Workouts are Pass/Fail. If you show up, you passed.

Got to talking with some people on the weekend about keeping enthusiasm for workouts going. Just about everyone in the group acknowledged that it can be hard, hard, hard to get out there. Even though they also admitted that working out has a 100% success rate. Nobody ever regrets getting out there to get their workout in, once it’s over.

Here’s the truth: nobody (well, almost nobody) keeps their enthusiasm going all the time for workouts. So we need to give ourselves some credit just for showing up.

Enthusiasm waxes and wanes. Showing up is binary. You either showed up, or you didn’t.

I used to think about what grade I would get for working out. Now I just think about pass/fail. I show up, I passed. Simple as that.
I used to think about what grade I would get for working out. Now I just think about pass/fail. I show up, I passed. Simple as that. (Image courtesy of pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A member of my triathlon swim class said something like that last week. She didn’t set any speed records on Thursday morning. She just showed up. And workouts are graded exactly one way: Pass/Fail. If you showed up, you passed. That’s all it takes.

This is just one of the mental games I play in order to keep perspective on improvement, commitment, and seeing things through to the end. It’s why I put stickers on the calendar in my office showing that I worked out that day: green for an outdoor workout, pink for a gym workout, yellow for yoga. (Not enough yoga workouts these last couple of months – easy to tell at a glance with this system.)

Enthusiasm for workouts is kind of like a sine curve that gradually increases over time. Like this:

Play it right, and your enthusiasm for workouts will eventually increase. But there will be some ups and downs along the way. Ride 'em out.
Play it right, and your enthusiasm for workouts will eventually increase. But there will be some ups and downs along the way. Ride ’em out. (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

It’s something that waxes and wanes, but the more we work out anyway, the stronger we get over time. The easier it is to just get things done. Several of my friends are training for spring marathons right now. A bunch of them went out yesterday on  a particularly cold, rainy day in Seattle to get their long runs in. I stayed inside. It was just one of those days. I needed a rest. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’ll get out there today. I’ll keep going.

And that decision to keep going, to ride it out, to just get out there – well, all of those little decisions turn into big decisions over time, because the value of those small, positive decisions accumulates over time. And one day you wake up and you’re 81 years old and competing at the Kona Ironman World Championships because you took care of yourself when you were younger. And that’s what I’m going for.

(You can click on the link above for the story of two 80+ Kona competitors – or just watch the video below. Then tell me you don’t have time to work out today!)

Recent #every48 workouts: ZUMBA on Saturday – I needed some fun dance action. Unplanned REST DAY yesterday, so I’ll get out today for a run.

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