Of Planks and Pushups

We’re now nearly to the end of February, and I can still honestly say that I’ve worked out every day this year [insert mental image of shocked faces, including mine]!

Most of my work outs have been pretty basic, doing 30 minute yoga exercises or running a mile or two here and there. But even with those simplistic I’m-just-trying-to-create-a-habit work outs, I can already see some exciting changes!

Here are three things I can do now that I could not do at the start of the year:

  1. Chest Push-UpsPush up
  2. Triceps Push-UpsTricep push up
  3. Side PlankSidePlankPose

A part of me is embarrassed to even admit there was a time I could not do these things, but hey – judge me if you must. I can’t help that God made me busty with ridiculously tiny wrists. I was a soccer player, not a discus thrower. But I’m working on it.

Most of the exercises I’ve done this year have been shoulder and wrist strengthening exercises, and I am (finally!) starting to reap the benefits of my discipline to keep at it, silly though I may feel when I look out the window from my yoga mat to see hardcore Crossfitters puking on the sidewalk outside. I was one of them, once upon a time (a Crossfitter, not a puker. I like to keep my food inside my stomach, thank you very much. But I digress).

One of the neat things about deciding to be disciplined in working out is that it teaches our psyches the very important life lesson of valuing perseverance; of sacrificing in the near term in order to benefit in the long term. We all know this in our heads, but sometimes it takes living it out to really believe that our discipline is worthwhile, whether it is persevering in exercise, scripture reading, relationships, folding that fifth load of laundry, finishing that kale salad, scrubbing every inch of your kitchen floor after you spill orange juice on it… or any manner of other situations.

Things that are worthwhile rarely come easily, and things that come easily are rarely worthwhile. So we persevere and strive to live above the common level of life. We were made for more than mediocrity. And kale salad.

Authentically Aurora

Exercise Exorcism

female boxingI have officially determined that there is absolutely no way I will ever exercise if it is not fun. I have, of course, made this determination through strict usage of the scientific method – namely, by observing years of failed New Year’s resolutions.

…Okay, I’m an engineer. It was a bit more scientific than that.

I would love to believe that I can just muster up the self-discipline to get myself to the gym or a running trail, but in the past six months, using that white-knuckling approach to force myself to be disciplined has only resulted in an average of 1.8 workouts per week.

I know, because I did the math.

In July, I worked out an average of 2 times per week. In both August and September, my performance went down to 1.5x/wk. October – 3.5x/wk (whoop!); November – 1.25x/wk; December – 1.5x/wk. Interestingly, October was also the month I felt the happiest this year. So if I’m going to make 2016 great, I need to get a handle on this exercise thing. Which means I need to stop thinking of exercise as exercise and more as a fun activity I have the pleasure of doing.

Being an analytics freak, I of course made a spreadsheet with some of my options, their associated costs, plus the travel times and distances to various gyms, parks, dance studios, etc. Only after doing all of this work did I have the epiphany that, really, the best form of exercise for me would be one where I frequently get to punch people in the face. Because that’s what I want to do all day anyway. If I could burn calories while punching people in the face, that would really be ideal.

Time to research nearby boxing gyms… Fit Aurora, here I come!

Authentically Aurora

P.S. You think I’m joking. But I’m not. Bye, 2015! Thanks for the motivation!

Nick the Strict – Part II

Ridiculously Photogenic RunnerHaving successfully navigated Step One of Nick’s detailed courtship plan (i.e. a casual coffee date), he called me to set up a time to engage in Step Two (i.e. a “fun activity”). Since he called me on a weeknight, Nick asked about my day at work. I shrugged (not that he could see it over the phone) and told him, “Eh, it was an okay day. I had a little trouble getting motivated at the office.”

I thought it was a simple, honest answer, but rather than valuing my authenticity, Nick replied in a peppy voice, “Come on! Get excited! Remember that you’re working for God and not for man! You know what? I’m going to send you a motivational text tomorrow morning to get you going.”

I recognized his biblical quotation of Ephesians, but rather than being uplifted, I was a bit put off. First of all, I wasn’t being overly negative; just straight-forward, and secondly, this is real life, dude. If you are expecting a super excited, bubbly cheerleader every day, I’m not your girl. I want to glorify God with my work ethic, but let’s not forget that over 1/3 of the Psalms are laments.

Putting aside my irritation at his overly chipper demeanor, I injected enthusiasm into my voice and asked Nick what he wanted to do on our second date. He mentioned a nearby park and suggested that we go running together after work the following day.

Running?! Hold on. I thought your intensely structured courtship plan specifically called for a “fun activity” on the second date. Emphasis on “fun”. Even considering those crazy people who actually like running, who wants to do that on a second date?

But of course I didn’t say that out loud. Instead, I convinced him that we could go for a nice walk in the 108 degree Texas heat. Yes, that sounds like a really fun second date activity. Don’t get me wrong; as a Crossfitter, I enjoy a good workout as much as the next girl, but it’s not exactly my idea of the quintessential get-to-know you activity, Mr. Smiling-Is-My-Favorite-Especially-When-It-Involves-Overheating.

The next morning when I woke up, I wondered why I had agreed to a second date at all because, true to his word, good ol’ Nick had sent me that motivational text.

Lolcat Good Morning

Authentically Aurora