Training Tuesdays: what are you committed to?

Bear with me: this is a bit of a long one.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what gets in the way of achieving fitness goals, even when they’re incredibly important to us. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple issue to unpack.

I don’t talk a lot about my work in this space, and when I do I tend to be complaining. This isn’t really fair to my work as there are parts of it I’m supremely passionate about, like the concept of commitment or, more accurately, competing commitments.  What fascinates me about human behavior is that we can have goals that are really and genuinely important to us, yet still fail to make progress towards those goals because we act in subtle (and not so subtle) ways that work against us.  In my work, I am looking at this paradox of human behavior through the lens of leadership, but it’s equally applicable to fitness goals.

How many of us have set out to improve our health at some point, to exercise more, eat less, get in better shape, run a marathon, the list truly goes on and on?  Research shows that most of us suck at achieving our goals and resolutions, with studies showing success rates ranging from 8-40%. Those are strikingly poor numbers.  It’s easy to simply assume that the reason we fail with these goals is because they really don’t matter to us and, following with that logic, if the goals mattered more we’d be more successful.  Well, as it turns out, that’s not actually the way that our brains are wired. We can be firmly committed to a goal and still find ourselves making zero progress towards it.  Enter: the competing commitment.

I have been consistently committed to my fitness for the last 12 years or so, but prior to that I struggled with sticking to fitness routines. I’d start then stop like it was my job. Was my health important to me? Absolutely and without question. So what was the problem?  At the time, I had no idea. But as I’ve spent time delving into the world of human behavior, I’ve been able to shed light on this question.  I share this in hopes that if you’re struggling with making progress towards fitness goals, this might help you too.

The Quick & Dirty

Here’s the thing: humans are protectionist little creatures. We are hard-wired to resist change and avoid perceived risk–and note the use of the word ‘perceived’ because in the case of assessing risk, perception is reality. The odds are stacked against us to make progress when our actions might ignite the little threat centers in our brains.

What does this have to do with fitness goals?  For some of us, the reason we’re not making progress is because, in some way, the thought of taking action towards our health is perceived as a risk to our sense of self or our way of seeing the world.  When that happens, we suddenly find ourselves committed to minimizing that risk. Unfortunately, in order to minimize the risk, we sabotage any and all efforts to achieve our initial fitness goal.  In other words, we are committed to our health goal but we are also equally committed to reducing any risk or threat to our way of seeing our self and the world. When two competing commitments collide, the end result is that things come to a grinding halt and we make no progress towards our goal.

Digging Deeper

I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘okay, how could I possibly see getting fit as a threat?’ I hear you. It sounds ridiculous.  I invite you to walk yourself through this bit of a process.  I’d like you to consider the last health or fitness related goal that you had (or maybe have) for which you’re not making progress.

With that goal in mind, ask yourself what are you doing, or perhaps not doing, that is working against the goal? For me, when I’ve failed to stay on the fitness track in that past, my list included things like: telling myself I’d work out tomorrow instead of today, choosing TV or plans with friends over my workout, hitting snooze so many times that I’d run out of time to workout before work, “forgetting” my workout clothes at home, trying to run fast and frustrating myself instead of starting slow and building up.  And those are just a few of the ways I was getting in my own way.  When answering this question, it’s important to list actions or inactions without judging them.  They are neither good nor bad. They simply reflect what you’ve done or not done.

Here’s where things get interesting. My natural reaction in the past would’ve been to assume I could just do the opposite of whatever I’d listed and my problems would be solved. Just stop hitting that damn snooze button and fitness will be mine! Sadly, when we focus on the actions themselves, we miss the underlying beliefs that are the real source of our action and inaction.

Instead, try this: for everything you’ve listed in your list of things you are doing or not doing, contemplate having to do the opposite. When you think about having to do the opposite, what worries does that raise for you? If I’m honest with myself, the thought of working out made me worry that I’d look foolish, that people would judge me for being unfit, that it would feel hard and uncomfortable, that I would lose out on time with my friends.  These aren’t pretty to look at, nor should they be. Our worries and anxieties are rarely pretty, but they give us powerful insight into what’s really going on under the surface.

