‘I Hate Cardio! Why I Do It, Anyway’

by Connie

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Due to a number of circumstances, I’ve been away from boxing for three weeks, or so.  Since I usually box 2 to 3 times a week, that means I’ve missed 6 to 9 one-hour lessons.

During each passing week, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having trouble focusing and a little trouble remembering things.  I’ve also noticed that it’s taking me nearly an hour to fall asleep vs. 8-10 minutes.  And I’ve been having trouble staying asleep, throughout the night. 

These were all physical cues for me to get my bum back into the boxing gym.  The loud groan you just heard was very real, and yes, it was coming from me. 

While I was really looking forward to getting back into my routine, I was dreading getting my body up to speed with the cardio, which precedes and ends every boxing lesson, along with stretching. 

I knew it was do-able; our bodies really do have muscle (and heart and lung) memory.  I just knew the ‘getting there’ part wasn’t going to be any fun. 

Define a ‘light, easy run…’

On my way into the gym, I met my instructor catching some rays, between his classes.  Teasingly, I asked him if he was going to go easy on us, since I had been gone for 3 weeks. 

He replied, ‘Yeah, it won’t be bad; our cardio for today is all running.’

I replied, ‘Great.  I’m not a fan of cardio, but my least favorite cardio is running.’  He replied, ‘Don’t worry; it’ll be a light, easy run.’

Now, here’s where he and I differ in defining, ‘a light, easy run’.  After stretching, he had us running an obstacle course around the gym, for 20 minutes, straight.  To his credit, he led us through the whole thing, never stopping once. 

After running, hopping and springing for 10 minutes, my legs felt like rubber, and my breath was more than labored.  A quick inventory of the class, told me that no one else seemed to be struggling.  I had no way of knowing how much longer he intended for us to keep going.

I was beat and could have easily quit, then and there.  But I knew that I had more in me.  I knew that the ‘Stop! Stop, now!’ I was hearing was coming from the wimpy, quitter-part, of my brain. 

The Mutiny of the Mind

The wimpy, quitter-part of my brain is not my friend.  It never has been.  I seriously doubt it is your true friend, either.  The wimpy, quitter-part of my brain is where ‘doubt and can’t and Stop!’ reside.  

For so many years, I passively gave the wimpy, quitter-part of my brain and ‘doubt, can’t and Stop!’ permission to imprison me.  Years ago, I led a personal revolt and turned the tables, on all of them. 

They still reside in a very, small portion of my brain, but now I am the one who has them caged and restrained.  I am the one with the upper hand, most of the time. (Hey, I’m not perfect, you know?)

If anyone ever wants to insure that I’ll do something, all they have to say is, ‘Connie can’t do that.’  Or, ‘She’ll never be able to pull that off.’  I have a l-o-n-g, proud heritage of proving them wrong.  This physical challenge was no different for me.

Let’s Make a Deal

I am a realist.  I knew the likelihood of me completing this run, in its entirety, was pretty unlikely.  But, I also knew I wasn’t ready to stop, unless it was on my terms.  

I looked at the clock and struck a quick deal with myself.  I would run for three more minutes.  I knew I could do that much more.  I knew I wasn’t going to die, by sticking it out for three additional minutes.

And, if he wasn’t ready to have us stop running, at least I knew I pushed myself further than my body and brain thought they could go. 

I pressed on for the extra three minutes.  And you know something?  It wasn’t that bad.  I knew I could do it.  I just knew it

I promised myself a short water break, as long as I ran for 13 minutes, straight.  Stopping to catch my breath, I drank my water. 

I caught-up with the class, for the final few minutes of the run.  My legs and lungs were really worn out, but I did it. 

 The Pay Off in Pride

I walked out of that gym, very proud of myself.  ‘Why?’ You ask, well… 

  • I’m proud that I pushed myself, three minutes beyond what my body and mind thought they were capable of. 
  • I’m proud that I listened to my body and gave it the break it needed, which were a short rest, along with some water.  
  • I’m proud that I didn’t succumb to peer-pressure.  I was, after all, the only one who stopped. 
  • I’m proud that I didn’t give into the wimpy, quitter-part of my brain where ‘doubt and can’t and Stop!’ reside.  
  • I’m proud of my tight, taut muscles and how strong my body has become over the years. 
  • I’m proud that I faced my fears of returning to the gym, because I knew that’s what my body and my brain needed. Since getting back into my routine, I’ve been sleeping like a little lamb and my memory and thought processes are back to usual. 

The theme from, NBC’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ asks: 

‘What have YOU done, today, to make YOU feel PROUD?’ 

So, what about you?         

  •  What have you done, today, to make you feel proud? 
  • What fear did you face, today?   
  • What did the wimpy, quitter-part of your brain try to talk you into doing, but you resisted? 

 I’d be honored for you to share your comments, with me, using the form, below.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Krystyna Domagala November 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I’m so proud for you that you made that extra effort! Its amazing how your mind can help push you.


Connie December 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm


Our mind can help encourage and push us, or it can hold us back and keep us hostage.

The choice is always ours!



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