A lot of my fitness journey has revolved around the theme of commitment. Commitment is a funny word. It’s etymology involves the word “com” – together, “mittere” – to put, or send” and the suffix “ment”-the result or product of an action. The result of putting or giving a togetherness, or persistence. The history of the word commitment dates back to the 1600s. But, alas, I digress and I am definitely not a history buff.
I can promise you that this will be far from my last entry on commitment, but I hope it’s a decent first.
Perhaps what is so striking about this word is its emphasis on persistence and persevering. In many ways, I see commitment as being result to determination–determination being the result of one’s free will, and commitment being a result of said free will. They are, however not the same thing.
Determination comes from within. Determination is your own free will. Your dedication towards a vision.
Commitment is scary. Commitment is ambiguous. Commitment is vague. Commitment requires courage.
Kris Gethin has played a tremendous role in my fitness journey. This journey has been far from smooth sailing. He told us that we had to push ourselves, and if I didn’t get the results I wanted, I had no one to blame but myself. I had become brainwashed that my commitment to my success would be a result of pushing limits. I, of course, didn’t know where my limits were and mistakenly equated pushing my limits to mindlessly adding more weights onto my exercises. As a result, I ended up with a minor rotary cuff injury– partially dislocating my left shoulder (which I idiotically relocated on my own in the moment).
I realized I had to take time away for the gym; I did this with two reasons in mind. I knew that I had to give my body time to recover, but I was also afraid of more injury, and ultimately, failure. I was afraid that this would be the tipping point, where I would give up again. That this would become another failed attempt at fitness.
The two weeks seemed long. I missed the gym. The constant “soreness” I felt the 2 days succeeding a workout. The routine that I had established in my life. In this time, I started letting loose. My diet was out of sorts. Nothing was being tracked. I was upset that my “free time” from school and work, was wasted since I couldn’t spend it in the gym. Because of this shakeup in my routine, I lost sight of my vision. lost my determination.
It was in this process, however, that I had time to reflect. I came to realize that pushing your limits is no different from activism, at least how my wise, wise mentor chose to explain activism to me. She said “Activism isn’t mindlessly breaking the law or making people uncomfortable. Activism is knowing where the line is, and deliberately choosing when, where, and how the line is being crossed.” I drew the comparisons and realized that I couldn’t “push my limits” if I never knew where these limits where in the first place.
It was in this process, that I realized that failure wasn’t the answer. Failure would be the result of my lack of commitment. My success had to come from my commitment, and I had to rediscover my determination to be committed.
This week was my first week back in the gym. It started with me picking up the week I left off in Kris Gethin’s 12 week Daily Video Trainer from Bodybuilding.com. It was leg day (day 28). I knew I would make it through this day. I was, however, scared for my shoulder workout (day 32) that week. I was afraid that I would injure myself again. I was afraid of failure.
Today, I can proudly say that I finished one of my best chest and triceps workouts (day 33) with this program, the day immediately following the shoulder workout (day 32). My shoulders felt slightly sore, but not in an injury capacity. It was the feeling that I missed during the two weeks I was away from the gym. I realized that in finding my determination again, I had conquered fear. I had conquered failure.
Every day is still a challenge. It doesn’t get easier, and it only feels like an uphill battle that never steadies off on some days. But it is these small moments of success, the exhaustion after a solid workout, that ironically pushes me to continue forward. In doing so, I can proudly say that I have stayed committed to my success.
Remember, commitment is scary, especially when your goal seems so broad and far away. There will always be moments in your life when you want to just sit down from this uphill hike. There will always be the rocky times when you want to “take a break”, or try to find an easier path. At the end of the day, you need to find your small trophies of success to push yourself forward. For me, its feeling like I completely obliterated a muscle group after a hard workout (I swear that’s Kris’ favorite word… follow his workout and see if you disagree with me) or the soreness that ensues for the next 2 days. For some, its watching the scale and noticing a downward trend. For others who are further along, it might be seeing a increase in mass via a measuring tape.
Somedays, you might just need someone to tell you verbally: “you look good” or “great job, keep it up”. That doesn’t make you shallow, as long as you don’t dwell on the physical aspects of the statements alone, and lose sight of the bigger picture — your commitment.