We have to ask ourselves: if these are my worries, what am I committed to?  If we look at my worries, I was committed to never looking foolish, I was committed to avoiding discomfort. I was committed to being seen only as capable and skilled.  So what’s the problem with that? Well, unfortunately getting fit was going to require me to be uncomfortable at times. My muscles would have to hurt. I’d have to struggle to build up cardiovascular fitness. I’d potentially look foolish trying out new exercise moves and not being able to master them first time around.  My competing commitments were working against my health goals and keeping me in a steady state of being unfit.

Our work doesn’t stop here, though, because our hidden commitments are the manifestation of underlying assumptions and beliefs. The question becomes, for my competing commitments to be true, what must I believe to be true about myself or the world around me?  In my case, I believed that people pay attention to and judge those that are trying to get fit; I believed that getting fit should be easier for me; I believed I would struggle to rebound if I embarrassed myself in the process of getting fit. Were these beliefs true? Of course not, or at least not in all cases. That’s the thing with our beliefs, though. They don’t have to be true for us to believe them at a very deep level, and to let them dictate our behaviour.

Once we start to see the underlying beliefs that are holding us back from our goals, we’re in a much better place to start to question those beliefs with small and safe-enough actions (i.e. actions that are a bit of a stretch but not so much of a stretch that they sent us into amygdala hijack).

What’s the point of all this?

If you’ve got a health or fitness goal that’s really important to you, but you’re not making the progress you want to make. Perhaps you feel frustrated or stuck and like you just can’t ‘make yourself’ do what you know you should be doing, work your way through these questions. Challenge yourself to really dig deep, to pay attention to your feelings. If you do this, you’ll notice when you’ve hit on a belief that’s been really powerful in holding you back.

Is this going to get you on track with your health goals in one fell swoop? Not at all, but it might give you a different perspective on how to make progress. So, really, what are you committed to?

**Full Disclosure: The concepts discussed in this post are from the Immunity to Change model created by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. I’m an Immunity to Change facilitator and use this model extensively in my work and coaching.  It’s based on sound research by smarter people than I, so if you don’t believe me, check out their work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Real Talk Thursday: the low carb experiment part II

I’ve been following a loose ketogenic approach since early November.  That’s 2.5 months of mostly avoiding carbs and sugars. Saturdays are my exception to this rule, but so was Christmas…and there has definitely been wine on the odd Thursday…and I think once there was even a Wednesday donut.  So when I say I’ve been ‘loosely’ following a keto lifestyle, I’m not exaggerating. I’m not counting my macros, not testing for ketones, and don’t feel an ounce of remorse for integrating a weekly cheat day. Life is short, y’all.

Here’s the thing, though, I totally understand that the keto diet does not really work this way. Going off and on it, having ‘cheat days’, treating wine like it’s not really a carb, that’s going to throw the old body of ketosis.  I went into this experiment knowing full well I wasn’t going to live and breathe the full-on keto experience.  Regardless, I wanted to see what drastically lowering my carbs and sugar and drastically increasing my fat intake might do for me on a number of fronts:  curbing my insane sweet tooth, exponentially increasing my energy, and mellowing out my somewhat erratic emotions.  I knew so many (i.e. four) people who had experienced revelatory transformations in their minds and bodies. I wanted so badly to experience the same.

So what’s my experience been? I’ve organized my thoughts on semi-keto life around my three primary goals: killing my sweet tooth, stabilizing my mood, and increasing my energy.  Let’s get to it!

Sweet Tooth 
This is where I’ve noticed the biggest difference. I’ve gone off sugar many a time in my life, and I’ve always been plagued with epic cravings for sugar in the early days (and sometimes beyond the early days). With ketogenic eating, sugar cravings even during the first few days were minimal to non-existent.

You’re probably thinking that it seems like I’m still really into sugar. Based on what I’ve written on this blog, you likely assume my cheat days are a headfirst spiral into manic sugar consumption.  The reality is that my cheat days aren’t actually that bad, and really I just have a flair for the dramatic.  I can honestly say that I don’t crave sugar the same way I used to. Even worse, it’s with great sadness that I admit that my sweets just don’t taste as good to me anymore. Seriously, saying that almost breaks my heart. I realize it’s contradictory to want to curb your sweet tooth and then to lament the loss of it, but such is the human paradox.

To add insult to injury, 95% of the time I don’t even miss carbs.  Not having oats for breakfast, or a side of potatoes, or even pasta dinner doesn’t really bother me all that much.  I don’t even miss pizza. What is the world coming to?

