Applying Knowledge from Other Areas…

Workout GearWhy am I so slow to apply knowledge from one area of my life to another??

I was thinking about the whole “sharing epiphany” thing while on my run to nowhere (32/200) this afternoon, and it occurred to me that I know a lot about individualized plans (talking about them, creating them, implementing them, and changing them) from my time spent in Disability World. The reason that they are individualized is because – wait for it – no two people are alike! Even two kids with the same diagnosis will require different plans for – say – teaching them math, because there is no way to distill someone down into a stereotype. I know this intimately, and yet, I didn’t apply it to my fitness quest/questions. We do it a bunch, you know, try to label people and simplify their personalities into some easy-to-define niche. I know better, and I still do it.

Michael Smull is one of the gurus of Person-Centered Planning. One of the activities he led us through in his workshop involved writing out our morning routines and then trading them with one another. The premise was that you would now have to follow the routine designed for you by the other person. It was eye-opening, to say the least. Of course, the exercise was to put us into the shoes of someone with a disability whose every waking moment is designed without their input. But it applies to fitness, too. Stick with me, here.

Let’s look at my fitness routine. I put my hair up in a ponytail. I wear long running pants, a jog bra, a tank top, white cotton turn down socks, and New Balance running shoes. I carry a bottle of water (with a packet of Emer’gen-C mixed in), my Rio (loaded with my favorite workout music), and a bar towel. I drink the fortified water as I am driving to the gym, and refill the bottle as soon as I arrive. I prefer to get on elliptical trainer #3, but sometimes it is taken, so I get on one of the others, but never #1 because it squeaks. I start my workout listening to Matchbox 20’s Unwell at 160 strides per minute. I typically stay on the elliptical trainer for an hour and then switch to the weight machines. I alternate leg and arm days, but do abs every day.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. Now, think about your typical routine for physical activity. At what point does my plan differ from yours? How long would it take you to run screaming if I handed you my plan and said, “This is what you *must* do lose 15 pounds in 8 weeks – oh wait, I have to give you my food plan, too…”??

So, regardless of how much I *love* my routine, how well it works for me, or how excited I am about it, I can’t expect you to start it up, too. This applies in the much larger sense of life choices, as well. Just because I am uncomfortable enough weighing 172.5 pounds to go to the gym nearly every day doesn’t mean that anyone else will – or even needs to! And just because The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd sent me on a spiritual journey that changed my life doesn’t mean anyone else will get what I got from it – or even like it!

We are individuals. We are different enough that no one plan/book/life will fit us all.

I am not the first to say that folks tend to get very excited about the choices they make that are successful for them. I know that I do. The trouble comes when we try to apply that information to other people. Sure, I can learn from what you do, but I can’t live your life. I’ve got my own, thanks.

Soap Box of the Day: I am not typically a violent person. As a matter of fact, I have quite the reputation for being a pacifist. But that all came very close to changing this afternoon at the gym. I was *thisclose* to finishing my routine (see above) and lacked one leg machine. The problem? There was this guy who was – you aren’t going to believe this – sitting on the machine reading the paper! Every 5 minutes or so he would give a half-hearted effort at 3 or 4 reps, but for the most part he was taking the afternoon to work through the sports section!! Now, if this had gone on for 2 or 3 “sets” I would have chalked it up to someone who needed a reeeeaaaallllyyyyy long recovery.

Nope. This went on for nearly a half an hour. Yes!! I thought about interrupting him, but by the time he got to his 4th set, I just had to see how long this would continue. Of all the nerve! It isn’t like my gym is loaded with machines. There is one circuit. That’s it! So, let this be a lesson people. If you are going to spend your Sunday reading the paper, please find a porch chair and leave the machines at the gym for the people who will be working out.

Thank you for your support.

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