Today I experienced one of my least favorite feelings while working out. A brief background: At the beginning of the year, in a fit of resolution-induced crazy, I committed to Mudderella, a 7 mile run + obstacle course. Since February, I’ve added cross training to my weekly routine. Several very sore weeks later, I’ve started to find the rhythm of interval training, running, and yoga. Today I took my interval training to the streets, as it were, and used an outdoor fitness court. I was in round two when The Crappy Moment happened.
A tourist biking by stopped, looked at the fitness court, laughed, pulled out his camera, took photos, and then biked away. Let me say that again: he LAUGHED and TOOK PHOTOS of me, then biked away. I looked around the fitness court, hoping someone was doing something funny and photo worthy. Like, I dunno, a clown in assless chaps doing burpees with a giant marquee sign that said “LAUGHTER” in flashing letters. Sadly, no ass-bearing clown. Instead, there was a trainer and a woman kicking serious workout ass. At that moment my brain started its spectacular cascade of feeling like shit.
First, the logic breakdown:
– My pants are bright and colorful. Maybe it’s that.
– Outdoor exercise is atypical behavior, hence funny.
– Tourists are prone to finding mundane things entertaining and photo worthy.
Somewhere in the next set of reps came the self recrimination:
– he laughed because I look like a joke
– he laughed because I was doing it wrong
– he laughed at my hair
– he laughed at my weight
– he laughed at me
BUT this isn’t an article about self-pity. This is an article about the fact that we ALL have this moment – this “quit while I’m behind” despairing, disparaging, self-loathing, progress-halting moment. And so as an average, vaguely enlightened person, I have to say Fuck That Feeling. That Feeling is useless. Get rid of it. Here are 5 steps to kick that crappiness to the curb.
1. Do an extra rep.
Whatever you’re doing, add 5-10 more minutes to it. If it’s cardio, push yourself harder. If it’s yoga, twist deeply and challenge yourself. Sweat it out. Use your frustration as fuel and then let yourself get wrapped up in the movement.
2. Wash it off.
It sounds basic, but take a shower. Make it ritualistic and wash off the bullshit that you feel. Make a rule for yourself- once your foot hits the bathroom tile and you leave the shower, you’ve left that doubt to disappear down the drain. Don’t carry it after you leave the bathroom, but don’t judge yourself or punish yourself if it comes back up in your head. There’s still 3 steps left.
3. Put on that pair of pants.
There’s something in your closet that you love to wear. It makes you feel awesome and sexy and like strutting out toe door. Put that on. Enjoy the way it makes you feel. This is your armor, and your reminder that you are a hot badass not a hot mess.
4. Hold some love.
Find something in your house that was given to you by someone who loves you. It can be a thank you card, a piece of jewelry, a picture. Whatever it is, take ten minutes and sit with that object close to your heart. Remember how the person who gave you this gift feels about you. How do they see you? What is one positive thing they’ve said about you, one time that they’ve talked your off the ledge or made you feel better about your day. Hold onto that feeling. That’s a true reflection of the person you are, and you should remember how that feels instead of worrying about a stranger’s snap judgement.
5. Bitch to a friend.
This isn’t about calling your best friend and bawling about your feelings for an hour. This is taking 5 minutes or less to tell a friend about the stupid thing that made you feel bad today. Let them scoff at how absurd it was and bolster your resolve to get over it. And then change the subject. Talk about something that you’re excited about, or happy about. Talk about a badass moment that you’ve had in the past week. Brush off the bad and press on with the good.
After all, it’s in the past, you’ve washed it off, you’re in your favorite pair of *whatever*, and you are loved for exactly the brilliant person that you are.