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Health | Fitness

Finding Peace in the Pain

This year I started a different kind of data project for my working out.  While I have tons of apps that track heart rate and all that fun stuff, what I had not started tracking when I first started working out was how my body's appearance physically changed as I began the journey.  In fact it wasn't until June or July of 2017 when I took the first "before" photos, at which point I had already been working out for 4-5 months pretty regularly.  It did coincide with the start of my strength training, as I had been doing predominately running prior to that. 

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I took progression pics for the reminder of 2017, keeping them under wraps save for me to review and see how my body reacted to the different exercises, etc.  

At the start of this year, coinciding with a personal mission of not playing small, which finds it origins in the quote above, I decided to start a public instagram page documenting my fitness journey, which I later found out hash it's own hashtag (that's a whole different story). This was putting myself out there and the first few times I posted were anxiety provoking as anything I have ever done. 

I'm an introvert by nature, in fact several of my friends were convinced that I had lost my mind.  But its because it was precisely because it was anxiety provoking and because it was uncomfortable that I started and continue to do it. 

One of the first pics I took was this one.  I didn't mean to take it as I did, but it turned out kinda cool so I kept it, shared it, though making sure to preface that I wasn't actually praying in the picture.  In fact I don't know what I was doing, I may have just looked down while the timer on the camera, which was propped up on a cardboard box, wound down to 0.

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I kept futzing about with photos and then a friend of mine suggested the edit below to the photo.   What he didn't realize at the time was how truthful the edit was.  I had been under a lot of stress as the year started and kept under wraps for the longest time that the reason I was working out so much was because it was one of the few times my mind would be still enough to feel at peace and that when I wasn't working out, I was horribly depressed.  At one point my workouts were running 90-120 mins in duration.  I'd get a good 3-4 hour reprieve from workouts that long and it helped me get through the day. 

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Finding peace in the pain goes beyond just the gym, just as health and fitness is more than physical.  Our mental and emotional well being are important. Our minds are muscles too and they need to be used, exercised and fed so they primed for optimum performance. And as is the case with being sore in the gym, the mental and emotional pain we experience will lead us to peace if we let it.

Robert Cornell