About six weeks ago I purchased a 12-week online strength training program.
I bought it for a couple of different reasons.
The first is that I continue to struggle with strength training consistently.
At fifty years old, I am fifteen years into the stage of life where I am losing muscle unless I do something to maintain it.
At eighty years old I plan to still be kicking some serious ass, and I won’t be able to do that without maintaining muscle.
Aside from the self-care and training aspects, I also just really like what a body with some muscle on it looks like.
In all honesty, I do have a decent amount of muscle. It’s just protected by a decent amount of fat.
So I bought this program a bout a month and a half ago, and it’s an intense program.
It’s six days of lifting a week. And it’s designed to be done at the gym.
That obviously means I need to get to the gym six days a week, and that is not easy.
Especially since over the summer I was going to the gym approximately zero days a week.
I was working out and I was running consistently, but being able to walk out your door and go for a run is much different than going to the gym. There is the extra time to get there and get home and then if you see people you know you spend time talking to them and a one-hour work out takes closer to two hours of your time.
So getting the the gym 6 days a week has been challenging for me.
And you know what I’ve done?
I’ve started this program over four times.
Because none of the weeks have been done perfectly.
For many different reasons over the last six weeks I have not been able to make it to the gym (or I have chosen to do other things rather than go to go to the gym) and every time I had an imperfect week, I started over.
I may have been a little unrealistic with this program. Maybe six days a week is just not going to be possible all the time.
I had this a-ha moment today.
Why it took me so long, I’m not sure.
Last week I made it to the gym Monday through Thursday.
That’s four days.
Then Friday and Saturday shit happened and I just prioritized other stuff.
I still worked out on those other days, but I didn’t get to the gym and I didn’t lift.
And today I was about to start over for the fifth time.
Then I pulled my head out of my ass.
Last week I made it to the gym four times.
It’s not perfect, but I have not lifted four days in one week in years!
So today I gave myself permission to do this program imperfectly.
Because if I keep starting over and demanding perfection, there is no fucking way I am ever gonna get through this damn program.
I mean, after 12 weeks when I’m more in the groove of going to the gym and the weather sucks because it’s the middle of winter, getting to the gym six days a week might be easier, and I can go for round 2. And I can aim to do more days than I did the first time around.
So today I went to the gym, and I did Day 9.
When I go, I take my yellow folder with me with the workouts printed out inside it. I write down what I do because I always think I’ll remember, but I never do.
There is nobody else in the gym with a folder writing down what they are doing. Some people look at me funny.
And you know what?
I don’t give a shit.
I am fifty damn years old, and I am doing what is working for me in the gym.
Ten years ago, I never would have done that. I would have worried about what people thought of me.
And you know what?
That is growth!
Sometimes we only want to measure growth by how much faster we are getting or how much more weight we can lift or how much weight we have lost.
We fail to see the ways we have grown along the way.
So here I am sweaty and gross as I leave the gym with my yellow folder not giving a shit what anyone thinks about me and taking care of myself so I can do cool shit when I’m older and also cause when I exercise I don’t feel the urge to maim any of my family members. As much.
Oh, and you know what else I realized today when I looked back in my yellow folder and saw what I wrote down last week on Day 2?
I am already stronger than I was last week.
I’ll still aim for six days a week for the next ten weeks.
But I’ll allow myself to continue moving forward, even when things don’t go perfectly.
And that is success.
Success looks much different than perfection.
Perfection looks like starting over four times.
Success looks like forward progress with a few dips, valleys, plateaus, and lessons along the way.
Screw perfection. Perfection kills progress.
I’m gonna stay focused on success.
And I’m gonna keep taking my yellow folder imperfectly to the gym.