I needed that workout to be terrible.

I didn’t realize it when I walked in, but I needed that workout to suck. I needed it to be absolutely terrible.

I needed moments that I hated, moments in which I was uncomfortable, moments where I wanted to quit.

I mean, I didn’t want that. I wasn’t thinking that when I walked in after my cute little morning routine of writing, meditating, and positive affirmations. A little nagging voice of self-doubt and big fears started to surface, and I wrote and wrote, and mediated a little, and positively affirmed my way through it, with little luck.

I walked to class reciting the same positive affirmations over and over, even if I didn’t quite believe them yet.

I walked in feeling okayyyyy. Not better, but not worse. The coach outlined the format of the upcoming workout. Ok, I thought. No biggie.

Until we got through the first segment and I wanted to die.

Until we rowed for the first time and I couldn’t feel my legs, and then we had to go up and do more running.

Until we finished running and then did squats and then did more rowing and then more running and more burpees (death to burpees) — and WAIT.

Oh my god, did I do a real, actual, not-on-my-knees push-up for the first time? and the second time? and the third? Am I doing push-ups?! OMG.

And then the rowing and the running and all of the things all over again and I hated all of it. None of it gave me that runners’ high, none of it made me feel like I was strong or capable. Not until the very end when I literally just thought, THANK GOD that is over. I’m over it. I’m done. I want to go home.

I needed that to suck.

I needed to straight. up. hate my workout today to remember that it is okay that things are hard sometimes. It’s okay for a challenge to lose its luster, for hard work to be hard work. It’s ok, because we can do hard things.

The workout was absolutely the hardest yet for me, since I started attending classes at Orange Theory back in January. From one circuit to the next, over and over, pushing limits.

Usually, even in the toughest tests of my physical endurance, I can find something to push to, something to hold on to, and something to keep me going. I can laugh even though I’m exhausted. I can remind myself that this will pass, that I’ll be done soon, that I’m building muscle, losing fat, strengthening my mental and physical endurance, getting better. I can push myself with confidence.

Today didn’t feel like that. Today was just straight up fucking hard, and I had a real hard time admitting that. I’m doing good things for myself and my health, I should be happy about that, right? And then the inner negotiations begin:

I am choosing to be here. I chose this. I’m here because I decided to do this.

But I don’t want to be. I want to be done. I want it to be over. I don’t like this. I don’t want to be doing this.

It was somewhere on the rower that at this point in my life, in this week, I realized I needed this to be hard. My morning was hard, there were fears and doubts and stress. I needed the workout to be hard. I needed to remind myself that it is okay to struggle, it’s okay to be uncomfortable, and it’s okay to get frustrated. Because even in the middle of all of it, I knew it would end eventually. And I knew I’d do it (even if it meant not feeling my legs for days after).

I needed the reminder that it is OKAY that things are hard sometimes, because we can do hard things. They won’t always be, they will pass, and I do have, within me, the ability to push through it. I have the endurance it takes, I have the resilience, and I have the perspective. I have the strength. It’s tough, it’s terrible in the moment sometimes, but it won’t feel that way forever. In fact, it won’t feel that way for much longer. I can get through it (so can you).

I came out of that class feeling the same way I do after a yoga class that decided to focus a lot of hip openers. Emotionally open. Emotionally wrecked. Feeeeeeeelingsy. I thought I might cry, but not really for any specific reason other than something had been unlocked inside me.

It’s okay to struggle, because hey, guess what? I did make it through that class. I did run when I thought I couldn’t any more. I kept rowing when I thought my legs were going to give out. I even did a few push-ups (real ones!) for the FIRST TIME probably ever in my whole life.

I didn’t need it to be terrible because I wanted to punish myself; I needed it to be terrible so I could remember that it’s okay that somethings are terrible.

Later that day, feeling at least a little encouraged, I — for some reason, I don’t know why — I pictured myself going though my day like a character in an 8-bit video game. I was walking along this linear course, dodging, jumping over, and zapping little bugs coming at me. It’s how I pictured handling the rest of my day. Some strategy and foresight would come in handy, but overall, it just came down to being decisive in the moment. And an inner monologue that comes with sound effects.

Pew, pew. Pew, pew, pew.

A little love for the OTF

*I joined Orange Theory Fitness here in Portland back in January. I can’t speak highly enough about how much I enjoy the community, the classes, the coaches, and the results I’ve seen since. I can’t speak strongly enough about how much my life, my health, my wellness, and my emotional stability of improved since I started (coupled with some one-on-one wellness coaching I’ve committed to as well). To avoid the Kool-Aid talk here, I’ll continue to reference this as my gym or my workout and leave the lingo back in the classes, but if anyone wants to talk to me about it or has questions or just wants to talk about it with me, I will always always always be excited to talk about OTF. (As a note, I’ve lost 15 pounds since January, that I attribute largely to my commitment to OTF as well as some significant dietary changes.)

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