Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Joy in Suffering

I've never been one of these "no pain no gain" kinds of girls for many reasons. First of all, I have had significant problems (e.g., back) that I don't want to re-aggrivate. My general feeling is that pain is my body telling me to back off a little. Second, the sensation of pain is kind of foreign. Having lived a sedentary life for 85+% of my life, I'm not good at differentiating what's good pain and what's bad pain just yet (i.e., am I "feeling the burn" or ripping a muscle?). I am getting better at it, but it is taking practice. Third, I desire and need exercise to be a part of getting healthy forever. And for me? Pain is not really helpful in making that a reality.

For these reasons, I've said "Thanks, but no thanks" to pain. Until about a week ago.

I have gone to spin class intermittently for about 6 months. I've liked it, but not really loved it. To me, it's not nearly as fun as riding a real bike. However since it's 95+ outside most days of late, I've come to embrace spin as a viable alternative to riding a real bike.

Last Monday I had what I think was the best workout of my life during spin class. It really has changed my perspective on pain, as the workout was SO brutal and I could barely walk up the stairs at the gym when it as over. Despite feeling physically exhausted, I had such a feeling of accomplishment. It was incredible and, ever since that day, I have pushed myself past limits I never thought I could. And WOW do I suffer to do this.

I am embracing pain at the gym. I finally get it. There can be joy in pain. Not because of the pain itself, but because you feel like such a badass for pushing through it. The endorphins help too. I am a changed woman. It amazes me that, even though I've been at this healthy living thing for 2.5 years now, I learn something about myself, my emotions, my health, and my motivations almost every single day. Embracing pain is certainly is a new one, and one that I didn't see coming.

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