It’s not my body I have to worry about;
it’s my mind I have to conquer.
As long as man has been alive, his body has been pushed to capacity in survival. Walking miles. Days without food. Enduring heat and cold. It’s only in the last 80 – 100 years that we have known the comfort of warmth at the touch of a button, clean water with the twist of our wrist, and a diverse and unlimited supply of food on demand.
Our bodies have become soft and complacent. They don’t work for anything anymore. But, this ease has not served us well. We are fatter and sicker and more depressed than ever before. We feel disconnected and lonely and miserable despite the fact that we are more tolerant and accepting and inclusive as a generality.
This understanding ( as well as other reasons for my wanting to serve my body) fuels my health and wellness journey. I am a regular at bootcamp and enjoy – Yes, ENJOY – feeling my body stretch, bear weight and respond to my every command. I like getting my ass kicked. I like feeling pushed. Sweaty. Out of breath. Weak and trembling in my legs.
It’s humbling to fatigue my muscles to the point of exhaustion; to feel my legs tremble and yet remain strong. I don’t even have to tell my body what to do: it responds with ancient wisdom, breathing deep and fast, heart beating wildly. It meets each command with joy and begs to be moved and tested. My body is happy to serve me. My body has never abandoned me.
It’s my brain that is the traitor.
And as I work, I have to fight my thoughts to back off and be quiet.
‘Don’t listen. You can do it. One more. Ignore.’
And I push.
I talk to my body with great tenderness and compassion and wisdom. I say…
“So, you can’t do 12 reps or 20 reps or three sets of 12 reps like the fit and limber 24 year old beauty next to you can. I trust you.”
I put all of my focus and all of my energy into the power of my hips; into trusting those muscles to propel me forward. I put all of my focus and passion into holding great form so that I can build my body, my strength.
“Stick to it,” I say, “and maybe in 6 weeks you’ll do six reps and then maybe you’ll do eight and then maybe you’ll do twelve.”
But I don’t doubt that my body can handle it.
I might have some city miles on me, but my body is capable of more than I think it is.