Friday, February 4, 2011

Nothing but commitment

Okay, so most of my public writing the last year-plus has been about exercise.  The rest has been about motorcycles.  Fine.  I get a little ribbing about it, but they're hobbies.  I get the most ribbing from this one old friend, but he talked about nothing else but his one hobby for 5 straight years.  I figure we're almost even.

I like to exercise 15 minutes or so during my lunch hour.  I've got this great book (Convict Conditioning, by Paul Wade) with progressively harder versions of calisthenics that range from pushups against a wall to high school phys ed to one-armed work you'd only expect from gymnasts and acrobats.  A couple days a week, I go find a conference room or some hidey-hole to do bridges or pushups or squats. 

This week, I found a place to do pullups and hanging leg raises.  It's this heavy steel brace holding up some plumbing in a stairwell, squared off at around 4 inches wide.  It's inconvenient and it hurts my fingers, but it's a place to hang.  Think what you like: obsessive, nuts, even conceited.  I only had one word come to mind when I found this, "finally!", and did 2 sets of 10 of these.  Not sophisticated: hang from your hands for :30 and raise your knees 10 times, rest, repeat.  Simple. Done.

I've rehabilitated some injuries and gotten my body back together at age 41.  I have a coworker who's lost some 50 pounds over the last 6 months.  These sorts of experiences get attributed to fate or the grace of God or even mania.  A lot of people start here and proceed into supplements and bad attitudes and becoming a muscle-bound butthead.  By no mistake, I do believe God extends moments of grace, wherein we are allowed to float safely until our feet touch bottom again.  I totally do, and I thank Him for them.  The rest, what we do with those moments, it's an expression of sheer will.  It's commitment.

Last year, both Thanskgiving and Christmas fell on days of the week when I was scheduled to exercise.  Everybody talks about going back to the gym after the holidays put on 15 pounds.  I worked out Thanksgiving morning, ate well for lunch, and came out of November at the same weight.  Yes, I worked out Christmas day.  A friend of mine commented that he didn't work out Christmas because it was Jesus' birthday, not Arnold's, but he did enthusiastically recommend a movie he went to see.  I asked "Arnold, who?", which never got an answer.  I exercised before lunch, he went to the movies... 'shrug'  We both worshiped with our church families on Christmas Eve and had a great Christmas day at home.  Going to the gym wasn't fanaticism or sacrilege or showing off.  It was just commitment.  I found an hour and "bought lunch".

I wish, I deeply wish I could find it in myself to apply this level of commitment to some other areas in my life.  That was not the way I intended this piece to end, but it's subconsciously what I was hoping other people would get out of it.  I should find the hour to read and pray and practice guitar and clean my room.  There is always time.  There is always 4" of inconvenient space somewhere that can totally serve the purpose if you will just use it.


Ric said...

I read an article on a 75-yr-old golfer recently who could still drive 300 yds. He had an exercise for every activity: pumping gas, put your foot on the trash can and stretch; brushing your teeth, up on your toes 50 times. And so on. I thought it was not so much about finding a place, as recognizing an opportunity.

Adam said...

just caught that you're blogging :) i like what i've read.

i've learned this lesson over the past 9 weeks. you've noticed the change in me with the loss of weight, and commitment is what it's all about.

it's the conscious choice when i eat. it's the conscious choice to take the stairs instead of the elevator. It's the conscious choice to park far away and walk.

it's not always convenient, but it makes a difference. without the motivation and drive to succeed i will never win this fight. this is something that will follow me forever, and i'll win the small battles with a little bit of commitment to make the hard choices.

but there's hope, because once you see tangible results the choices become easier and easier and eventually there's no choice at all - it's programmed into your being. it becomes part of you. it becomes your way of life.

i'll be working on this for the rest of my life, but i'll never go back. i'm going to go look for a pipe in the stairwell now :)