Leaving it on all on the mat

The awakening was both rude and sharp. A swift bitch slap, if you will. While seated on the floor with one leg bent and trying - with varying degrees of success - to lift the other, while touching my toes, at the end of my Core Fit class, I realized, This is it. It never gets easier, no matter how many of these damn classes I take. I struggled and grunted - loudly, I might add - and thought angrily to myself, What in the hell time is it anyway? When does this end? Is he even watching the time? Then managed to complete the set and rolled over onto my sticky, sweat-drenched mat.

As hard as this class is - and believe me, it is - I continue to show up at 8:00 o’clock on Saturday mornings. Despite it feeling like I am dying a slow, painful, crunched, pulsed, lifted death, I am actually coming alive. Today, yes, only TODAY, did it occur to me that no matter how many classes I take (pilates, barre, core fit, strength training, in a typical week), they have not gotten easier and seem to get harder. (WTF?) These instructors are sneaky AF and know what they are doing in constantly changing up the routines to keep it “juicy”, as one of my pilates instructors would say. As such, they keep relighting that fire, burning everything “extra” off of my body. But HOLY TAMOLE does it hurt. Like, a LOT. Like, WHY DID I SHOW UP FOR THIS EFFING TORTURE?! But when it’s over and I feel lighter, having given it all I had, I’m like, Okay, abs, booty, legs, I see you. Heeeey! Then I eat like the ship is going down and sleep like a baby.

These sessions reincarnate me every time and keep the house in order. At 47 1/2 (!!!), this is vital. Anyone reading this born after 1980 will not understand this (yet), but I have come to learn that the ONLY thing that abates any kind of physical (and mental) pain is exercise. (Despite the obvious irony that working out so much leaves me in a state of constant soreness. But nothing a hot bath, a massage and a recovery day or two can’t fix.) At this age, things don’t bounce back the way they used to after even the slightest injury. Case in point: nearly two summers ago I hurt my shoulder in a boot camp class using a big stupid medicine ball (tossing it overhead, or whatever), and only just now - like, within the last few months - has started to feel back to “normal”. This is the new Tall T state of bodily affairs, folks! You younger folks out there, enjoy the resiliency you likely take for granted, because life will sneak up on you like THAT and suddenly you’ll be in your mid-40s and will be scrambling to find this post and you’ll be like, I get it now! It’s happening to me too. That Tall T sure was right. :))

Enduring punitive workouts is a metaphor for life, really. Nothing worth having is ever easy. I know I am blessed genetically, but I don’t take it for granted. I work hard at maintaining “this” and try to eat as clean as possible. I’m no saint and certainly have my weakness - heeeey, but for the most part, I do my best to keep it all above board.

The mental clarity that working out brings translates into my work as well. I work in an extremely fast-paced environment where I deal with multiple stakeholders and am constantly juggling many balls. This work also takes laser focus to just power through, no matter how taxing. It can be all-consuming and at the end of most days I feel like I do today after Core Fit: that I left it all on the mat.

The sum of it all is that everything in life can be a royal pain in the you-know-what and make you question why you got out of bed for it, but it is all worth it. Bringing it everyday, no matter what, are the ways in which we show up for our lives and for ourselves. Be it traveling solo someplace where you don’t speak the language, suffering through a crazy workout, or finding a way to meet the demands of your job without losing your mind, it’s important to show up and to slay. You’ve got this, I’ve got this, we’ve all got this!

A bit of blind faith, self-love and confidence will power your belief that you WILL get through to the other side, where the juicy rewards await.