The G-dliness in Personal Training
It’s 6:05, my internal alarm clock woke me up. I had a dog of a night. I fell asleep easily but woke up at 3am. Usually I read or take melatonin and fall back asleep. Last night nothing worked. My rule is not to let a bad night ruin my day. I know I can have a perfectly decent day despite having had a bad night. So I said Modeh Ani with kavanah and had the intention to have a good day.
Since it is lockdown here in Melbourne, some of my clients, who train in the park, want to do it early so they have more privacy. My first client is at 7:30 and I want to do my workout first. I am crabby, groggy, moody and tired. I don’t want to do any exercise. I convince myself to do a little, nothing to strenuous. Some push ups, a few stretches and a gentle walk.
I follow my orders but my mood isn’t following. I go out in the fresh air, it’s crisp and cold. “Ahh, this should wake me up, I’ll feel so good afterwards.”
“Sori just keep walking” I tell myself.
“No, I really don’t want to.” The internal war escalates.
“Dear, just half an hour walk and then we are done”.
I continue my walk, my habit kicks in. I start listening to my daily podcast with Gedale Fenster. Today he says, “Procrastinate procrastination, by telling yourself tomorrow you can relax”. Just what I needed to hear. I get involved in my podcast, next thing I know I am back home and I have walked an hour.
I gather up my fitness ball, weights, jump in the car and Baruch Hashem I am in the park by 7:30. I feel that the dedication and commitment that I exert with my exercise are exactly what tools I could use in the spiritual realm too.
When I was studying to be a personal trainer, they teach you the five stages a person goes through until they commit to keeping to an exercise program.
By applying these stages to our G-d connection training we can strengthen our souls as we do for our bodies and get on a path that connects us to G-d.
Stage 1 Precontemplation
Body: I would love to exercise but have no time.
Soul: G-d, I plan one of these days to connect to you. Since Corona, I have been feeling so lost and need an anchor. Saying a prayer might help me connect to you.
Stage 2 Contemplation
Body: I’m thinking of joining a gym.
Soul: I am thinking about joining my local synagogue. I wonder where it is.
Stage 3 Preparation
Body: I am putting my gym clothes on or at the very least leaving them in my car so I can run around the park on my way home from work (or if you are a morning person, first thing in the morning).
Soul: I have called the local Rabbi and there is a shul around the corner from my house. I plan to go next week. Or, I have called the Rebbetzin and she has agreed to study with me on Monday nights at 8:00pm.
Stage 4 Action
Body: This is the most important stage; you are doing the jog around the park. You have started to go to the gym or have enlisted a personal trainer 3 times a week. You feel great.
Soul: You have begun going to shul. The Rabbi speaks to your heart and you have started to light Shabbat candles on Friday night. You feel so much more calm, serene and peaceful. The Monday night shiur is going well too. A new light has entered your heart (relaxed woman = relaxed house). Your husband is loving the new you and wants to join in because if it makes you so happy, he wants to be a part of it too – everyone wants to be part of the action!
Stage 5 Maintenance
Body: You have been exercising for a few weeks but then your workload commitment goes up, you need to cut corners. Do you give up on your exercise? Do you quit? Absolutely not! (says me). Ask for more help. Everyone can see how the exercise is helping and making you a better person. Call in the troops.
Soul: You need to move house so you will no longer be next to the synagogue with the Rabbi you like so much. Do you find a house further away or one close to the synagogue so you can remain committed? Monday night shiurim are not the best for you. You want to give it up. Maybe change it for another night that suits you better.
Thomas Edison said “99% perspiration, 1% inspiration”. G-d likes your motivation but it’s the dedication that ultimately counts.
The path is never easy. People sometimes look at me and say, “Oh for you, exercising must be easy.” Perhaps it is easier but there are times when I have no interest or motivation. I push and persevere. Do the motions and eventually your emotion comes to the party. I have never exercised and regretted it. I have never prayed and not felt better, more elevated, more cleansed, more ready to start my day, for it. I let go of my issues and let G-d inside my life.
The feeling you get from daily exercise is freshness, lightness, revitalised senses and reenergised movements. Not to mention the ability to carry heavy loads and groceries without hurting your back.
In the same way, after connecting to God, you feel that life is lighter, easier, more joyful because you have thrown your burden onto Him. He will carry your load.
Wishing you and me, a year of choosing good healthy habits, strong connections to G-d and each other and the commitment to stick to our plan this whole year.