Friday, August 3, 2012

Never Sacrifice Form

So, yeah - "never sacrifice form" was some advice I heard this morning as I was sweating and gasping my way through one of Shaun T's Insanity workouts.  And it got me thinking...

I get frustrated sometimes because I tend to be a bit....s-l-o-w when I work out.  It is especially frustrating for me when I am exercising with others who just seem to breeze right through everything, double whatever I've done, no problem.  I give myself a slight break when it comes to the professional videos because, uh, after all, they have hired people who are in totally amazing shape to make their workout videos seem easy.  But the in person stuff, like fitness classes, has always made me feel a little stupid, a little fat, a little out of shape - and a lot "not good enough."  Like I'm the fat loser that everybody secretly feels sorry for and superior to.  You get my drift.  And I AM slow - no doubt about it.  But it is not just because I am in worse shape than everyone else....

Part of my slowness has to do with my fanatical ideas about "good form."  I am a stickler for form.  If I think I am not using proper form, I ask for input from the instructor or check a mirror.  I want to perform the exercise with the best possible form I can muster.  Mostly I do this because I do not want to hurt myself - I'm not 18 anymore and doing bad squats could leave me sore or even injured for days.  But I also do it because I do not see the point in doing something half-assed.  I could probably go much faster on certain exercises if I sacrificed some form but I just can't do it.  I've tried.  I feel like a cheater.  I'd rather feel slow than guilty, I guess. 

So this morning when Shaun T said "never sacrifice form," I was reminded of this slight obsession I have and my slowness.  And I felt validated, as if Shaun T had reached out and patted me on the back and said, "Girl, you may be slow, but you're doing it right, and that's what matters most.  Now get out there and give us your nastiest Smack Dat !"  (Wait, that's "Hip Hop Abs" Shaun T, not "Insanity" Shaun T....)  I began thinking about how sometimes "doing it right" does not translate into glory or accolades or even recognition - and I extended that right into my professional life. 

There are times when I could gain an advantage by being underhanded, untruthful, or downright unethical.  I could do things in a way that would garner praise or, at the very least, put my opponent down and pump myself up, trying to "look good" in the eyes of the fact-finder.  But at the end of the day, I have to live with myself - I need to sleep at night, you know?  So I try to "do things right."  And that may mean that I appear "slow," inexperienced, ignorant, or weak by opposing counsel or parties.  Like the "form" discussed above, however, I am willing to give up the flashiness, the glitz and the high drama in the interest of safety.  Because I don't want to hurt myself - being an ugly, dishonest person is damaging, and God knows, I am done with damaging myself. 

So that is my latest epiphany.  I don't need to feel bad about being "slow," because it is healthy for me.  It means I care about the right things and I care about myself.  That's new for me, really.  And I'm kinda digging on it. 


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