I was recently telling a friend about my work/workout (since they seem like they’re one in the same, most of the time) schedule, and it went something like this:
“I try to Crossfit twice a week, run 1-2 times, and yoga 1-2 times. Oh, and I teach 8 Spin classes and a boot camp.”
That last part always gets people.
In any fitness professional’s life, there is a distinct and tangible difference between the workouts you do “for yourself” and the workouts you do while teaching group exercise – as in, “for others.”
When I am working out for others, I am completely engaged in their experience. I am constantly checking on their form, wondering how they’re feeling, focusing on the details (music, lighting, timing) that make their workouts feel special, motivating, and effective. When I work out for others, I am often sweat-drenched and usually exhausted afterward, because putting your mental and physical all into something is a truly challenging pursuit.
That said, it’s a whole different ball game when I’m working out for myself.
When I work out for myself, I am free. I turn my music up and my distractions down, and for a blessed hour(ish), I am silent. Voiceless. Focused. I can enjoy the way my muscles burn, the cadence of my own breath, the familiar comfort of my own strength. Instead of concentrating on details, I let my world get fuzzy, blurred, relaxed into an abstract “zone” where I am at once fully myself.
I recognize my authentic self when I am working out this way; I lose track of time and feel connected to who I am deep down inside – not a shell personality screaming from a Spin bike, not a military-style force lording over the trembling bootcamp masses, but an authentic human presence working and loving and pushing myself without judgment or pressure. It is indeed my “happy hour,” my favorite place, the few moments of respite I seek from each day’s routine.
They say that part of finding happiness is losing yourself in what you truly love to do; finding “flow” to the point where you are barely even aware of what you are doing except for the way it makes you feel – blissful, productive, accomplished, fulfilled. That is what my workouts do for me. I love teaching for others and will always need that purpose in my fitness life; however, I need to remember that part of my balance as a fitness pro is making time to give myself the pleasure of working out for ME.
What makes you feel like you’re “flowing”? Where do you find bliss each day?
Thanks for celebrating the joys and rewards of hard physical effort! Rare to read about the pleasures of exertion. I have those moments on a rugged solo canoe trip.
Thanks so much Chris! I can imagine canoeing gives you all this and more. 🙂