Falling Victim to Routine
I had a realization today when I went for a swim, one that was completely unexpected, but eagerly (and nervously) welcomed.
I decided to go for a swim in the Delta today, a body of fresh-water about 2 hours inland from San Francisco. I wanted a bit of exercise and needed to cool down from the 97-degree weather. I figured I would swim for about twenty minutes and then return to the tree I planned to read under for the rest of the day.
However, about fifteen minutes in, I became very determined. All through my sophomore year of college, I swam laps at least once a week for exercise. I loved it, but always found it a bit of a hassle—it always seemed to take up more of my time than if I were to just go to the gym.
I never swam competitively growing up—I actually don’t even know how to dive (I can’t even dive starting in a kneeling position on the edge of the pool… I just kind of belly flop right in). I have never felt the pressure to be great at it, rather it has always been something I do because I thoroughly enjoy it as soon as I am in the pool and because I know it has great health benefits.
So when I started to swim today, I did find it a bit difficult at first. I was a bit out of practice, but could not stop since there was no convenient edge- I had to tread water and just keep going. When I got to that twenty-minute mark, I thought to myself, I want to keep going. I want to see what I can do. Plus, I knew that if anything went wrong, there were people all around me lingering on their boats who could help.
I felt a new strength inside of me and just kept swimming. I alternated between breaststroke and freestyle, swimming against the current at a steady pace.
I haven’t felt that desire to challenge myself in a really long time. For about a month before this swim, I had been having a hard time motivating myself to work out- a foreign feeling to me. I have felt very monotonous in my routine, and while I know I am still pushing and challenging myself, I've been feeling like I am working out to work out, not working out to challenge myself and feel great.
But, after this swim- I ended up swimming like that for an hour- I felt amazing. I was so tired, soaking wet, panting, and had a huge smile on my face. I honestly wanted to get right back into the water and go again (except I was also starving and needed food ASAP), afraid that the feeling would wear off. But it hasn’t and its been almost twelve hours!
The swim made me put words to the feelings I couldn’t before express. I want my body to keep being surprised and I want to test its limits- I want a challenge! So, I signed up for Barry’s Bootcamp and will be taking my first class this Friday. I have always wanted to do a class to see how I fare in their marketed "best workout class in the world" and now we shall see! I am trying not to set expectations for myself, but I am ecstatic and cannot wait for the class. Not to mention the smoothie I will order at their Fuel Bar afterwards… duh.
I am really grateful for the swimming experience I had today. I know I cannot expect every workout to produce those feelings, but I am definitely from here on out going to work on incorporating something unfamiliar into my weekly routine. I’ve always wanted to try boxing, so maybe next week I will take my first class!
We can so easily become a victim to routine, purely because we have been told it is best for us. I work out six times a week because I read on a random site that its healthy to do 2.5 hours of cardio and 2.5 hours of weights a week. As soon as I learned that fact, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And that still taunts me to this day- I have no clue if it is true or false, but it really has influenced my weekly routine, and I am not happy to admit that. But we all are human, and this is something that I still find myself facing even though I would like to claim I am beyond it. Even more so, I feel a relief in admitting how tough it can be to let go at times. And today made me confident that I have the power to not only change up a routine I find myself so strictly sticking to, but also to surprise myself and challenge myself to new levels every day. Why not, am I right?
Have you discovered any new workouts lately that you really enjoyed? What do you do when you tire of your routine? How do you motivate yourself to get excited?