Fitness Friday; The Power of Endorphins

For once, the week just flew right on by!  It was quite a busy week so I’ll take it!  This weekend will be pretty low key, but it will be a good opportunity to catch up on those biochem lectures that I’ve been neglecting.  I was hoping they would just disappear, but you know, that never seems to happen.

Anyway, it’s Friday, a.k.a the most wonderful day of the week, a.k.a FITNESS FRIDAY!

This week’s workouts looked a little something like this:

Monday: 40 minute spinning class and a 25 minute tricep workout, followed by abs.

Tuesday: 45 minutes of incline walking and jogging on the treadmill.  It was something like 15 minutes walking, 10 running, 10 walking, 10 running and then abs.  Image

I was on the treadmill longer than that, but I got off four, yes four, times to go to the bathroom and the timer kept starting over.  A short workout, but definitely a great one- more on that at the bottom of this post!

Wednesday: 40 minutes of spinning with Christine.  I was so excited when she said she wanted to go with me!  I love spreading my love for spinning :).  The only downside to the class is it fills up FAST, so we need to arrive 20 minutes before it starts.  It’s every [wo]man for [her]self!

Thursday: Off.  I had important things on the agenda that didn’t leave me any time to hit the gym.  I needed an off day though.  I’ve been feeling a tiny bit under the weather, so a break is a good thing.

Friday: Of course, being a little under the weather didn’t stop me from heading to the gym this morning.  I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, 12 minutes of incline walking and a shoulder workout with 25 seconds of cardio in between each set.  There is something about the gym on Friday’s that draws me in- it’s so quiet and peaceful and a nice way to start a relaxing weekend.

Okay, maybe I would have slept in for an extra hour this morning, but there was something at the gym that I needed in order to write today’s Fitness Friday.


On Tuesday, I was tired,cranky, and stressed out with school work, specifically biochemistry and the 3/10 I had just received on my quiz (ouch).  I don’t go to the gym until 11 on Tuesday and Thursdays, so skipping my workout and taking a two hour nap sounded so appealing.  I knew I would kick myself later if I skipped it, so I decided to go and just do really easy cardio, as in, watch E! while barely moving on the elliptical.  I also grabbed a couple of magazines to keep me entertained and one of the magazines that I picked up was Runner’s World Magazine.  I used to have a subscription, but haven’t read any of their issues in at least a year.

Much to my dismay, the E! channel wasn’t working on the elliptical I chose so I looked around and my only option was a treadmill.  First thought was “Ugh, now I need to actually work hard”.  I wasn’t in the mood at all!  I pushed my feelings aside, turned on the treadmill for an incline workout and realized that the channel wasn’t working on that machine either.  No bueno.  Instead of getting off, I stayed on the machine and opened Runner’s Magazine and started reading.  The first thing I read was the Editor’s Letter by David Willey, the Editor-In-Chief at Runner’s World Magazine.

His letter talks about how he needed to write that issue’s Editor’s Letter and he was hitting writer’s block- uninspired and dreading it.  Hmm, that sounds a bit like how I felt, right?  The article goes on to talk about how he watched co-workers run in the parking lot during their breaks and even though he had this deadline looming over his head, he decided to put it aside and join them.  He scrambled to find mismatched running gear in his office and headed out to a deserted gravel trail behind the building where he just started running.  Slowly at first, and then little by little, he picked up the pace and tried to beat each previous lap.  He says, “Sweating, thinking only about my breathing and where to land my feet, I ran faster…I headed inside, with new blood pumping through my veins, just after 21 minutes”.  I identified with his story, but the last paragraph is what really got to me and made me realize what I was doing at that exact moment.

The paragraph says, “Running can be anything you need it to be, big or small.  It can help you beat addiction or disease.  It can burn off five or 10 or 50 pounds and change your life.  Or in the time it takes to watch a few YouTube clips, it can clear the cobwebs in your head, give you a shot of endorphins, and salvage a forgettable day.  As for my Editor’s Letter, you might say it wrote itself”. (March 2013 Editor’s Letter)

I couldn’t have said it any better.

I think I read the letter and then had an out-of-body experience, or an “aha!” moment, or something.  I gradually picked up the pace on the treadmill, added a little more incline and pushed myself.  I was sweaty and I was uncomfortable at times, but I pushed a little harder and a little bit faster.  No, I didn’t run the fastest or longest that I have ever run, and actually walked a lot of it, but I DID finish up 45 minutes of running and incline walking, soaked in sweat with a big smile on my face and a sense of accomplishment.  I went into that workout saying I would do the bare minimum, and left the gym feeling a thousand times better and in control of everything again.

As for my homework and studying for anatomy and genetics and biochemistry, well you might just say it studied itself.

Just kidding.  I wish.  While my work obviously didn’t do itself, running, sweating and completing something that I didn’t want to do literally filled me with endorphins.  There have been so many times that I have felt down in the dumps and have decided to go for a short jog or a walk and have returned with a new perspective.  Sometimes exercise feels like the last thing you want to do, but more often than not, it makes all of those tough things that stand in your way and bring you down, seem not so tough anymore.

Random side story-The first time I ever ran a mile without someone telling me to do it, I felt a little bit sick when I got home and pretty dehydrated, and the only thing I thought of it was, “so this must be what a runner’s high is!  I don’t know if I like this…”.  No, 7th grade Tamara, that was just dehydration 🙂

“Runner’s high” is no joke.  I felt incredible and you can catch the high, too.

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