Mood Stability
I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’m less prone to emotional reactions, and then sometimes I see something on TV that anyone else would find benign  and I find myself welling up with tears.  I don’t think that we are the best judge of our own emotional stability, no matter how self aware we think we might be. I’m certain those around me would have a better read on this.

But since it’s my blog, I’ll share my own perspective anyway, which is that I I’m not feeling as irritable as usual and I’m not struggling as much to cope with, you know, basic life circumstances that shouldn’t be upsetting.  But then again, if you saw me driving during rush hour you certainly wouldn’t think my coping mechanisms are doing all that well, so…The big measure for me is that I haven’t cried at work in months. Never you mind how low a benchmark that is.

Energy
This has been my biggest disappointment. Normally, when I cut out sugar I feel 100 times more alert, awake and high-energy. This time around: no dice. I still feel tired and sluggish, to the point where I’m fairly convinced that my current energy levels have nothing to do with my diet and everything to do with my work situation. My only energy peak was three or four days before Christmas, when I felt what I can only describe as euphoric. This energy boost also coincided with actually being busy at work for once, though, so you do the math.

My workouts are also hit and miss. I expected to tap into an amazing wealth of energy for my workouts. The friends who sold me on keto living bragged at length about the seemingly limitless energy they had for workouts. I now consider them liars. Some days I feel great whereas other days I feel weak and lazy, which is really how I felt before upending my diet.  Since this was really the big driver for me, it leads me to believe that keto living may not be my jam. Likely, cutting sugar and refined starches alone would’ve had just as much impact.  I know I just said I don’t miss carbs but maybe some oatmeal wouldn’t be all that bad…

Bonus Commentary
There’s one elephant in the room that I haven’t addressed in my keto posts: weight loss. Most of the people I talk to are doing keto to drop pounds, and often with great results.  Though it definitely wasn’t my primary motivator, I’ll admit that weight-loss-as-a-fringe-benefit was appealing.  My reality is that I haven’t lost much weight at all (if any). My own thoughts on this are that I probably eat more than I need to on the keto diet because I’m not counting macros and, thus, worry that I’m not getting enough fats.  I’m also fairly certain that cheat days really throw a wrench in ketosis, and thus ketosis-associated weight loss. I’m certainly no nutritionist, but I can’t imagine my system understands what’s happening when I eat clean for six days then load it up with donuts and wine and chocolate. My best guess is that it’s shouting WTF at the top of its metaphorical lungs.

There you have it, one more perspective on ketogenic living to add to the growing list of perspectives because, let’s face it, ketogenic diets are everywhere these days. Will I continue? I don’t know. I suspect that my body doesn’t actually hate carbs as much as some do, and that my workouts are more consistent when I do consume them, but I am not ready to throw in the towel quite yet. In other words, stay tuned.

Monday Musings: on trial by fire

I have a love/hate relationship with trial by fire. My reptilian brain sounds alarm bells at the thought of being thrown into the deep end without a life preserver. My experience, however, tells me that when I’m thrown in the deep end I actually tend to learn the most and the most quickly. Not only that, they’re the times when I’ve been forced to come up against and change some deeply held beliefs about myself.

The thing with trial by fire is that it forces you to figure something out quickly. The alarm bells are fleeting because you simply don’t have the luxury of time to slowly think through your options and extensively weigh out the best way to respond.  You’ve got to figure it out. Right now. And then you have to come to terms with the choices you made in that moment.  More often than not, my game time decisions are just as good, if not better, than ones I’ve agonized over.

I am a homeowner, a designer, a career coach, a facilitator, and a strength training enthusiast, all because of trial by fire. I was thrown into all of these roles thinking ‘that’s not me’ but by virtue of being forced to disprove myself, I have come to realize that these things are all very much me. Sometimes trial by fire is the fastest route to seeing new possibilities in ourselves. But it’s not the only route.

Ultimately I’m starting to see that trial by fire is actually just about trusting my gut in moments that require immediate action because the answers and ideas are already there. I’ve been working with a coach lately who flies against my conception of conventional coaches–which I love–and the more I work with her, the more I’m seeing a powerful pattern: when I’m forced to do something, I find a way. Even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it goes against what I believe to be true about myself, even when I think I have no idea how to do it, I will get it done.

While I like to tell myself that I need time to think things through and  to process information before making big decisions I’ve also noticed that the more time and space I have to think about things, the more likely I am to experience immobilizing anxiety and fear.  The end result: I’m stuck in the same place with the exact same story. And the pattern repeats.

