A few quick questions for you kids:
- Do you prioritize your gym time/running time?
- Do you schedule the rest of your life around it? Work/Family obligations?
- Is this the way it should be?
I realized the other day that I am, for the most part, guilty of putting my fitness goals ahead of the rest of my life. In the past year, I haven't gone to an audition if it conflicted with my gym window. I schedule other classes around my training plan (ie, Tuesday is a rest day so I take my musical theatre class that day). I pick my clothing and shoewear based on the day's training. I am building an extensive supply of Lululemon pants and classy gym tops so that I can wear my gym clothes to work, and when I'm going to train upper body I wear sneakers, while when I'm training lower I wear whatever since I will change into lifting shoes. I won't go out and party if I've got a run planned for the next day. Heck right now I won't go out and party at all since I'm dieting down for a competition.
But why? I'm not a professional athlete. I don't make money running, or lifting, or modelling. If anything, this is a hobby that, while healthier than being a club kid, is actually not that healthy at all. I go far beyond what is generally accepted as the recommended amount of physical activity for a healthy adult. I run far enough to cause blisters, stomach upset and the occasional dehydration. I lift heavy enough to cause excessive strain, wear and tear on my muscles just to affect a physical and aesthetic change. I modify my eating to create a desired end result that is only maintainable for a month at best, and ultimately leaves me weaker than when I began.
And yet this what I choose to prioritize in my life. Is it right? It makes me happy, so that's got to count for something. I'm still married, so it's not yet caused a disturbance at home...
Ultimately, it comes down to one thing - choice. This is how I choose, at this moment, to live my life. Good or bad, right or wrong, it's my choice. Conversely, it's not my place to say that other people are wrong for NOT behaving in this manner - I salute the people I see at the gym who show up each day to put in the requisite 30 mins of movement that makes them feel as though they've done something. I applaud the cardio bunnies - if that's what makes you happy, go for it! And as for the guys who lift in jeans and boots, who never fully finish a movement or use full ROM - hey, if it works for you then it's not my place to poo-poo it.
So before you pass judgement on the guy sweating next to you on the elliptical, or the crazy CF devotee who shouts 3-2-1 GO! at every chance (while counting zone blocks and extolling the horrors of grain), just take a step back, breathe, and choose to smile (inwardly).
Because when we forget that we're all in this by choice, it's then that the prioritization takes on an unhealthy, obsessive quality. As long as you choose to do something, you can still choose to do something else.