Nothing sounded appealing yesterday, so I did a half hour of strength training in silence (as silent as my house gets with three dogs). I realize I need to do this more often because I get a better workout when I concentrate on the moves rather than sing “Mas Tequila” at the top of my lungs.
Instead of music or news or a podcast, I listened to the Pink Panther neon wall clock ticking loudly on every second. I followed its cadence while lifting rather than the cadence in my head because, as I learned, 10 Lynn seconds is about 6 or 7 real seconds. Amazing the difference 3 or 4 seconds can make. Just ask my obliques. Fifteen to 20 reps, 3 sets…that’s 2-3 additional minutes per exercise. Yikes.
After the ST at home, I went to the gym and did cardio for 50 minutes. With all the thinking and music listening I do to distract me, the exercise itself becomes tertiary. I just muscle through doing the same old same old and wishing it was over. Halfway through my workout yesterday, the song “The More You Ignore Me…” by Morrissey came on. I forgot I’d added that to my playlist.
“The more you ignore me The closer I get You're wasting your time The more you ignore me The closer I get You're wasting your time”
It was like Morrissey was channeling my body. “Stop ignoring me!” it was saying. “Pay attention!”
I focused on my thighs and calves and heart rate and realized, yes, I really was being an ignorant nit. I could do better, work harder, stop wasting my time. So I cranked up the arc trainer to 50 and a 7 incline, found “Mas Tequila” on the playlist, and stepped in time to the beat (no, I didn’t sing). I paid attention to everything me. I felt every drip of sweat fall over my nose and watched them drip to the floor. I felt my feet and legs and arms and abs. For 3 minutes it was just me, my myself and I. Well, and Sammy, too, but I didn’t engage in my usual fantasy of drinking tequila in Baja and licking the salt off of…oh never mind.
Today, I rode my spiffy new recumbent bike in silence. I thought I’d go stark raving mad, but it wasn’t too bad. I learned where I need to focus, so hopefully that will become second nature with some practice.
I am easily distracted, though. My mind wanders all over the place, whether I’m exercising or writing or whatever. For instance, the first thing I wanted to do this morning was pay bills and balance the checkbook. I got up from my desk in my office to retrieve my checkbook in my purse hanging on a chair in the dining room. On my way, I remembered I wanted to plan meals for the week. I wandered into the kitchen, dug out cookbooks, figured out the plan, and then walked back to my office. I sat down and thought, Wait. I need my checkbook. Back to the dining room. On the way, I remembered I wanted to add soap and paprika to the grocery list. But before I could do that, I had to turn off the electric candles in the windows, open the shades, make some tea and pick out workout clothes. I got back to my desk and still didn’t have my checkbook.
This is a recurring issue for me. Even after yesterday’s intentional mindfulness during exercise and I was feeling so good about how well I’d done, today comes and I have to start all over again.
And that’s OK. I didn’t lose weight overnight. I can’t train my mind to pay attention overnight, either, right?
Now I’m really going to go pay bills and balance my checkbook. Really. I am.