Have you ever seen that crazy person on the treadmill who is either jamming to their tunes or swinging their arms around or maybe walking backwards or sideways? And you’re thinking to yourself, “What the heck are they doing? They look positively insane!” Yeah … that’s me.
In my own defense, can I just say that when I’m on the treadmill (or elliptical, or stationary bike) and I’ve got my iPod going at pretty much full blast and I’m listening to one of my playlists that I’ve constructed for just that purpose, well, I’m in the zone. I am lost in the music, the lyrics, the beat and I lose all self-consciousness. These are my favorite, most inspiring songs. I’ve assembled them in a particular order either because I’m going to do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session or I’m going to run hills and I need my best motivational songs for those toughest parts. Anyway, each song serves a purpose and they’re in a particular order for a reason. But most importantly, they just get me going!
Music can be so energizing and invigorating. I always tell people that, when you’re doing cardio, listen to music that you couldn’t possibly sit still for. Of course, whatever this is will be different for you than it is for me. You may like rockin’ to the oldies or bringing it home with country music or killing it with Axl Rose, but whatever does it for you, go get it! Give yourself permission to just get completely immersed in the music while you push yourself physically. You may like the music of your youth or you may want to branch out and find new things to listen to. I like Pandora, the web-based radio station, as a way to try new music, new bands, new material that I haven’t heard before. I listen to Pandora all the time when I am on my computer and I started to notice – or rather Pandora started to notice – that I consistently liked certain sounds. It introduced me to bands I’d never heard of before and songs that are now some of my favorites.
The goal here is to make exercising fun, make it something that you look forward to, make it something that gets you all fired up and feel like you could take on the world. Remember how much fun you had listening to music when you were a teenager and you and your friends would drive around with the tunes cranked up, singing at the top of your lungs? Well, that’s what my friends and I did! It was a blast! Or when I was in college and my girlfriends and I would blast our music while we were getting ready (for hours as I recall) to go out. Good fun and good memories!
I was reminded of how completely unself-conscious I am when a couple of weeks ago at the gym a guy came up to me – while I was rocking out to my music on the treadmill! – and motioned to me to take my headphones out. Always reluctant to stop when I’m in the zone I jumped off anyway. He was smiling at me and said, “I’ve seen you here before, jammin’ to your music and obviously having so much fun working out, I want you to know that you’re truly an inspiration!” Zowie! I was floored! It has occurred to me occasionally that people sometimes look at me because of my (ahem) unconventional behavior, but I never really thought about the fact that someone might find inspiration in it. Ha! Victory!
There’s no doubt that I’m an endorphin junky; I love the rush, the euphoria, the exhilaration that I get from exercise. But a big part of that rush is also the release of self-consciousness. We walk around most of the day, heck most of our lives, worrying about making a good impression, being responsible, doing the right thing. But giving ourselves permission to cut loose and enjoy the movement or our bodies just feels so damn good that it’s worth the occasional quizzical stare while I’m giving it up on the treadmill!
Let’s go get it!