About a year ago I did something no one saw coming. My sister and parents have never known me to do such a thing. Even my husband shook his head with a perplexed, incredulous look of alarm. To be honest, I didn’t really decide to do it; it was more that I caved into peer pressure and thus found myself in a place I’d never been before.
A few mums from our local school had got themselves “hooked on exercise” and kept pestering me to take advantage of their pickup service and try it out.
The night before my first session I had nightmares all night. I dreamed about having to pull a Boeing 767 across a tarmac with a plane towrope clenched in my teeth. I think I saw that on The Biggest Loser once. I woke up sweating.
The 5:35 am carpool vehicle arrived. Yep, FIVE THIRTY FIVE. That noise you might be able to hear is my husband laughing in the background.
Truthfully, I can’t even believe it myself.
After being a conscientious objector to exercise for the first 44 years of my life, I feel I have amassed a good amount of evidence to prove a sedentary lifestyle is superior. My top three involve sleep, pain-free living and saving money in the activewear budget. (In 2016, it is impossible for a school mum to exercise in anything else.)
Here’re some oft-claimed fallacies I have uncovered during my year of boot camp research:
Fallacy #1: You’ll feel better all day.
Wrong. I feel smashed all day and often need Panadol just to ensure I can get myself off the toilet without the help of a neighbour.
Fallacy #2: Exercise is addictive.
Wrong. I still feel sick at the thought of it three days before my next class.
Fallacy #3: You’ll get used to getting up early.
Wrong. I think having little kids had already proved that one false.
In my first four weeks of exploring the new worlds of cardio, weights and Boxfit, my long-suffering trainer would tease me as her most reluctant client.
As time went on, I got smarter and slept in my activewear to circumvent a pre-dawn battle with lycra. Who needs that? It also buys you three extra minutes of sleep.
At the three month mark of my sacrificial research, I got out of two training sessions due to a short road trip to the beach village of Lancelin. It’s famous for inland sand dunes as white as snow. We did what everyone does and hired sand boards for a few hours with the kids. The usual parental responsibilities applied: the kids surfed down the face of the dunes, and we dragged the boards back up so they could have that kind of fun over and over again. I did my duty more than a reasonable amount of times.
Unsuspectingly, something remarkable revealed itself. I was fit. I could run up and down dunes of 10-metre high soft sand and not require medical intervention. I didn’t have to vomit at the summit; in fact, I was hardly puffing. The benefits of boot camp had been invisible to me until this point.
There’s an obvious verse to reference at this point. You may have recited in your head already.
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
Training for godliness can have its undesirable regimes. The list is hardly attractive: discipline, suffering, perseverance, correction, devotion, endurance and denial for starters. The kicker to this verse is the phrase “promising benefits”. A transformation from spiritual sedentariness to godliness is of benefit to me. It will enable, support and assist me in the activities of my life.
Greater still, it locates me in God’s will, bringing a depth of joy and intimacy that sleeping in could never yield. It produces character, hope and the things that do not disappoint.
It’s an interesting life choice to say no to God-promised support and assistance. I continually do it because I am brim-filled with laziness. The training towards godliness is not enjoyed as goodness at the point of ‘working out’. The exercise is painful and not as much fun as, say, sandboarding.
It’s easy to reflect on the advantages of being fit at the point you go on a sandboarding holiday. It is of great benefit to the experience. The payback to the dune workout was pure reward. From that point until now, I’m only known at boot camp as ‘Sandhill Warrior’.
In my head, discipline and tedium are best friends – they belong together. They also hold promise for the days in front of me. If I’m going to be a warrior that trains for godliness, then count me in for the unanticipated benefits that bring tangible value to my life.