Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Post-workout euphoria???

English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum ellipt...
English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum elliptical trainer. A mid drive crosstrainer has the driving cranks centered under the user. A front drive elliptical hsa the driving cranks located at the front of the unit and the rear drive has the cranks at the rear of the unit. Houston Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everyone (this is admittedly hyperbole) talks about how great they feel after a workout.

So here's my question: am I a freak?  Or are a notable percentage of those people lying?

It could be a small percentage.  It could be exaggeration.  But I have a hard time believing I'm the only person who feels like crap post-exercise.

I feel tired.  I feel disgusting. I feel sore, though usually not right away. I feel disappointed in myself. I feel like everyone's judging me for not being as good as them.  I feel resentful, because I don't like feeling obligated to put in the kinds of hours the hardbodies do.

I don't think I've ever once gotten the post-exercise endorphin rush.

They say do exercise that is fun, but we've already discussed how dancing is impractical, and trust me, kayaking is worse.  And I honestly can't think of any other exercise I really enjoy. I'm open to suggestions, but I've thought about it enough that, fair warning, most of them I've already considered and am prepared to shoot down.

But I don't think that's the point.  The point is, why don't I get any of the satisfaction that seemingly everyone else, ever, gets?
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  1. What kinds of exercise are you doing, and what have you tried (and rejected). I'd really only get the endorphin high after a loooong run outside--45 mins to an hour--not from other cardio (treadmill, elliptical, bide) or weights. Yoga does leave me feeling good, most of the time, but it's a different kind of good, and I think it has a lot to do with the relaxation at the end. Honestly, if you feel tired and kind of disgusting and sweaty at the end of a workout, I think that means you're doing it right. And if you're muscles are sore a day or two later, you KNOW you're doing it right. Everybody's body chemistry is a bit different, but there might be some exaggeration from the masses who always feel great after a workout. :)

    Let's see...other exercises. I really loved fencing, although it was more of a mental sense of accomplishment than an endorphin rush. I can recommend a good group if you want to try that. My sister takes a Bollywood exercise dance class that is completely different than the club experience (which, let's be honest, isn't about exercise anyway). Her class a small group of women in a private space learning dance moves and exercising together, and it seems like a positive and supportive environment for working out. I've been less impressed with the ones I've seen at gyms. A good yoga class with a great instructor can be excellent, too, as it is more about being in tune with your body and what it can accomplish on a particular day, and there are lots of opportunities for small accomplishments to keep your momentum going (my heels touched the floor in down dog! I didn't fall over in half moon! I got one foot off the floor on crow!). If you find a good class, it should be more supportive than competitive.

    Comparing yourself to the other people at the gym is probably the quickest way to start feeling bad about going there. There are always going to be people who are better, run longer, lift more, spend more time, etc., etc., etc., and we're not all starting from the same place to begin with. Honestly, a majority of people there are probably thinking the same things you are--I just want to do my thing and get home, I hope no one is judging me for only being able to do this much, I wish I could do more, I suck. Many are probably not paying attention to you at all, and most are content to let you do your thing without judgement, as long as you're following the etiquette rules and not being obtrusive (oh, the screaming weightlifters--they are the only ones I judge at the gym). Next time you go to the gym, try looking for people who are doing worse than you are--lifting less, running slower, etc. In the focus on the people doing "better," we often forget that there are some doing "worse." And even if every single person in the entire gym is running faster than you are, who cares?! Everyone has to start somewhere, and you won't always be the slowest. It's a personal process, not a competition.

    Why do you feel disappointed in yourself? Do you feel like you're not making progress, getting stronger, working harder? Have you tried keeping a log of your exercise so you can track your progress? Any time you can heft another five pounds, run for another minute, increase the intensity level on the machine, that's an accomplishment that you should be proud of. That means that you are moving in a positive direction with your fitness, and that's where the satisfaction comes from. Ultimately, you should be working out for you, not for the muscle-head working on his abs or the woman in the tight pink pants on the machine next to you. You're the only person that you have to please or impress with what you're doing. Maybe you just need to cut yourself some slack.

  2. Dawn -- this is an awesome comment, thank you! I feel like answering your questions in depth will take a whole 'nother blog post, so I think I'll do just that! Thanks again.