21DFC Day 18 – Seek the Path of Highest Enjoyment

This is Day 18 of the 21-Day Fitness Challenge (21DFC) for Feb 2012. View all posts made during the challenge: 21DFC Overview.


Hello and welcome to Day 18 (Feb 20) of the 21-Day Fitness Challenge! 😀 We now have only *4* days left before 21DFC comes to a close!

21DFC Day 18 – Seek the Path of Highest Enjoyment

How do you normally approach your fitness activities? Do you ‘make’ youtself exercise even when you don’t want to? Do you pick exercises which you feel you *should* do, instead of exercises you like to do? Do you *force* yourself to exercise for X duration of time every single time, even when you want to work out for only Y amount of time sometimes?

Let me tell you a story. In the past, I used to approach fitness like a chore, an obligation, a “must-do” and a “should-do”. When I go workout, I would tell myself that I must work out for x minutes today. When I don’t exercise after X days, I would tell myself that I really should start exercising again. When I go running, I would tell myself that I should at the least cover Y distance today.

The result? I would successfully complete the workouts for my desired time frame and at my desired frequency a week. At first.

Gradually, I began to resist exercising. I would keep saying “I should really exercise today”, but more often than not, I would not. And on the days I did, I would have overeaten by a large margin prior, in anticipation of the workout which I would do later, because of the mental stress I had put on myself. (Which was a separate issue of emotional eating altogether.) Then after the workout, I would again eat, not because I was hungry, but because I felt I deserved reward for overcoming my internal resistance to do the workout. (The question, though, was why would there be resistance to overcome in the first place?)

I later realized exercise had become such a huge block to me because I had created so many stories surrounding it, exerted so many mental pressures on it, in my mind. In fact, I don’t recall *ever* thinking exercise/fitness as fun in the past. I had always seen it as something that *drained* me, that required *energy*, that required *exertion* in order to be accomplished.

And that, was what prevented me from adhering to fitness as an ongoing habit. While I was successful in *squeezing* the most out of my fitness activities at first, be it via calories burned, or time spent working out, or weight lost, these were merely temporary. In the long run, my self-imposing approach towards fitness backfired on me *big* time. Exercise had became such a (mentally) painful act in my mind that deep down, I didn’t want to do it anymore.

Has this happened to you before? Resisting fitness because it felt painful / exhausting / tiring to you? Giving all kinds of excuses not to do physical activities? Feeling pressured / worn out whenever you’re exercising, even though you have barely started?

Today, I use a different approach towards fitness. I do only workouts which I *want* to do. I workout for however long I want – be it 1 minute or 2 hours. I workout as and when I want to, without making mandatory only book.

The end result? I’m exercising every single day now without fail. I *voluntary* wake up early to go to the gym. I work out longer and *harder* than I used to. When I don’t exercise, I feel weird, empty almost. In spite of whatever aches and pains, I exercise all the same – and end up feeling better during / after the activity. I have *never* been so consistent nor prolific with my exercises before.

Chances are, the resistance you used to feel / might still be feeling towards fitness is not physical. It’s mental. And it’s because you have made fitness a chore, instead of something you *want* to do.

Your task today is to identify how you can make fitness (even) more enjoyable in your life. Do you feel any resistances toward your (daily) physical activities? If so, why? How can you start transforming fitness into something you truly want to do? What changes do you need to make to your current approach?

Share Your Plans/Progress for Today!

What is your intended fitness plan for today? What physical activities are you going to do, and how long do you want to do them for? Share with us!

Update your progress as you go along. At the end of the day, review your progress and share your learnings.

Check out other participants’ responses and join in the discussions!

Image: Canoeing

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