Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moments of insight

The other day I was in the gym, first training a client and then sticking around to do an hour of cardio myself. I've bumped up my cardio quite a bit since becoming a food writer. The constant eating out to get content for reviews takes its toll. The weight sneaks up on you when you're not looking until one day you catch a glimps in the mirror and realize it's time to get crackin' before this junk in the trunk gets out of control.

I've doubled my cardio time and in the next week I'll do cardio doubles on top of that (2 hours of cardio a day) on top of weight training at least 3 days a week, one of them being plyometrics. It's a hell of a lot of working out, but I eat a hell of a lot, too. That's the Law Of Thermodynamics for you.

While I'm on cardio, I do high intensity intervals, focusing on at least 70% of my maximum heart rate. I push the limits as best I can. Most people hate doing cardio, just going through the motions and moaning and groaning about it, but I love it. I love it because it makes me sweat, I love it because it give me a high from the adrenaline rush, I love it because it makes me feel pain.

And then it hit me.

During these moments of intensity, there is clarity. An epiphany, personal insight, a time where I could pay myself $100 for being my own psychiatrist.

I was thinking about the cycle of eating and working out and how in order to be a "perfect size" that I'd absolutely have to give up food writing. It came to me that that's not really what I want. I don't want to have the flat abs I used to have before I got pregnant with Logan when I was at the peak of my training career. I don't want to go back to that athletic build.

Why? Because it's pointless.

When I reached my fitness goal pre-kids, obtaining the perfect body fat percentage, it was the most anti-climatic moment in my life. Months of hard work, hours of training in the gym, anal analysis of my food and enough supplements to kill a horse. I did it. I achieved perfect body status (for me, anyway) and it gave me such an empty feeling. I was left thinking, now what do I do?

Most people workout to eat. I eat to workout.

I love the gym and it will always be a part of my life. Often times you need to keep a goal in mind so that you continue to have motivation for workouts in the gym. I'm not a runner and have no desire to do a marathon, a triathlon, or any kind of race for that matter. But, managing the balance of food writing is a goal, really, and I can push myself to the max.

Then there is the eating itself. I spent almost 2 years of my life not being able to eat. Constant nausea, planing my menus to what would feel better coming back up. Pregnancy almost killed me. And I never want to limit the joys in my life just to fit in a pair of jeans.

That's not to say I'm going to let myself go. But I'm not counting macronutrient combinations anymore.

So, while I was sweating and breathing deep with chills coursing through my blood during a burst of adrenaline, I realized that I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to eat and write and workout and always have some reason to push myself in the gym. I've grown to love the curves I never had before and don't want to lose them. Complex and weird, I'm sure, but it was a defining moment for me.


Beth said...

I wish I lived anywhere near you so I could hire you as a trainer. I need some of your dedication and motivation. As I sit here this morning trying to pretend my lowfat yogurt is a cheese danish and trying depserately to avoid the chocolate that one of my diet killer coworkers brought in, I can see the halfheated goal I set for myself rapidly slipping away! :) Reading your post has actually kept me in my seat and away from the snack table though. So so far so good today. Maybe I'll come back to re-read it when the afternoon blahs hit! :)

Gary said...

Kristin, I loved this post because it resonates with similar goings-on in my own life. I used to run competitively until one day I had the same realization you once had: what's next?

So, I gave it up and went back to simply enjoying running again, which for me is one five-mile run per week. I discovered that I like casual cycling and rock climbing, too. So I made those things part of my routine. I feel like I've now found the right balance to just have fun.

I think that's what your post is about - defining and redefining your priorities, searching for balance, finding out what invigorates and inspires you, having fun, and just living your life. Thanks for writing this and reminding me of what matters.

www.theevolvinghomemaker.com said...

Wow. That hits home for me, but not in an exercise sense...more of a life journey sense...nice realization!

I have never been the perfect body fat% lol. Now I can officially let that goal go. Right...I love ice cream and coffee drinks way to much for that!