Thursday, May 28, 2009


I hate to sweat. HATE it. As a child, I was never involved in sports. I did take softball one year, which was a joke. I had no interest in it—it was just convenient for my parents to put my sister and I in the same sport and on the same team, so they wouldn’t have to split their time between activities. With my sister’s success in sports year round, there was no time or money for my own interests. I wanted to be a ballerina, or a gymnast, or a pianist. But outside of that one instance, I have never been outdoorsy or athletic or anything like that. I’ve tried, trust me. I have yearned to be. But I hate bugs. I hate heat. I hate drinking water. I hate to sweat.

Therefore, I have never been one to sweat. Sweat is nasty. It stinks. It’s sticky. It’s uncomfortable. It turns my face bright red for a good hour. It leaves a rash on my chest and arms. And when I get truly, deeply heated, I get swollen glands in my head that are very obvious to anyone who sees me. It’s not pretty, and it takes at least a day to go away. Sweating brings me anxiety. Being hot brings me anxiety. Maybe because I have no control of the sweating. Maybe because it’s been such a foreign thing to me.

My workout routines in the past lasted until. . . . well, until I started to really sweat. Then I would quit. So my workouts were never intense. Now, seeing a personal trainer has me sweating within 3 minutes of beginning our workout. I don’t mean a glisten. I mean a heavy sweat dripping on your cheeks from your hair kind of sweat. The kind where you take a cold shower, and get out only to find yourself still sweating. The kind where an hour later your face is still bright red and people think you are sunburned.

After meeting with my trainer several times now, I have found myself more accepting of sweat. I have grown more comfortable with it. This weekend I mowed my lawn, used the weed eater, and sprayed for weeds and poison ivy. It took me 2 hours in the sun. I usually only work an hour in the heat and take a break. But this time I plowed through. Why? The sweat didn’t bother me as much. I was OK with it. And yes, it was pouring off of me.

I was at a friend’s house this weekend and his air conditioner was not on. This was Sunday afternoon, on a hot day. I walked in and the stuffiness and heat hit me between the eyes. My first instinct was to leave. And I realized the anxiety that being hot has brought me. I went into anxiety mode, and I didn’t want to be there. But I stuck it out and it was all fine.

Now, I remind myself that it’s a purging. My body is releasing unnecessary chemicals when I sweat. It’s a sign that I’m doing something good for me. Even if it is sticky and wet and stinky. It’s a good thing.

1 comment:

luke said...

"The kind where you take a cold shower, and get out only to find yourself still sweating."

Hah. Yes! Exactly! It's one of those "you know you've had a great workout if ..." things.

Also, purging == good but hard on the self. Another word shares the same root - purgatory. Just something to think about.