Brainwashed by Fitness

Gasping for air on the treadmill, I ripped the cap off my water bottle and poured the cold drink down my face like I was Alex Owens in Flashdance. Too bad I wasn’t a steel town girl dancing for my life, but instead an overweight guy that barely ran half a mile. I just completed my first run in probably over a year. Within the first two minutes, my chest felt like it was going to collapse and my knees started aching. My goal was a mile, but my body quit at the halfway point. Its’ been a long time, but was working out really this hard?!

Flashdance the Musical

What it felt like pouring water over myself after first run. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up, I was always a very active person. I wrestled my whole life and was varsity all four years in high school. If you have ever known someone that wrestled, you would know the demands it requires. I had to cut tremendous amounts of weight each season just to compete. By my senior year, I was running nearly 10 miles a day in order to lose thirty pounds. And those pounds weren’t fat, it was water weight and muscle. By the end of that season, I was in the best shape of my life. Unfortunately, wrestling doesn’t last forever and my ripped physique didn’t either.

After graduation, I was tired of watching my food and stepping on the scale. It was like someone held me captive in a fat camp and I was finally let free. I gorged on whatever food people had in front of me. It got to the point where I didn’t even need things reheated, I would just eat it because I was able to. In my mind I was becoming a connoisseur of all that I was deprived of. But in reality, I was gaining mass my body had never dealt it.

Earlier this year, I finally hit a wall. None of my clothes were fitting me and I felt like absolute dirt everyday. I hated looking in the mirror, but that didn’t even stop me from consuming. It got to the point where if I was thirsty, I would only drink soda when I knew I should have a water instead. Nothing resonated until I had to renew my license. I saw the old me on my previous license skinny and happy. After the new one printed, I was a person I couldn’t even recognize. I knew I needed to change.

A can of Dr Pepper produced in Poland

My beverage of choice. I still love Dr. Pepper, but not for every meal. (credit: Wikipedia)

So I ran that first day and it was brutal for that half mile. As my body ached and screamed for me to resume my position on the couch, I got back on the treadmill and went a full mile. Each day I kept pushing more and more. I could have just packed it in when it got tough, but I wouldn’t allow myself to be defeated. And now today, I am running four miles twice a day. The feeling of soreness and being tired before every run has now changed to me feeling sick if I don’t get on that treadmill.

It almost feels like I am brainwashed by fitness. I used to look at people that were in love with working out and thought they were crazy. It’s fun to play a video game or see a movie, but working out requires exercise and body movement. Now I see why they are so happy to get in the gym everyday. It isn’t about the workout, it’s about the feeling you get to have been productive and accomplish something. It not only goes for fitness, but carries into other things throughout the day. So I may be brainwashed, but I think I have been subliminally brainwashed with motivation through running.

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32 Responses to Brainwashed by Fitness

  1. I absolutely loved this post! My dad was a wrestling coach my whole life – growing up I played field hockey and soccer year round and worked out with the wrestling team all winter. In college after quitting field hockey I totally fell “off the wagon” and gained a bunch of weight. Getting back into it was the hardest thing ever. But now I’m back in love with it! Sometimes being brainwashed isn’t all that bad! Thanks for posting this!

    • Thank you for the comment and reading 🙂 I always love to heard people’s thoughts on wrestling especially when they are related to a person involved in the sport. It’s been hard since I stopped wrestling, but finally I am getting back in shape and motivated to do it. Congrats on your fitness success and hope you stop by again.

  2. Getting back into being physical and motivated to keep it up and staying fit is really hard. But once it becomes an important/essential part of your lifestyle…its true that its hard to not do it. For me, ever since I’ve gotten back into staying fit, I can’t imagine stopping and even on my off days, I still think about working out. Keep it up 🙂 Very awesome post!

  3. I watch my diet like a hawk, but I am working on being more active. I do walk more than the average person, but a brainwashing workout regimen wouldn’t hurt! I digress, but to me Dr. Pepper is the Wendy’s of fast food. It’s like everybody knows it tastes better than coke or sprite, but it doesn’t get as much recognition. Maybe people are brainwashed. Great post.

    • I feel the same way about Wendy’s. It is so good but very underrated. Unfortunately, I am keeping Dr. Pepper and Wendy’s off my diet. Thanks for stopping by and hope you come back for another Cup of Joe 🙂

  4. Went through something similar after I retired from the Army. Amazing how quick you lose it and hard it is to get back, but commitment and patience paid off. I feel like a Warrior again. Congratulations and good luck with maintaining your fitness for good!

    • Thank you for your kind words and stopping by. Also, thank you for all you have done for serving in the armed forces and protecting people. Congrats on all your hard work paying off and adding to my motivation. If we put in the hard work, we can reach our goals.

  5. aycorundum says:

    I have been in the same boat recently. I however haven’t had the motivation to start running again. I hate it but love it all at the same time. If that makes any sense! I hate feeling so out of shape at the beginning but I love when you start making progress! Hang in there! Hopefully I will rediscover this running thing and knock out some of this weight soon!

