigh of relief. A moment of panic hits. You’ve forgotten something. Oh, right. The work out. Again.

When you’ve got a full schedule, working out is really the last thing you have energy for, but it’s what you need to lose a few pounds (thanks, sedentary day job), it’s what you need to regain your energy. But when it comes down to it, you hit the snooze instead of rolling out of bed early, or you choose to work through lunch to offset the growing workload. If you do this, you’re human. There’s a truth you and I know, and it’s this: it has to change.

The problem is what we call it. ‘Working out’. Yes, we know it’s work. Do we really need to be reminded that it’s work? Yes, it’s hard. It takes some effort. My theory is that a fitness routine requires a level of enjoyment beyond the exertion. For some people, running provides a focus,  For others, it’s group exercise classes. I used to take cardio kickboxing, but the scheduled class was never at the right time – conflicts with the family resposibilitiies.

Then my daughter comes along, and this little challenge I gave her (5 Brave Things), which she totally rocked, resulted in her reward: I joined her karate class. I was worried about feeling silly at first. About a quarter of the class is adults, less than that some days. Fortunately, my height allows me to blend in with the older kids. 😉 I wanted to be an example of good behavior for my daughter, so I focused on the class, the teachings, the actual karate. It took me two classes to realize that I didn’t even watch my daughter during these classes: I was too focused on the moves, getting it right. Actually streaming IYAH with the rest of the class when we punched, jabbed and kicked.

I think I like karate better than my kids like it.

So, part of the theory is you have to find something you love to maintain a routine. I found it by accident, and I have my daughter to thank for that. The other part of the theory is having this activity you love, means you want to be good at it. Excel. And that means figuring out your weakness and improve on this. By going to the gym.

That’s right.

Last week, we were working on upper cuts, which requires repeated squat-like motions with every punch. I tired quickly. Also, when you’re told to do ‘Black Belt Pushups’, you know no one is looking at you doing them slower than everyone in the class, and less than half the amount. I’m sure they cut the adults some slack, we weigh a lot more than these kids. Still, I didn’t want an excuse or to stand out because I’m the slow one or the tired one. I hit the gym.

It’s an entirely different experience doing extra pushups and weights, squats and lunges when the reason for it goes beyond “I need to lose weight”. I have a purpose for being there, and I damn well better make some progress because if I’m going to karate with my kid, I’m not half-assing it.

Theory: love what you do for fitness, and use your gym time to improve your skills needed for that activity.

I’ll check back in a few months, but the preliminary report is this. After just a few weeks, my clothes are fitting better, my food consumption has become healthier and better proportioned, my water take has increased. Best yet, I feel fantastic.

It’s been years since I’ve felt this good. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten what this feels like.

If you’re struggling to find something fun, talk to your friends, relatives, kids. There’s something out there for everyone. And you deserve to feel good. Whatever it is, I hope you have it or find it. Life is too short to spend miserable.

I’m glad I found my favorite workout. My daughter is too. This one got me a double win.




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