I was thinking about this quote today while I worked out...alone in the gym I train at. My back hurt. I was winded, and I was feeling a little...okay, make that VERY...defeated. I've had a lot going on lately and I have let the length and intensity of my workouts slide a bit over the past couple of weeks and I was feeling the effects today. I wanted to just stop but I refused to. I left the gym shaking, nauseous, and utterly exhausted. I know I looked a mess when I stumbled into the burger place on my way home with white chalk from pullups on my hands and black shorts and a tank top soaked with sweat. I thought to myself, "I'm definitely punishing my body, but my soul does not feel perfected today!". It got me thinking about why I do the agonizing work that I do...day in and day out in the gym.I was never one for working out. I am not naturally talented when it comes to anything athletic. I always hated P.E. class in school. I usually just walked to lose weight when I was younger. I was not interested in anything too vigorous or challenging or painful. In my late 20s, I started running, but I never lifted weights and it was always a means to an end...once the weight was gone...I would quit exercising. After I had my third child, I was overweight, overwhelmed, and I didn't like myself very much. I fed the pain, frustration, and the loneliness. In my attempt to comfort myself, I abused my body with food. I became very overweight and very depressed. I felt trapped in a body that did not belong to me, but I wouldn't do anything about it. When I hit 200 lbs, something changed in me and I became motivated to do something about my weight. I started slow and worked my way up in difficulty ...and down in weight.
I started lifting weight and doing high intensity workouts. It was no longer a means to an end...it became a new life for me.I have come so far from where I was. I am a different person now. I love to workout, and I do so 5 to 6 days a week. I try never to miss a day...even when I'm sick. I work hard and I am sore all the time. I punish myself and try to push myself to the limit every time I workout. Some people may be disturbed by the word "punish", but to punish is not necessarily a negative thing. When a child does something wrong, the parent should punish the child appropriately. This teaches the child and corrects the bad behavior. The punishment is not always pleasant, but it is productive and necessary to help the child become the best person possible over time. On the other hand, abuse is not productive. It hurts, but it doesn't make a child stronger. It does not teach. It weakens the body and destroys the spirit. Years ago, I abused my body with food and neglect, and it destroyed my body and it bruised my soul. Now, I do punish my body, but my soul truly is stronger for it...and THAT...is why I do what I do.
I've been made fun of by a family member and told that I have a "problem". Many people just do not understand why I push myself the way I do. I've been called a "freak" and a "masochist". You'd think I'd be offended, but I wear both labels with pride. I am amused by it, because in my life before I got in shape, I would not have understood either. I too would've scoffed at the idea that putting your body through pain, could make you physically strong and heal your heart in the process. Some days..like today...I am miserable while I work out...but as miserable as I felt, there was a strange calmness I felt after wards...a sense of pride and accomplishment. Some days are harder than others. Today the pain I felt while I was working out was pure agony, but when all is said and done...I am grateful for that agony...that beautiful agony that keeps me healthy and strong and proud...the agony that has strengthened me...taught me...refined me... and healed me.