Monday, March 7, 2016

Don't Let Your Hobby Become A Chore

More and more I stop and ask myself why I do what I do in training and fitness.  More and more I stop and ask my patients why they are doing what they do in training and fitness.  I've decided there are good answers and there are answered that we won't call bad, but they need to be explored more.

I'm going to go back and use my 8 year old self as the filter to this question.  My 8 year old self, loved Star Wars, playing in the woods, playing with my dog Chelsea, playing baseball, building forts, reading books, climbing trees and riding bikes.  (Not to much has changed)  lol

My 8 year old self hated weeding, raking leaves, shoveling snow, hanging laundry, doing dishes, mowing the lawn.  Life Chores.  (Nothing has changed here!)

I can remember running as fast as I can for as long as I can.  Not because I was trying to prove something to someone or to myself (important point to remember) but because I liked that feeling of being utterly spent and exploring what my body could do.  If you had asked me why after I had done something like that I'm pretty I would have just said, "It was fun."

Why are you training that particular way?

I like riding my bike.  A few years ago I was talked into doing a longish ride/race/event.  Every weekend I'd go and add a chunk of time on my ride, till I was up to about 6-7 hours.  I hated it.  I really don't like riding my bike longer then 2 hours.  This wasn't fun.  It had taken a fitness activity that I had really liked and made it a life chore!

How often do we let our hobbies become life chores?  Something that becomes another check mark on our daily to do list.  No longer something that we look forward to, that pumps are body with feel good "stuff."

Why is this an important distinction?

Runner comes in banged up and injured.  "I started running to lose weight and found that I really enjoyed it."  I loved the feeling of just getting out there and forgetting the stress of my day for awhile.  I started training for a 1/2 marathon a few months ago and now my last long run I got really sore, but the plan called for me to run again and now my hip has been hurting ever since.  But, "I HAVE TO GET MY MILES IN."

This isn't a rant on smart training or listening to your body.  It's about defining your relationship to fitness and training.  If it's about proving something to you or someone,  I'm not sure you can get that from exercise or an event.  It might seem frivolous to do only stuff that is fun, but research shows exercise that is a stress, doesn't really do a whole lot for us.  In fact, I personally think it opens us up for injury and sickness.

This is a rant about protecting the stuff you love doing.  The stuff that brings genuine joy in the activity.   Guard your joy.  This is what will bring health and happiness in your fitness and training.  If your workouts have become a chore, analyze when and how it did.  Rethink your goals.  Don't get caught in the elusive trap of comparing yourself to another.  Don't get caught in the trap of letting a hobby become a chore.  Chores suck.

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