    • I can totally relate. Before I started blogging, I was bouncing in and out of working out and just giving up. I finally decided I needed to do it and just forced myself to. The first weeks are hard with being sore and frustrated. I am finally starting to see results but the best part is that I am feeling so much more healthy. My best advice is knock out some small fitness goals at first that lead up to a big one. It may suck running at first, but it will get easier after each workout. I hope I helped. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck 🙂

  6. Good story, Joe. When I turned 56 this past March, it seemed like my metabolism and body went through a complete, 360 degree turn around. Previously, I could gorge on anything and never gain a pound. But now, if I eat one donut at night, my belt buckle starts a tug-of-war with me in the morning. Wait till you’re my age – trying to burn off one pound of flab around your waist isn’t easy, no matter how many crunches you do. So take my advice: if you took it off…leave it off!

    • Trust me, I can totally understand. I am not even through my twenties and my metabolism is not anything like it used to be. I have crossed over into adulthood, which includes freedom but also the changes our body goes through. I though that was all over after puberty. No more midnight snacking or late night pizza for me anymore. Thanks for comment/advice and stopping by 🙂

  7. dfought says:

    I SO understand this. I have recently started running and it kicks my ass every time! Your post is motivating because it’s always nice to know that you’re not in it alone! It’s like, “I guess I am an adult now, and I can’t just do whatever I want and think I will be fine”… health is a serious thing that’s just good for the soul and the body. But the feeling after a run or a workout makes it all worth it, doesn’t it?

    • Yes. I love actually running because it helps clear my head. But that feeling you get after your done is indescribable.And a lot of people think becoming an adult is just about freedom. But it is also another set of changes your body goes through. Just like with your freedom, you need to be responsible with your health choices. And I’m pretty sure a lot of people are feeling exactly how we feel. Thank you for stopping by and your kind words 🙂 Best of luck with your fitness and don’t stop running.

  8. Great post!… I too was always in great shape and then when I transitioned into real estate I let myself go for about 2.5 years until I finally had enough and was tired of looking like a 190 balloon lol…I made the decision to change and see what I could actually accomplish if I changed my diet and started my old routines again. Needless to say I sit comfortably around the 155-160 mark depending on diet and am now in the leanest and best shape I’ve ever been in…All it takes is a decision and a desire 🙂

    • Thats great. It motivates me even more to see people in my position and how they were able to make a change in their life. If you believe and put in the effort, you can make it happen. Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the great work.

  9. joanned3 says:

    Great post!! I love hearing how people come to be runners. It reminds me of when I started, barely being able to go 30 seconds at a time, and now I have mornings like today where I’m out there running 9 miles and loving every second, never wanting to stop. I was obese my entire life, and to this day stand by saying that running saved my life. There’s something really addicting about it, how it makes you feel, the power behind it, and just moving your body, feeling yourself literally live when you work out that’s just like nothing else. I’ve found that with lifting and yoga, too, just moving my body and getting it to do things I never thought I could is so so powerful. So, maybe we’re brainwashed but at least it’s blissfully 🙂

    • That’s so great to hear someone that has took the steps to make a change in their life. Running is a great way to become motivated and be productive. Thanks for the kind words and don’t stop running 🙂

  10. ejamerson says:

    Love this one. So true. All about the feeling you get. The compliments from my friends and my wife of course don’t hurt either.

    • Not only does running make us feel good physically, but people notice and that makes it even more worth it. Happy to hear you are seeing results and getting support from your loves ones. Thanks for stopping by and keep on running.

  11. This post is great! Think most people can relate to it in a way , like myself for example that I’m so harsh on myself for the way I look and the fitness thing too purely because I saw my family suffer with there fitness and weight from a young age so it had an impact upon me!! But no matter what I’m such a sucker for cookies 🙂 nevermind eh! Still have to keep plodding along on the treadmill!

    • I think we all have our reasons to keep running and stay motivated. As long as it benefits it us in a positive way, it is great to be productive and keep healthy. While my weakness is Gingerbread cookies and other desserts, I have been doing my best to balance my diet and it has been paying off in dividend. Thanks for you kinds words and don’t stop running 🙂

  12. I love this! My brother wrestled Varsity all four years in high school too, and it took me until around a year ago to realize why he loved sports and fitness so much! Now I’m super into P90X and just finished my 7th month of it, I’m eating well and jogging with friends, and I’ve never felt better! It’s not just the endorphins and looking good that I love (though those are great), it really is the sense of productivity and accomplishment! Keep up the good work, exercising and blogging!

    • Thank you so much. It’s always great when I hear back from someone who was close to a wrester. They really get everything that goes into the sport and why it is great. And I’m glad to hear someone that is motivated and doing so well with their fitness. I agree, the big reason why I love working out is because you are accomplishing something each time you do it. Keep up the P90x and don’t stop pushing.

      • Oh yeah, the sport is intense. My dad wrestled varsity all of high school too, which is why my brother did, and I have always had great respect for wrestlers. It’s intense, manipulating weight like that is tough, and they don’t get the credit they deserve!

      • I agree. Wrestling is one of the toughest sports ever, and if you can finish out with it you will become a better person. A lot of people looking to get into fitness can learn a lot from wrestlers, and I’m sure your dad and brother are great people for advice. Lucky to have them.

  13. Lidiya says:

    Such an inspiratonal post!
    I will never get tired of reading about people’s changes. Now you control both your body and mind and I’m sure nothing can stop you anymore. Keep up the good work and don’t forget that every post of yours can be the turning point for a reader who is just looking for some motivation.

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