Thursday, January 6, 2011

1-6-11 It's a Good Ow

(pre-dawn shot of the full moon a year ago on New Years morning)

It's a good "ow", but an ow nevertheless. I knew I'd gotten back to a good start with the weight training when the soreness didn't settle in deep until the end of the second day (last night).

However, if you're setting up a schedule to hit the weights on Tuesday and Thursdays, last night will turn out to be the night before you are about to hit them again. I was laughing in between saying "ow, ow, ow" because those stomach muscles weren't in the mood to move. And getting up this morning to do it all again just has to be one of those happily painful moments until I can build them up to where they need to be.

Day 4 of the new workout year and still the crowd at the gym has stayed stable at 5:00 a.m. Nick has reported a surge in the late afternoon traffic, though, which leads me to believe the bulk of the resolutionists don't know one of the key factors to gym success:


The majority of people who get up and go to the gym before anything else have the greatest success at continuing their exercise routine for the entire year. Lots of studies bear this out, but so does my anecdotal evidence: the same folks have been at the gym for the past three years now at 5:00 a.m. I can count on knowing. almost to the woman. who else is going to be wanting a turn on the hip abduction machines at the same time as me. It's also a motivator not to skip, because all the regulars notice your absence, and so do the gym staff. It's much more fun to chat for a minute about the family than explain where you've been for the past month like I did this week.

When you make yourself do it first, the only hurdle you face is getting your butt out of the bed. There are no meetings, appointments, calls (unless it's Japan), kids' events, children who have to be gotten ready for school, or excuses that are demanding your attention before the sun comes up. Is the butt-out-of-bed an easy hurdle? Heck no. It's called discipline and it's incredibly good for you. Take your medicine and put those feet on the floor after the alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze. The first five minutes are the worst, trust me.

Exercising first also ramps up your energy and metabolism throughout the day, so you are actually burning more calories even when your rear end is plastered to the office chair (or couch, as the case may be). And it boosts the chemicals that alter and improve your moods and mental capacity. Your body rewards you in myriad ways for making it a priority.

Morning workouts also help you sleep better, since you're body has been running on all cylinders all day, which makes it easier after the first couple of weeks to not feel as though you are embarking on a death march to the track the next morning. And guess what one of the emerging indicators of successful long term weight loss is? Yep, good sleep.

Starting out with exercise ahead of everything else also alters your mentality. You simply have the focus to eat a better breakfast, skip the junk food, and keep your portions small. I noticed when I tried to work out later in the day, I somehow told myself as I heaped on the crap, "well, I'll burn it off tonight." For whatever reason, this phrase doesn't cross my mind when I begin the day doing something healthy. It just falls into place.

So the ows will continue for awhile, but the benefits are already showing themselves in the way I feel, the way the jeans fit (more water and no diet soda all week is doing that), and my continued to commitment to believe I am worth fighting for.


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