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Friday, October 30, 2015

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy...

Yesterday was one of those days when I wanted a complete “do-over” at the end of the day. I had a zillion things on my To Do list, and I think I accomplished one. With major deadlines looming, being homesick because my grandma is in the hospital and not doing well, and other family-related issues running amuck in my mind – I was an emotional wreck at the end of the day.

I drove to the gym, changed into my workout clothes, and plunked my behind down on the rowing machine. I was not in the mood to listen to my usual playlist of heavy electric guitar rock anthems, so I put on something a little more mellow.

I think I was about 2.5 minutes in when I felt a tear well up in my eye and roll down my face. I could not believe it. There I was – in the gym – on the verge of an emotional outburst. I was determined to get through my workout in one piece, so I choked back those tears and rowed on.

Fast forward to 15 minutes later when the owner of the gym walked by and asked me what was wrong. He is a busy guy and doesn’t need to hear my whiney girly emotions, so I replied in a soft tone, “I’m just having a bad day.” He noted that I had put in 3,000 meters and suggested I round it up to 4,000 and call it a day.
For a millisecond, that sounded like a superb idea and coming from a man who is also a trainer I thought I could use that as an excuse to go home.
In that same millisecond, my inner motivational speaker said, “Keep going, girl. You got this. I’ve got your back.” My ears perked up and I told him I was going to suck it up and keep going.

And, that is exactly what I did.

I turned off that sad song playlist and cranked up some Metallica. I decided to use that time on the rowing machine to get my thoughts organized, so I could have a good plan of attack for the following day.
As the minutes passed, my thoughts were beginning to clear, and I started to feel better. As I was nearing my usual 12,000-meter completion, I was dripping with sweat, and my blistered hands were throbbing with pain. BUT - I noticed that I had a little more pep in my step and was feeling pretty good – so, I pushed myself to go another 1,000 meters.

When I finished, I felt amazingly happy. I couldn’t help but giggle because the only thing that was going through my head was a quote from the movie, Legally Blonde 2. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
I left the gym with a smile on my face and had no homicidal thoughts on my way home.

I could have easily gone home after only rowing 3,000 meters, but I would have spent the evening wallowing in my dramatic thoughts. That would have put me at risk for justifying having a lemon bar or making a ginormous bowl of hot buttered popcorn and plopping myself on the couch to catch up on all my recorded shows. However, I would have done myself absolutely no favors.

Instead, my inner motivational speaker propelled me to the finish line and beyond, and I was able to walk out of the gym a whole lot happier.

Yes, food is the most abused anxiety drug and I 100% agree that exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant. It only took me two years to remember that fact.

I’ve got this.


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