Working out

Pixie works out at the same gym I do. I go in three days a week. I think she goes in every day.

Each muscle of her body is defined, and I’d guess she has low-single-digit body fat. She works hard, she sweats, if she is there when I arrive, she is often there when I leave. She doesn’t compromise.

“Is it a sacrifice?” I asked her once when we were both between sets. I meant the time, the pain, the effort, all of it.

“It’s what I do, it’s who I am,” she replied.

I often wonder what separates those who seem to easily overcome pain, or resistance, or avoidance, to do things that others find difficult. Do they have extra dopamine? Were they given an extra dose of discipline?

Or is it more dark? Are they driven by invisible needs, perhaps looking for an extra dose of dopamine that biology held back, or accolades missed in childhood that now come from having a cut and perfect body?

People come up to Pixie all the time and ask her, “What’s your secret?” after seeing the results, unaware of the effort. She is almost always gracious, though she told me once that she no longer tries to educate, because it’s time wasted.

“Most people won’t put in the work,” she said. “There are no secrets. You decide, this is who I am, this is who I will be.”

How to stick with that? How to get started? My grandmother once told me that when a task seems too large, break it down. “Decide to clean just one tile in the kitchen. You know you can clean one tile. Then, if you want, clean the next. Soon, the floor is clean.”

Don’t think of the run; put on your shoes and go outside. Don’t dread all the sets and all the reps; go to the gym and stand in the weight room. Don’t starve yourself until your brain makes up lies while you eat ice cream; eat something nutritious before you binge. Don’t fret over the novel; sit down at the keyboard and write.

Can’t wait to see him? Need to establish boundaries? Want to break it off? Want to go dancing or want to stay home?

It’s up to you. But before anything else, face honestly the decision that “…this is who I am, this is who I will be.”

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