I’m done with the gym. I’m canceling my membership.
A few months ago, Chris Johnson wrote an insightful post about being intense. In it he said this, “We know the real magic happens not with “presence” but with intensity. Focus. White hot burn. Go to the gym. Spend an hour or more on some elliptical machine. Not hard, probably does a little good. Perfectly safe.”
And that’s the problem. I went religiously to the gym over the past year, and dropped a lot of weight as a result. It was positive. It was good. It was safe. But it was not great. Over time, it became too easy to simply show up. It became habit to take the easy way out, even in the process of doing something good.
It is extremely difficult to intensely do something easy.
Sometimes you need to choose harder things – things that force you to be intense, whether you feel like it or not. This morning, I got up at 4:45am, did 30 minutes of yoga and head out for a six mile hike through 1000 feet of elevation gain. It was a more intense workout than I have ever gotten at a gym. And it comes with a bonus.
The bonus is that I love hiking in the early morning. I love the reward of watching the sunrise over the mountains. I love placing myself in the moment, focusing on my breathing, clearing my head for the day. But it’s harder to get up early to make that happen. It’s harder to push up the steep sections of hill that are the only path to the vistas I enjoy so much. The result is worth it. The reward is greater than simply putting in 40 minutes on an elliptical machine.
So, I’m choosing the harder thing. The uneven path, the change in elevation and force of gravity will supply the intensity. I just need to bring the consistency.
What’s the harder thing you could be doing to get your greater reward.