What Exercise Taught Me About Myself

On January 2, 2010 my life changed. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s true. That is the day I began the Core Fusion Challenge. That is  the day I became a person who actually enjoys exercising. That is the day

Over these last two years, I’ve learned a few things about myself that I’m not sure I would have known otherwise.

I am stubborn
I think I sorta knew this before, but the extent did not show until I got into exercise. When I started doing half marathons, I slacked on my training because I didn’t want to give up any classes. I loved the workouts and I loved the results and I loved being so comfortable there and knowing exactly what I was doing. And then when I injured my hip last year (read about it here and here), I kept taking Core Fusion even though a few exercises in that class made my hip hurt more. I had worked so hard to get where I was that I just couldn’t imagine stopping and losing all that. It was incredibly stupid.

I am lazy
OK I already knew this. But what I didn’t know is that I could simultaneously be both an exercise addict — and by this I mean I spend an inordinate amount of time on the Refine, Core Fusion and now FlyWheel schedulers planning and figuring out which classes I can take and at what time, I take class almost every day, I push myself hard in these classes, I train for a marathon — yet I am also so lazy that when I am in bed and want to read, I don’t. Because my Kindle is in my bag. On the floor.

That is the same reason I never wear my glasses.

I am an underachiever
Contradictory to what I said above, but it’s true. I mean, look at my marathon. I had it in me to run a 4:33 marathon but I didn’t ever train very fast. I didn’t think I could. I thought I was a relatively slow runner, and I nurtured that. I do the same thing in my classes too. I think something will be too hard for me so I half-ass it or take some easy way out. Then after, I realize I could have done it or I should have tried.

Dori finishing Richmond Marathon
[Finish line at Richmond Marathon]

I like pushing myself
Despite being an underachiever, it turns out I do also like pushing myself. Contradictory but true. I never thought I was someone who wanted to test her limits. Until I started Core Fusion (and eventually Refine) I truly believed I was happiest in comfort. The comfort of the couch, the comfort of the bed, the comfort of coming home after work and doing nothing. Turns out I was wrong. There is absolutely nothing like the adrenaline rush of pushing myself in a class, and the rewarding feeling that comes when I see progress and improvement. The day I could hold a plank for the entire time in Core Fusion was nothing short of amazing. Same goes for the day I officially switched from modified knee pushups to real, straight-leg pushups.  Or the day I stopped using two-pound weights for good in Core Fusion. (And now I no longer pick up threes). And I wasn’t even happy to call it a day there –these achievements made me want to push harder. The more I improved, the more I wanted to improve even more.

Dori in Core Fusion
[At Core Fusion]

I am tough on myself
Ridiculously so. Let’s say I am in a class doing a set of exercises. If when we finish I realize I could have pushed myself harder, I  get mad at myself. I mentally beat myself up. I go home and continue to lament on dailymile. Then I forget about it and the next day the cycle resumes.

Dori at Refine Method
[PhotoAt Refine Method]

I like routine
I actually never realized this until working out became part of it. Part of the reason I thrived so much (seriously, I became like a different person) once these classes became part of my life is because of the routine and structure they gave me. Exercise was a constant, something I automatically included in my day. I loved it.

Have you learned anything about yourself through exercise?


21 comments on What Exercise Taught Me About Myself

  1. Amber
    December 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm (6 years ago)

    I can relate to a lot of this: lazy, stubborn, check! And I totally credit Core Fusion with changing my life. Until I tried Core Fusion I never really pushed myself, or cared enough to challenge myself to see what I am really capable of. When I ran previously, I was slow and content with that. It never occured to me to set time goals, or try to beat myself. I’m still on the slow side, but I’ve definitely started to push myself harder and try to obtain goals that previously seemed impossible to me. I ran a sub 30 minute 5k in October – if you would have told old-Amber she would run a sub 10-minute mile for 3 miles she would have thought you were crazy! My next goal is a sub 2:30 half marathon. I know that’s not super speedy but it’s definitely new ground for me. And I’m so excited about it!

  2. Jess
    December 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm (6 years ago)

    I can totally identify with this post in that I used to “go halfway and then stop” when it came to my workouts. Not out of laziness…but out of fear. I didn’t trust my body to push harder, run faster, work harder. And it held me back. while I still have those moments where I lack trust, I’ll turn it around and do something that proves to me that this body is more than capable. I just have to let my mind go and trust more. excellent post!
    Jess´s last blog post ..Unplugged: the things (we) learned

  3. jobo
    December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm (6 years ago)

    I nurture myself as a slow runner too…but you are right in that it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, or you just underachieve all the time. Great post!
    jobo´s last blog post ..My 6-month Run-Challenge: Progress – week 1

  4. Kara
    December 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm (6 years ago)

    I started running in high school. I loved the practices and competitiveness, but after high school was over I continued running because I always felt like I wanted to lose weight. But, after a certain birthday I started feeling “old” (I’m 26, haha) and realized that I want to be healthy and fit for life. That was around the time I started training for my second marathon. I started really thinking about my love for running and focused more on bettering myself and my entire lifestyle. I also love the routine and how it is a constant in my life as well.

