Saturday was hectic -- my partner in a company and quite a few projects was going home for a few weeks, so we wanted to hang and wrap up a lot of stuff. Before that, we were sitting to negotiate out a project on the last possible day he could be there early in the morning, and on the other side of town.
I only had about 30 minutes total before I had to head out the door, and I was aggravated I was going to likely miss my workout that day. I said, "Well, what the heck, let's get something in" -- and I sprinted up and down the stairs a few times. I wasn't counting exactly, but I think I did 40 stories up, and 40 stories down?
I did some quick bodyweight exercises after that including air squats, and headed out the door. We then walked a lot...
Next two days, my legs are killin' me. Bad. My calves got a workout they almost never get from lightly striking the stair and moving quickly to the next one, and my quads likewise took a beating.
For the next couple days, if I ran my fingers over the muscles, that little jolt of pain rang out. And yet, paradoxically, when I did so I felt great. I felt immense satisfaction and pleasure.
I just discovered for myself a super low-tech way to get a killer workout, got a workout in on a day it'd be easy to mail it in with a good excuse, and am building up my strength.
It's funny, because that interpretation of the pain as pleasurable and enjoyable means I don't build an aversion to running the stairs... whereas interpreting pain in a hostile way can easily make you aversive to things.
I've had dozens of embarrassing situations in my life. I've screwed up so many things, and sometimes quite publicly. I've thought I had a sales deal in hand, and walked into a meeting with an order form only to get metaphorically chainsawed out of the blue. I've had all sorts of bad reactions while learning various disciplines, suffered injuries during weightlifting (significant cartilage damage to the left knee) and during martial arts (taking an ugly uppercut during drills, and losing some of my right incisor tooth for the bargain). I've almost gotten killed in Cambodia when hit by a reckless motorcycler on the wrong side of the wrong...
...and you know, some of these burned a fear into me that took a while to overcome, whereas others I celebrated and enjoyed, and they drove me forwards. The pain can be a badge of achievement and pride, can be loved through so to speak, and it might even push you forwards. Or it can be fought and rejected, leading to an aversion coming to the area that the pain came from.
What are you going to do next time it hurts?
Reminds me of Viktor E. Frankl's (of course, in a smaller scale)
"that man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning."
That pain had a meaning.
"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker
There is so much power in this quote. If you've never tracked yourself, you don't even know how much power there is in tracking. I couldn't even explain it adequately. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating. The simple act of paying attention to something will cause you to make connections you never did before, and you'll improve the those areas - almost without any extra effort.
I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.
Before I go any further, I need to give you one piece of advice - start small and build up, so you don't overwhelm yourself. This is just being pragmatic. You want to scale up gradually, as I wrote up in "The Evolution of My Time/Habit/Life Tracking." You want to build small wins, lock them so they become automatic, and then expand.
I'd have a hard time convincing you of the power of tracking, so I'll just show you. I fill this out every single day.
I don't walk much anymore. I run. If you were to follow me around all week, you'd probably interpret the rush to mean that I'm the most tardy person on planet earth. But that's not why I run, except today when I almost missed my flight.
I run because it's better than walking. I didn't stop to think about this until recently, but once I did I became fairly well convinced that walking is a waste of time unless I'm intentionally strolling around in the park or something. So now whether I'm on my way to a restaurant or going from the bus station to my RV, I run.
It's great exercise. Most distances I run tend to be between half-a-mile and a mile-and-a-half, which is a nice manageable sprinting distance. Walking such a distance wouldn't get my heart rate up, but flying down the streets, up and down hills and stairs is a good workout. If I have a few runs in a day, my legs will even be a bit sore the next day, whereas they wouldn't have been if I was just walking.