As I’ve been digging into this pattern, I’ve realized I’ve spent years asking myself the wrong question. I’ve been asking myself how can I light a fire under my ass to replicate the trial by fire feeling as a means of forcing me to challenge my stories.  What I really needed to be asking myself is how I can question my stories and trust my gut in the calm of comfort. All along, I have been missing the fact that I would be better served to rewrite my story out of want rather than necessity.  I don’t need external pressure or the replication of external pressure to get stuff done. I need to quiet the noise, open my heart and listen.

Onward and upward I go.

TWIR #94: Shaking it Up

Any time I travel, I find I end up shaking up my workout routine a bit.  Most of the time, this means reducing workout duration or missing a day here or there. This week, however, it just meant the return of an old favourite and moving things around within the week. The end result was a workout week that felt a little less stale. Hurrah! Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: operation-surprise-my-dad-for-his-70th-birthday successfully completed!
Observations: After a quick early morning flight, we surprised the heck out of my dad and whisked the fam out to Banff for the day.  There is nothing like fresh, mountain air to reinvigorate the spirit.  Though we didn’t get a real workout in, there was lots of walking and photo snapping, and my soul was happy so I was 100% okay with no real exercise.  I also shook up my cheat day and stayed carb and sugar free thanks to those new Starbucks egg bites (sidenote: still not sure how I feel about them and they’re odd, souffle-like texture…) and finding a lunch spot that featured many healthy options.  Somehow, I even resisted the urge to down my half pound of fudge the second I had it in my possession. Growth.

Sunday
Activity: at home strength workout
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations:  We bought my dad a Sonos speaker system for his birthday and were having some issues connecting it to an older stereo system. I could explain the whole set up but who really cares? Suffice it to say I have no patience for nor experience with technological set up so I avoided the whole damn set up process by escaping to the basement for an at-home workout. We capped off the day with a lovely stroll along the Bow river, my mom’s famous home-made caesar salad and turkey pot pie, a half pound of fudge, and a belly ache. Worth it.

Monday
Activity: mini winter hike!!!!!
Relevant Stats: 5.2 km return, 295 m elevation gain
Observations: I have a smaller-than expected ice carving festival to thank for this hiking adventure. Our plan had been to check out the ice carvings in Lake Louise and then grab overpriced specialty coffees at the Chateau Lake Louise. When it became clear that the ice carvings would occupy all of 15 minutes of our time, we needed a plan B. We opted for a quick mini-hike through safe snow terrain and headed up to Mirror Lake. Though a quick and easy trail, I was left wondering why this was my first winter hike of the year.  Plus, man do I miss that nice, fluffy, dry Alberta snow.

Tuesday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: travel day + return to the never-ending rain
Observations: As quick as we arrived, we headed back to Vancouver. And to the rain. Which never seems to end. Seriously, it has rained every day in January except for one. I’ll point out the obvious: that’s too much rain. At any rate, I’d contemplated a track workout that afternoon but, upon being greeted by torrential downpours, thought better of it and spent my afternoon meal planning, grocery shopping and doing kitchen chores instead.  Related: four-day weekends are the absolute best. For once I didn’t feel at all stressed about getting all the chores done while still fitting in fun. New goal: find a way to have four-day weekends all the time.

Wednesday
Activity: running intervals + strength
Relevant Stats: 5 min. warmup + 8 2 min. running intervals + strength
Observations: When your brand new umbrella just snaps shut unexpectedly in the pouring rain and after the world’s most painful three hours at work following a wonderfully extra long weekend that made you not want to go back to work, it can sometimes make you want to angry run.   This was one of those times. I needed to run. I craved the running. I ran at speeds I could never sustain these days, but that felt necessary to my sanity. I ran farther than I’ve run in months, and faster. And it felt freaking fantastic.

Thursday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: As it turns out, my anger fueled running made my SI stiff and made my hip positioning regress, so not only did I have to do prowler chest presses, but I had to do them with a new form that made them twice as hard.  Ugh. For the most part, my trainer spared me any torturous new activities, but I have to say that my arms and shoulders wanted nothing to do with any form of exercise so even the basics felt difficult.

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: I seriously contemplated bailing on my workout today, but I’m glad that I didn’t because a) it stopped raining and the sun actually came out while I was walking to the gym (!!!) and b) it turned out okay. I focused on nice, controlled exercises today to give my stiff body a break from the angry running earlier this week and the jumping in yesterday’s training session.  Now that it’s done, I feel accomplished. Nothing more should be required of me today, right? Right.

