Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Pain, No Gain, Insane

By the "no pain, no gain" measure, I should be gaining big time, right now. My quads and glutes are screaming. Three days ago, my girlfriend thought it would be a good idea to go work out. I did my normal weight, normal work-out, except I added lunges, those heinous, damn to hell exercises that ostensibly lift your ass so it doesn't just perch on your legs like a floppy hat. Well, they hurt and hurt and hurt--not while doing them, mind you, afterward. Walking upstairs is excruciating. Sitting down requires a chair with armrests so I can use my arms to rest my sore ass slowwwwly into the chair.

For those who don't believe in God, I'll have you know, there is one and He has a sense of humor. Taking the kids to the park yesterday, my three year old gets stuck 15 feet up on the jungle gym. Oh yeah.... Mom to the rescue, right? Well, my legs hurt so bad, I'm cursing my tortured muscles as I struggle up the side. It was a lovely sight. The lady watching her little angel clamber up with no problem looked at me with all the mystified scorn she thought she hid well. And then, and then, I try to explain. I sound lame. I know it. That got the tolerant smile. I hate the tolerant smile.

The thing is, with weight lifting, "no pain, no gain" isn't really true. Pain gets you side-lined for a couple days which precludes the gain you could have been making. Steady increases in weights helps build the muscle and really, when you do it right, there isn't pain just fatigue. I did it wrong.

Our relationships can be the same way. Some of us associate pain with people and we kinda like it. Oh, we don't say that we like it. We say that we're tortured and miserable. Sometimes, things just seem too good, so we sabotage them and make them not-so-good so we can have an excuse when it doesn't go well and it doesn't go well because we sabotaged it. If that seems convoluted it's because it is.

Relationships shouldn't be painful. Good ones build and require the same kind of maintenance or at least the respectful willingness to not undo the work that has been done. Sometimes, there just isn't time or energy to devote to relationship building, but care must be taken so that the relationship doesn't end up flabby and neglected.

Or excruciating. Life is challenging enough. If you have the idea that physical pain is required to build your body into some sort of machine, you'll likely injure yourself or frustrate yourself out of physical fitness. The same goes for relationships. The truth is that healthy people gravitate toward pleasure and away from pain and work enough to build the relationship but take care to avoid hurting it. And that's as it should be. When a person gravitates toward discomfort, it's a sign of dysfunction not health.

A caveat: Pain avoidance is not necessarily healthy either. Growing muscles can cause fatigue and requires recovery time. So, a person must push their comfort level to get the body or the life that they want. A fit body doesn't happen magically. It takes work. A fit life takes work, too. Relationships are what a fit life is made of. Truly, rich or poor, sick or healthy, no matter the material circumstances, relationships matter most in the end. They are worth maintaining.

Meanwhile, I won't have any problem remembering these lessons. I'll be laying off the lower body workouts while my sore ass and thighs recover. Waddling is so embarrassing. Insane!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You gotta love the little monkey...the last time I took him to the park I had to go after him as well. The peanut gallery loved that sight!! Grammy

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. I got off the Treatmill and another type of equipment yesterday at the Y and I can tell that I've not worked out in almost 2 weeks because I've been ill.
Hang in there! It is so worth it.

john f not kerry said...

1989: Working at college bowling alley. Bowled (for free) pretty much every day of college life, as well as having bowled regularly since 3rd grade.

Spring Break, 1989: Had to let a league in and out and close up when done. Did some minor experimentation with my approach walk, trying to walk straighter, which took mental and physical effort due to so many repetitions over the years.

Result: Next day, butt muscles on both cheeks were in severe pain. Even today, every once in a great while, I am reminded of my old bowling "injury."

sandy said...

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