In my foolishness, I one day spent quite a bit of time looking for “fitness inspiration” on Pinterest. One thing I saw repeatedly said, “It doesn’t get easier… you just get stronger.”
Eh… well, partly yes, but that’s not all there is to it either. It doesn’t get any easier at all, actually. In fact, it has to get even harder in order for you to continually get stronger.
Real world example: when I first started this fitness craziness back in November, I could get my heart rate well over 100 bpm just by jogging in place for 60 seconds. Fast-forward to now, and that exact same activity only gets my heart rate up to 85 bpm or so. It didn’t get any easier… it’s the exact same exercise. My body did get better conditioned, however, which makes it feel easier. In order to get the same “workout” effect I got in the beginning (heart rate over 100 bpm), I now have to either run longer (like for 2 minutes instead of 1), or jazz it up a bit with some high-knees and jumping. For me to continue to see any benefit to this exercise, I have to find a way to make it harder. And when it begins to feel easy again, I will have to make it harder still. Otherwise, my progress will plateau.
In weightlifting, you have to continue to increase the amount of weight you’re trying to lift if you want to continue getting stronger. You have to actively make what you’re doing even more difficult if you want to see progress.
It’s the same in yoga too. When I first started yoga, your standard sun salutation was pretty exhausting for me. I was that person in class who would just stay in downward-facing dog while everyone else went through the vinyasa. Sometimes I would take child’s pose and stay there for a while because I knew my body could not do another freaking sun salutation. Now, not only do I vinyasa right along with the class, but I also find it kind of relaxing. If I want to challenge myself and grow stronger, I have to up the difficulty, either by adding more sun salutations, or attempting to do more difficult poses that challenge my limits.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that you need to find an exercise/sport that can grow with you as you progress. You can’t just run a mile at the same pace every day and hope to increase your fitness level. You either have to run farther, run faster, or both. You can’t do the same number of reps with the same weight every day and expect to get stronger. You either have to add reps, add weight, or both. It has to get harder.
I mean, yeah, you do get stronger, but only if you make it harder. It doesn’t get any easier ever, really, and if it does, you’re doing something wrong. At least if you want to get stronger, you’re doing it wrong.
Challenge yourself. Push your limits. Try things you don’t think you can do. You might be even stronger than you think you are.