With that, the weekend is here. Even though I had a three day work week, I’m still saying a big glory hallelujah to the weekend’s arrival. Time to bring on the donuts and relaxation and chill time with friends. I may also day dream just a little bit about blue sky days and sparkling snow in the Rockies because, even though I could frolic in the snow here, I can assure you that it would not be under blue skies. Happy weekend y’all. Hope you find some sunshine, real or metaphorical, wherever you are.

Training Tuesdays: almost forgotten joys of winter hiking

I have not hiked a single trail this winter. Contrast this with the last few years when I had an almost weekly track record, if not more frequently. Last year, for instance, when I was temporarily (and by choice) out of work, I was winter hiking at least a couple days a week. I couldn’t get enough of it, and I thought for sure that the same would be true this year.

Instead, I’ve found myself in this reality:  I’ve been working in a role that leaves me feeling exhausted and unmotivated. While winter hiking could very well have been my reprieve,  I found myself unwilling to spend my precious weekends driving to trails, dealing with crowds at our local ski/winter sport hills, and putting up with the heavy, wet, clumpy west coast snow.   As a result, and despite invitations to join others on the snowy trails, I’ve not ventured out even once.

Until this weekend.

We were blessed with the warmest of rocky mountain weather this weekend (i.e. temperatures just slightly below 0). When you are near the rockies and are greeted with semi-clear skies coupled with temperatures that warm, there is only one thing to do: hit the trails. And so we did.  And from the second we stepped into closed forest, surrounded by nothing but lightly falling snow, snow-capped trees, and the gentle crunch of snow beneath our feet, my love for the winter hike came flooding back.

There is something about winter hiking that is even more magical than summer hiking. There air is crisp and fresh. There is a deep silence that only snow can bring. Snow evens out the trail surface, making snow hiking far more leisurely and less technical than summer hiking.  In the rockies at least, there tends to be fewer people on trails than here in Vancouver, giving the experience an air of solitude.  It’s also amazing what a blanket of pristine snow can do for normally dull terrain. Even forest-enclosed trails become portrait worthy. I had somehow forgotten all of this and it took only two hours on trail to remind me.

If there’s snow and trails to be found where you are, I strongly encourage you to bundle up and head to the mountains, find a suitable trail (i.e. a trail that’s meant to be hiked or snowshoed in the winter), put one foot in front of the other, breathe deep and find the peace and solitude you didn’t even know you were missing. I just might do the same again very soon in my neck of the woods (despite the heavy, wet snow, neverending cloud cover and hordes of hikers).

TWIR #93: TGILW

Okay, I know, that post title has way too many acronyms. I’m just over the moon that a) it’s Friday and b) it’s an extra long weekend for me.  Hence the TGILW (thank goodness it’s a long weekend). Certainly it doesn’t have the same ring to it as TGIF but an extra long weekend is worth a clunky acronym isn’t it? Let’s check out what I got up to this week.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: sushi and chocolate and donuts, oh my!
Observations: I am not at all apologetic about the donut that I ate for breakfast nor the melt-in-your-mouth saba aburi oshi at Minami (seriously, if you live in Vancouver, go there immediately. Put aside the fact that you ‘don’t like mackarel’ and put this in your mouth.).  However, I am apologetic for the rapid consumption of chocolate because I ate it all before I realized I really didn’t even feel like chocolate. The freedom of Saturday’s eating sometimes just gets to me, you know?

Sunday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: beach walk + epic kitchen chores
Observations: I have no excuses for this rest day. It wasn’t even raining outside. In fact, it was a beautiful sunny day.  I just didn’t want to.  Instead, we opted to drive out to White Rock for a long walk along the beach because it was so nice out. Well, little did we know we would be driving straight into the epic wall of fog. We left brilliant sunshine in the city to walk in grey fog. Still, it was lovely and refreshing. I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen, deeply engrossed in a true labour of love (at least without a food processor): homemade bolognese. Seriously, there’s way too much fine chopping involved to do this without my food processor. I can’t wait to have my things out of storage.

