My Everything Hurts (or, a Discussion on Daily Workouts)

Row of dumbbells

Picture me last Friday evening, wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket and sporting my oh-so-fashionable alma mater t-shirt and pajama pants. Then I get a Facebook message from my friend, which says something to the effect of, Tomorrow is the 31-Day Challenge with Tone It Up! Are you going to do it with me?

It’s important to note that this is the same friend who convinced me to start working out with her in the summertime. Thanks to her, my lifestyle resembled a doctor’s definition of healthy for perhaps the first time of my life. Unfortunately, going to the gym wasn’t a habit I maintained after my friend’s vacation ended and she returned to California. A month or so passed and I started my graduate program, and I suddenly had the perfect excuse to stay at home. “I have homework,” I would tell myself before turning on the PS4 and queueing up the latest episode of The Voice. “Yeah, let me just watch this episode and then I’ll do homework.” You know how it is. I knew, too: my excuse was a poor one. But it was an easy one.

Consider also that this is my best friend asking me to commit to a month of daily work outs. We talk about everything. There were times when we actually did do everything together. Most importantly, we support each other endlessly and without question. So when this friend asks me to do something, it’s not a request I can take lightly. If anyone else had asked me to commit to daily hour-long workouts, I would have laughed in their face. “You want me to do what? I just started grad school, you know. I don’t exactly have a surplus of time on my hands.”

But this was my best friend. And she would only ask me to do something if she needed help. Or if she thought doing it would truly benefit me.

So I signed up for the 31-day challenge with Tone It Up. If it turned out to be a mistake, I figured, I could always stop or scale my workouts back a little.

I thought I was prepared. But boy, had my body fallen into disuse after just a month. The first planned workout was too much for me, so I scaled it back. The second day, too, was too much, so I scaled it back even more—“running” a mile on the treadmill instead of the 5k I was supposed to do. By the third day, my legs were leaden and felt sheathed in ice. But I went to the gym anyway, thinking working out would help ease the pain in my muscles.

It didn’t. So I took the next two days off, and here we are.

Look, this is going to sound really nuts, and I almost can’t believe I’m saying it. But I regret not working out today. I feel better right now, sure, but I know this isn’t the way to become fit—and who doesn’t want to be a fitter, healthier version of themselves? I’ve spent years in a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve seen the consequences of being lax with your body in your youth. I have a vision of myself in twenty years, and I can only fulfill that vision if I change my unhealthy lifestyle.

Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up early and hit the gym before going into the city for class. If I can, I’ll do this for the next week (or at least until my body needs a rest), and I’ll check back in with you all next Wednesday. And, thankfully, I know that whether I make it through the week or have to quit halfway through, my friend will support me no matter what. Everyone needs a friend like that.

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