    This has led to a love for hot yoga and all sorts of other fitness classes. I actually signed up for a Core Fusion deal on RueLala and am so excited to try some classes out!
    Kara´s last blog post ..Christmas Trees and High Fives

  5. Robyn
    December 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm (6 years ago)

    From training for my first half-marathon I learned that I can actually do it if I set my mind to it. I was never a runner and am still amazed I’ve completed two. I’m about to try Pure Barre tomorrow (eek!) and hoping to push through!
    Robyn´s last blog post ..A week in gluten-free living

  6. betsy
    December 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm (6 years ago)

    I can relate to this as well! I am lazy if I get out of a routine, it’s so incredible difficult for me to get back into one. I love getting up for AM power yoga but when I miss a few classes, it’s so hard to get back into it.

    I’ve also learned that I don’t push myself when running. I am going to spend all of 2012 pushing myself to get faster and run a sub 2-hour half marathon.
    betsy´s last blog post ..Petal & Pink Giveaway

  7. Laura @ Joyful Shimmy
    December 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm (6 years ago)

    I love this post! Personally I too have found so much of my own personal growth through my journey exercising which started November 15, 2009 (crazy how I remember the date- I was feeling shitty and I followed through a suggestion of a dear friend who said how about moving your body). I am so grateful for that suggestion and my willingness to follow through. In the process I discovered, I like structure, I am stronger than I give myself credit for, sweating it out can also mean feeling good from the inside out.

    Thank you for your post and this reminder. I am so glad that you had the willingness to take on the Core Fusion Challenge. :-)
    Laura @ Joyful Shimmy´s last blog post ..Keep Calm/Jingle On: Massages {Guest Blog}

  8. Missy Maintains
    December 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I can relate to this a lot. I am very stubborn in that if there is no intenSati class one day, I most likely won’t work out at all! I am also competitive and have to stand in the front and show off! It’s been hard to tone it down this week and be in the back!
    Missy Maintains´s last blog post ..Endless Sushi!

  9. Bianca Valentim
    December 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm (6 years ago)

    Amazing post as always Dori!!
    I learned so much about myself after I started exercising and training for triathlons and half marathons. It changed my life too and I can relate to your post! 100%! It’s even funny! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.
    I stopped doing any type of exercise after July for personal and work reasons. Now I’m trying to get back into shape and it’s hard. It’s tough! But you know what? Reading your blog really inspires me and it’s helping me go back into the working out routine. So thank you! :)
    Bianca Valentim´s last blog post ..Andrea + Arnold | engagement session | NYC

  10. Ali
    December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm (6 years ago)

    I like this post a lot. I can relate to plenty of it, as I’m sure you know by now.

    Though it’s interesting that you say you’re lazy and you’re an underachiever, and then say you’re too tough on yourself. Clearly true! I don’t agree that you’re lazy. I get what you’re saying, that being in bed is so much nicer than NOT being in bed. But you DO get up and work out, just about every single day. So yes, maybe you enjoy being lazy, but I don’t think by any means that you’re actually lazy. You do so much! Give yourself some credit here.

    You had an awesome year of exercising in 2011 and I’m so proud of you. You came back from a crazy injury and some seriously weird and undiagnosable (that’s a word, right?) stomach issues, and you ran a damn marathon. Can’t wait to see what you tackle in 2012!
    Ali´s last blog post ..Onto The Next!

  11. blackhuff
    December 14, 2011 at 6:05 am (6 years ago)

    I love all the things you have mentioned here because some of them is also what exercise taught me. Wonderful, isn’t it?
    blackhuff´s last blog post ..Ask Santa

  12. Allison
    December 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm (6 years ago)

    Back when I used to be in shape I was so impressed with my ability to hold planks for long periods of time, I can totally appreciate this post!
    -Allison @ thecrazyfat.blogspot.com
    Allison´s last blog post ..Breakfast…le sigh.

  13. Irina G (Fit Flexitarian)
    December 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I totally related to almost all of this. Lazy? Stubborn? Tough on myself? Definitely! But I really liked what you said about keeping a routine. I really like routines, too. It’s sometimes hard to admit that to people because a lot of people think routine=boring, but I really think those are two different things. The routine actually helps me focus my day and I love that.
    Irina G (Fit Flexitarian)´s last blog post ..Recipe: Easy Christmas Cake Pops

  14. Ally
    December 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm (6 years ago)

    I can definitely relate to the stubborn part…I’ve also learned that I’m incredibly competitive. Not with others (team sport was never my forte), but with myself!

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  1. […] going to blog when I felt like it. So far, I’ve failed miserably. Happy Tuesday!DecemberOn December 6, I reflected on what my two years of loving exercise has taught me about myself, which may all have […]

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