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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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What's My Motivation?

When a yoga instructor tells me to "set an intention" for my practice, and I inevitably draw a blank.  That's exactly the kind of thing that makes me uncomfortable in yoga.  I'm not sure what it is exactly that bothers me so much.  Maybe it's too abstract.  Maybe I just don't like the idea of taking myself that seriously. 

When I took Lauren Imparato's yoga class, she had us each pick a person to dedicate our practice to at the beginning of class.  That was surprisingly easy for me.  Lauren encouraged us to pick the first person who came to mind.  I immediately thought of my friend S, whose mother was recently diagnosed with cancer.  At various points during class, Lauren reminded us to think of the person we'd picked.  It was effective.  I don't mean that my dedication had some kind of metaphysical effect; S won't know I was thinking of her till she reads this post.  But, at least from a purely selfish standpoint, thinking of S motivated me to push harder during the strenuous class. 

I don't usually think of working out and thinking as being compatible.  In fact, while sleep and diet matter, the single biggest detractor from my workout quality is my brain.  When I get up early to workout, I try hard not to think.  If I do, my head will rationalize "you're too tired" or "you can go after work."  My body (almost) never says those things. During a workout, if I let my brain go, it will think "well, I'm here today, that's enough" "if I lift any heavier, I'll be too sore to work out tomorrow" "I should pace myself" "4 miles is enough, I should get to work."  Those thoughts slow me down.  My body, on the other hand, is generally pretty cooperative.  It can usually do whatever I ask it, and often it can do more.

Sometimes, my thoughts do motivate me.  For better or worse, pride and anger totally work for me.   I'm ever so slightly competitive.  It's not that I feel the need to better than other people, I just don't like them being better than me and I expect a lot from myself.  So, if I think I have a shot of being the first girl finished with a CrossFit WOD, I'm going to fight for it.  And I like being the girl who doesn't need to break from waterski position in Physique 57; damn straight my hands will be in prayer position during pretzel, too, if I can manage it.  If I'm close to a PR in anything, I can make that happen.  Anger, though it doesn't come easily to me and doesn't last long, also gets me going. 

I think the reason Lauren's class has stayed with me is that the dedication was mid-workout motivation that I felt a bit better about.  I have yet to try it in another context, but it's something to keep in mind.

I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-


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