Monday
Activity: running intervals + strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I had to use the treadmill for my running intervals but this was still a satisfying workout.  In fact, it was actually more satisfying in some ways because running on the treadmill always feels easier than running outdoors. I cranked that speed up (for me, at least) and felt like I was flying rather than plodding along gasping for air like I do at the track. Regardless, the workout was solid and I was a sweaty beast by the end.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I’m afraid to tell my trainer that the prowler chest presses are getting easy, at least at the weights we’ve been working with.  Let’s just keep that our little secret, shall we? This was also the first training session during which she introduced nothing new for me to hate with a vengeance. I wondered if she was feeling guilty about forgetting our session a couple weeks back. No matter the reason, I’ll take it!

Wednesday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: There is no delicate way to put this: this workout was painful from start to finish. I could tell from my first set of single leg deadlifts that I was not going to have a good workout. My legs were tired. My arms were even more tired. I decreased my weight on all sorts of exercises, dropped down to three sets of most, and generally am amazed that I survived for a full 40 minutes. That was pure dedication…and a whole lotta habit.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: After Wednesday’s debacle, I was determined to fit in a good workout despite it being yet another early(ish) morning workout (any more than one in a week is not my jam).  Although I was solidly on the early morning workout train before Christmas, I’ve definitely returned to the camp of mid-morning workout since the start of the new year. I’m not going to lie. This workout was a bit rough at the start. My muscles just kept asking me why I was doing this to them.

Friday
Activity: running intervals + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min.
Observations:  More treadmill running intervals! I was going to go to the park this morning instead, but then freaked out about being there in the dark with headphones in because, obviously, I would be murdered despite it being a relatively safe neighborhood. As I’ve mentioned before, watching crime shows has not been good for me.  At any rate, I had a great interval workout on the go before I realized I’d forgotten my breakfast at home and thus had to cut my workout short to pay an ungodly amount of money for a keto friendly option between my gym and my office.  My mother used to tell me I’d forget my own head if it weren’t screwed on. She is correct.

Alas, now the weekend is here and it’s a gloriously long one for me. If you’re wondering when I’ll stop bragging about that to all you two-day weekenders, the answer is never. Happy weekend to all and to all a good night.

For me at least. Sorry…not sorry.

Training Tuesdays: is 2018 the year fitness resolutions died?

I usually dread January at the gym.  Every year, there’s this mass influx of people from start of the month to around mid-February. I can only assume most are spurred on by new years’ resolutions to get fit and healthy. I’d never discourage anyone from setting health and fitness goals. I really do believe it’s fantastic. However, it certainly won’t stop me from complaining about how all the newly minted fitness fanatics overcrowd the gym, make it more difficult for me to get my hands on equipment, create line ups for showers, and generally make the January/February gym-going experience significantly less pleasant.

I had the worst expectations for that first week of January. I walked into the gym expecting to see every machine taken, every last bench snagged, every last piece of equipment claimed. I was dreading it and mentally preparing myself to be in a heightened state of annoyance throughout my workout. But then I arrived at the gym on January 2nd and, well, there were no hordes of new gym converts. In fact, dare I say it was quiet.

My next thought was that maybe everyone was still on holiday vacation. Surely the following week everyone would be back at work and, thus, visiting the gym in droves.  Once again, I went through the exercise of mentally preparing myself and once again my worries proved to be baseless.  Still, there were no masses of exercisers. There was no competing for equipment. There was no battling to find a square inch of gym surface in which to set up my own private workout station. There was just me and the regulars.

In the days since, it’s occurred to me that perhaps this year is the dawn of a new era, an era in which the fitness resolution has lost its steam. Perhaps more people are slowly, gradually finding avenues to work activity into their lives instead of showing up at the gym January 2nd, killing their bodies for four weeks, realizing it sucks to bombard their bodies with sudden and unexpected exercise, and then giving up because they can’t imagine being in that kind of physical pain all the time.  Perhaps more people are legitimately changing their lifestyles with activities that actually fit into their lives instead of trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all, “I-have-to-go-to-the-gym-five-days-a-week-to-be-fit” mentality.  Perhaps we are all finally learning that health comes from doing activities you actually enjoy with a cadence you’ll actually stick with. Wouldn’t that be something?

Or, you know, perhaps it’s just that I live in one of the fittest cities in North America and everyone’s already uber fit here. Regardless, I’m not going to complain about this pleasant turn of events because it means I no longer have to focus my death glare on that girl who’s hogging the kettle bell I want to use while she (obliviously) sits on the bench texting her friends…