Tuesday Workout of the Week: Half a completed workout is better than a whole one you didn’t do at all.

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Stardate: Wednesday, August 13, 2014. I am in a car in Bellevue, Washington, attempting to cross a bridge at rush hour to get to a workout with my track coaches and workout buddies. The words “rush hour” should be a hint as to what happened next.

Yes, there was a traffic jam. And I was late to my workout.

Will a traffic jam upend our intrepid heroine's workout plans? Not so fast! (Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Will a traffic jam upend our intrepid heroine’s workout plans? Not so fast! (Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

So, to work out, or not to work out? What a convenient excuse – an act of God, really. I decided not to leave my house for the 20-minute drive (without traffic) until, ahem, 15 minutes before the workout started. Of course I was going to get gummed up in traffic. Of course I was going to have to detour to the other bridge that connects Bellevue to Seattle. And of course, I was going to have to drive right past a frozen yogurt joint on the way. Especially tempting since we’ve had an actual warm summer this year in Seattle-land.

So, what happened next?

Did our intrepid heroine say “forget the workout” and go for fro-yo? Trust me, that was a major temptation. On my personal list of the One Thousand Things I Most Like Doing, trying to get through rush-hour traffic ranks between about #987 and #995. I cannot stand being stuck in a car and surrounded by people who are just as hot and tired and frustrated as I am.

I really, really wanted to just give up.

And then, I remembered something.

“50% of a workout you actually did is worth 100% more than the workout you didn’t do at all.”

I’m paraphrasing a bit there, but that’s what came to mind. It really didn’t matter that the official group workout started at 6:30 and if I got really lucky with traffic on Bridge Number Two, I wouldn’t get started until 7:00. It mattered that I decided the workout – however much of it I got to do – was worth 100% to me. So I pointed the car towards Seattle, blew a kiss to Chez Fro-Yo as I passed it by, and got to my workout.

Now, that’s a WOW.

The Workout of the Week feature at Every48 on Tuesdays – the WOW – strives to highlight a fun new activity, or workout, or strategy that keeps us going. This past week, the “WOW” was more than a workout. It was a moment when I prioritized taking care of myself at a time when I so easily could have punted and decided to do it “tomorrow.” There are no tomorrows, by the way. There’s just the Right Nows. We either take care of ourselves in each moment, or we don’t. That is all.

When you can’t get in 100% of a workout, get in 90%. Or 75%. Or, in my case last Wednesday, 50%. Whatever you can do, do. Don’t worry about the part you couldn’t do.

Come to think of it, maybe the real WOW moment was in what really got exercised last Wednesday: my ability to be patient enough not to let circumstances I couldn’t control get in the way of circumstances I could control. I like that. These moments remind us that working out is about more than working out. It’s about having self-discipline and self-efficacy, realizing that we have the capacity to solve problems positively, and keeping our promises to ourselves. And that makes it possible for us to keep our promises to others, too, and to lead basically awesome lives.

Yup, I’d say that’s a WOW. Now get out there and get your workout on – however much of it you can do today, right now.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: A lovely 60-minute SPIN class at 9:15 with my favorite instructor. Best way ever to start a Monday.

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