I Need To Rebuild My Fitness Rituals

There’s a terrible pattern I’ve gone through a bunch of times where I notice that I’m not working out as much as I’d like and I try to work with that rather than against it.

Like, after the re-open my work days took up 9am to 7pm with immovable schedule stuff. So not a lot of time before work and I found myself planning a lot of work outs and never doing them.

Then I was planning more, better stuff for the coming week. I became one of those people that was satisfied doing nothing because soon, so soon it’s basically now, I’d be more on track than ever.

And I read Body By Science. Curse that book.

When you find you’re work outs dwindling to a few times a week, a book that promises you you only need to work out once a week is just too damn tempting.

But really it’s like every other thing in life – a change in schedule became a change in routine became a change in lifestyle became a different person.

And I’ve written about this in the past – you can never go back. When people say they need to go back to the gym or they need to go to not smoking it never works. You need to go for the first time, as the person you are now rather than the former version you wish you still were.

You can try and get back old rituals but if they were actually strong enough for the current situation they wouldn’t have changed anyway, right?

When it came to work outs I was always planning the big stuff, the work out itself, the time, etc but I forgot to plan the little stuff that truly makes it happen.

When I took up running I did it right by laying out my clothes each night and putting them on first thing each morning – once the running clothes were on (and they were clothes that I only wore for running) the running became inevitable.

I don’t know how I lost that with strength training in this latest round of being a lapsed athlete but I’ve got to figure out some modern equivalent.

And it’s got to be every day. All the times in the past I’ve tried to have a plan anymore intricate than just do it everyday I’ve fallen off. Even in marathon training when I followed a great plan for months I didn’t set the weekly plan like ‘Thursday is speed work day’, my plan every day was open book, do as told.

Thinking back, there was a time that I was doing follow-along work out videos in the morning and that could be a good solution again. Open laptop (which I’m going to do everyday anyway), pick video, follow along. Sometimes you gotta put the training wheels back on I guess.

Really though I think it’s as simple as committing to something kindergarten-level, every morning, before coffee. Because my morning routine is so autopilot I suspect only a major interruption will work. And once I start checking the time, and doing the math backwards from have to leave to have to make lunch to have to get dressed to oh it’s right now and I’m on YouTube, I just emotionally shut down. The feeling of possibility goes away, I feel locked into the trajectory of the entire day. Which isn’t true or helpful – and your self-talk should always be at least one of those things, preferably both.

And if you’re not diligent about it then it won’t be. Most people’s self-talk veers negative when left on auto. Just like habits veer towards using the least amount of energy.

Bad habits have a gravity because they’re easy – even when they’re not fun and you hate them – they’re just going with the flow. And when you, when I, think about the whole day and my whole self and what is my life anyway there’s no point to anything… It feels too hard to go against all that flow.

But the truth is, I don’t have to. I have to start somewhere, with a small stone, and damn the flowing river of habit until it flows somewhere I do want it to be.

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