What I hate about exercise

I know, I’m a personal trainer, I should love exercise, everyday, all the time, in all forms. It’s part of the job, right? Let me give you a sneak preview into the conversation in my head many mornings as I head out to run:
“If I skip this workout, I can catch up on emails or clean the house or do laundry or catch up on filing or make overdue doctor/dental appointments or go grocery shopping or read a good book or watch TV or write a new blog post or pay bills or take a nap. I know if I skip this workout I’ll just get sooooo much more done today, because I’ll save all that sweat time. Maybe I should take today off and run and lift tomorrow to make up for it. Maybe I am overly tired and shouldn’t push myself. . . SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP . . . If I get this workout under my belt the rest of my day will be better. I’ll be happy instead of cranky. I’ll be focused instead of anxious. I’ll be a better trainer, a better wife, a better person. Dammit, I guess I’m going running.”
Yup, that pretty much sums up the conversation I have with myself over and over again as I get ready to workout. What’s funny is I think all this as I put on my workout clothes and lace up my shoes and search for the dog’s leash. So, I have instilled the habit and routine of non-negotiable exercise 6 days a week, yet I negotiate in my head moment after moment until the sweating begins.

After years of consistent exercise I can tell you it’s worth it – even when it’s the last thing you want to do. There are many reasons I do it over and over again and cannot imagine my life without it. In spite of the reasons I hate exercise (the pain, the sweat, the early-on breathlessness that makes me want to stop, the matter of squeezing it into my life 6 days a week, the time it takes away from other productive things), these are WAY MORE reasons I LOVE EXERCISE. Here’s my Top 5 Reasons I Love Exercise:

1. I am more balanced and centered on days I workout. I tend to be easily stressed out and overwhelmed. This turns into anxiety if I don’t keep it in check. Nothing like a good sweat eases my mind and my nerves – EVERYTIME!

2. I LOVE to feel like a badass. I like to do things that other people cannot do. I like to feel strong and in control of my body. The entire reason I ran my first half marathon was just to tell people I had done it. This event was one of my most life changing events. Same goes for the marathon a few years later (although, I *really* did not enjoy 26.2 miles of pavement pounding, I’ll stick with shorter workouts, thank you!)

3. I’m totally vain. I like to watch my muscles working. I used to do a ton of hot yoga and I think I can say half the reason I did it was to watch my muscles in the mirror for 90 minutes. I love watching my quads fire, my shoulders engaging, my triceps popping out. You should see me standing in the bathroom mirror checking out my back. Yes, I’m totally vain.

4. I eat better, sleep better and feel better on days I exercise. My days off are typically lazy and cranky. My head just does not work the same without exercise.

5. I have seen the other side. I have lived in a body that was unfit and overweight. I did not enjoy it. I hated feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I hated feeling like nothing fit. I hated shopping. I still have days where I don’t like the way my jeans fit (BTW, nothing makes me pissier that jeans. They are uncomfortable and unflattering and the good ones cost a million dollars. I have no idea how they are a staple of our culture.) I like to feel good in my clothes and my skin.

Okay, I know I said 5, but there are really six Reasons I Love Exercise:

6. I love to eat! My early workout years were strictly workout-in-order-to-eat years. I don’t workout to “earn” food in the same way anymore, as it’s a really unhealthy mindset. Now I am really good about making healthy, whole food choices 90% of the time. But 10% of the time I want dark chocolate and cheese and wine . . . and a lot of it, please.

Okay, your turn . . . Why do YOU love exercise? Leave your comments below.