Thursday, January 27, 2011

The hardest part

I recall one of the HBDers on the blogroll off to the right (though I'm having trouble finding the exact post) expressing wonderment at how some people are so physically inert while others, faces contorted, run themselves--literally--to the brink of collapse.

Thinking about the question while doing P90X's plyometrics routine today, the psychological benefits alone make it, for me, an answer that is capable of being comprehended. Everything else becomes a cinch by comparison. There is nothing in my entire week, no matter how full my work plate is, how unfamiliar I am with a girl I'm seeing, or how daunting quantification of some blogging idea might be, that is nearly as formidable. So after an excruciating hour, I know there are easy buttons all over the place for the next 167. It scales daily as well, as it is the rare day indeed in which I don't get something of extreme intensity in.

The Derb pithily accesses the essence of it:
Life’s great law is that poverty and hardship build character; prosperity and security destroy it.
Pushing yourself to your physical limits creates hardship, albeit of an artificial nature. But it beats comfortable flabbiness.

Of course there are other obvious physical benefits, like "performing everywhere better" in Tony Horton's words, and in that respect, I find distance runners to be tragically misguided--distance running keeps you thin and makes you better at... distance running, and little else. P90X, faddish as it may appear at first blush, builds muscle mass everywhere while simultaneously increasing both dexterity (I'm now able to keep up with Dominque, the guy in the back, throughout plyo, and I'm a bigger guy than he is) and flexibility, at least for those of us fortunate enough to reap the physical rewards of exercise.

Anyhow, I am able to relate exclusively to the psychological comforts an intensive workout (which, by definition, almost requires multiple fails) brings and suspect it is one of those things that is hard to understand until you've been there:



9 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

I suspect that the psychological benefits of intense exercise are not the same for everyone. Just as some people constantly crave an adrenaline rush from dangerous new experiences while others simply find dangerous activities frightening and painful, it may be that we don't all have the same chemical incentives to exercise...

...which is unfortunate because I noticed tonight that a female friend of mine is losing weight for her wedding even though she's already at like the zeroth percentile on body fat - she has just enough to be attractive but won't for very long at this rate. She really should not be doing this yet millions of other people who need to trim some fat just don't feel like it.

Anonymous said...

Is that you, AE, in the video?

Wow.

Impressive.

dearieme said...

Life’s great law is that poverty and hardship build character: indeed, and a very nasty character it can be.

Stopped Clock said...

I doubt that's actually AE in the video. It looks like it was taken around Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

The knees are NOT meant to take that.

Audacious Epigone said...

Jokah,

You're likely correct, just as people get varying results from exercise. The psychological rewards they receive, too, probably differ, possibly even through the course of an individual's lifetime.

Anon,

No, it's not me, but it's a good demonstration of jump knee tucks.

Anon2,

Soft surface, landing on the toes, warming up ahead of time, no more than once a week--these things are necessities.

Black Sea said...

Everything in moderation, including poverty and hardship. A few hard knocks and set-backs may help one to grow up, but a little goes a long way. I'd say more likely, climbing out of poverty, or overcoming hardship, builds character, or maybe just reflects it.

Anonymous said...

"I'd say more likely, climbing out of poverty, or overcoming hardship, builds character, or maybe just reflects it."

Ah, interesting, which is it? Whatever the answer, we've a growing number of citizens who never feel the need to climb out since Uncle Sam feeds, clothes, houses them, pays med bills, extending credit to them, freeing
up whatever cash they do have to buy more video games, fancier phones, bigger tv screens.

No need to build character if the libs have their way.

silly girl said...

"Whatever the answer, we've a growing number of citizens who never feel the need to climb out since Uncle Sam feeds, clothes, houses them, pays med bills, extending credit to them, freeing up whatever cash they do have to buy more video games, fancier phones, bigger tv screens."

The thing is once need is removed as a motivator, what is left is greed. Status seeking remains. I think Half Sigma did a post on that.