I was in a weird funk for a few days and couldn’t quite pinpoint why: I hadn’t rowed in a few days. It’s become such a fundamental core of my day to row at least once that too much time away feels weird. It’s like ten minutes to myself and my mind, to explore thoughts, or just actively meditating on how my body is feeling. There are, of course, other exercises that are good enough…
Jumping in and out of trailers lined with black mold, running around for “39.75” hours a week throwing away subpar donations, and otherwise cleaning the warehouse in the back of some busy thrift store all weren’t enough to get me in as good of shape as I am now, even when I skip a day rowing. Why do we want to buy a magic pill to solve our fitness problems? Is that why we often donate?
I hadn’t realized how much my old rowing shoes were slowing me down until I rowed in my new rowing shoes. They were still comfortable enough, but I think that comfort was an invisible shield protecting them in my mind, because how can I throw out something that’s comfortable? Well, because although I liked the aesthetic of the shoes being held together by superglue experiments and layers of gaudy duct-tape, that comfort prevented my progress.
Which is better: a well-balanced breakfast or some snack bar? What main metrics are we considering? Nutrition or time? Are there ways we can make it easier for ourselves to cook efficient breakfasts that will give us sustenance throughout the day? If so, are there are ways we can preemptively prepare food for ourselves throughout the day? Let’s consider how we can reduce mild feelings of sickness, laziness, or tiredness with changes to our routines.
My main New Year’s Row-solution is reducing the amount of fast food I eat, but should I wait until this essay publishes in 2019 to begin this pact? The intent, I suppose, is that we should start a “new year” as new people,” but why wait until that arbitrary date? Let’s externally throw out some wild claim for self-change after we’ve spent months internally building our resolves to the point where it’s an easy, throwaway statement.
The best gift you can give to yourself is self-trust. Knowing that regardless of how any event turned out, if you trust that you did your best and tried with as much effort as you could muster, then the consequences are trivialities. Take all those negative feelings you have about wishing you could have changed past events and trust that you can act with positive intentions in behaviors that will improve your mind and body.
I used to spend most days sedentarily engaged in writing or working. The gigs I’ve enjoyed the most have got me out and about, but that might have just been because my hobbies are mainly sedentary. Now that I’m in the process of moving, which you’ll be reading about over the next few months, I’m more likely to spend hours moving things around. The most interesting change is that sitting around isn’t as appealing now.
The hair had to go.
This will be a winding series of whys and hows explaining how that seemingly insignificant weight was weighing me down, which is a funny thing to talk about on a purely physical fitness column, but I believe there are myriad crossovers between the many things we hold onto physically and mentally. After all, exercise is decluttering stores of fungible energy we have stored in our bodies in a controlled manner.
I think what frustrates people the most about their physical fitness goals is when the focus is on an ideal end goal. From my experience, when I focus too much on losing a certain amount of weight or looking a certain way, I’ll be more likely to give up. I’ll miss seeing how my stomach has toned because I’m too focused on the remaining belly fat. The problem is there aren’t immediate results in fitness.
“I’ll pass on the pizza, then.” Fitness is a choice that can come with a price that maybe we’re not willing to pay: who doesn’t like free pizza? “It was fine until I remembered why I don’t like eating pizza: my stomach was feeling gnarly for a few hours after that.” Sometimes it’s worth enduring certain short-term hardships for long-term gains. For me, the pleasure of eating pizza isn’t worth the pleasure of good fitness.