Eyes slowly peel awake to reveal more darkness than light, it’s one of those mornings when it feels like it’s midnight, the blinking red evidence of my 5:30AM alarm is confusing me.
As my eyes adjust to the semi-glow slowly seeping through the edges of my blinds, I pull the sheet back and get a quick chill. Nope. I pull them right back up and definitely roll over to spoon my warm and sleepy wife. I slowly release back into slumber until…
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
Now get to work bitch!
Now get to work bitch!
Bring it on, ring the alarm
Britney blares from my iPhone.
Damn, not today Britney, I groan as my back up alarm screams judgmentally at me. Now I have to actually move and physically turn this one off which wakes me up just enough to be annoyed and start my head churning.
It’s now 5:45. I am rarely angry at my alarms, I have them set from 5:30 – 6:00 as a safeguard against days like this. As fall approaches and the weather begins changing, so do I. I know this about myself, so I plan ahead. I set multiple alarms that require me to actually move. Today, it only takes two to get me out of bed and moving into the bathroom.
I leave my sleeping wife and five-year-old in the warm bed and brace the chill that begins to engulf me, waking me.
Pee, take my allergy medication and vitamins, wash my hands, face and brush my teeth and then grab the workout clothes that are already laid next to the sink and immediately put them on. This is a major part of the routine and if left undone can result in my ass staying in pajamas all day long and not engaging in the necessary self-care I need. I have learned in recovery from my addiction and trauma, self-care is the key to determining how the rest of my day is going to go. This theory is tried and true, trust me. Hence the pre prepared outfit.
Next stop let the dog out. Check.
Make sure my bike headphones are charged. Check.
Feed Cat. Check.
Make coffee. Check.
Go to the computer and log into work. Send a morning email. Check the daily schedule. Check social media. Start getting distracted just in time for the room to fill with Kristin Wig’s voice slurring, “I’m ready to parrrrrrrty.” A line from the movie Bridesmaids as my calendar alarm goes off to remind me of the spin class I bookmarked and need to get on. This is my final reminder to get my ass on the bike and work out.
I get to my spin bike, jump on and start my class. Most days I have at least one riding partner that I am texting with-an additional layer of accountability. If someone is waiting for me, it gives me one more reason to hop on. I see my buddy on the bike is already logged into the class we chose the night before. I text her good morning and we are off. My legs feel slow and heavy at first and I begin to move them in the normal warm up motions I am accustomed to in spin class. The music starts, before I know it, sweat starts to form around my brow, my heart rate picks up, my legs kick into gear and start flying in circles, and I am in it. My buddy and I send texts back and forth, silly stuff like funny memes, comments on the song playing etc. It keeps me engaged and motivated, before I know it, I see on my screen that I am beating my old time. My spin bike reveals my metrics from all my rides and there is a nice feature that gives you your old output from the last time you took a class. It’s a part of the overall leaderboard where you also see everyone else who is currently in the class, or if it’s on demand, anyone who has taken it before. You can modify this leaderboard to only see those riders you want and or to ride against yourself.
Today, I notice that I am beating my old output, so I immediately shift the leaderboard to just show myself. I am fairly competitive and the minute I see that I am in the lead-something happens to me. When I tell you, I am not an athlete, I am not being modest. Sports were never my things growing up but that is because sadly I was behind the field house drinking while everyone else was training. I just never applied myself back then. But on this bike, I am transformed into an Olympic level competitor and right now I have myself in my sights. I push harder, faster, my heart pounding, sweat cascading off of me as I begin to race past my competition, and I am kicking that bitch’s ass. And yes, I am 100% that bitch.
The class ends and I am exhausted but elated with my new PR (Personal Record). I give my buddy a virtual high five on the leaderboard and text them a heartfelt thank you.
I slide off the bike amazed as I recall my mood just an hour ago. I did not want to get up, I did not want to work out. Shit, I rarely want to work out. It has become such a part of my morning routine that I just do it. And the reason is this feeling I am enjoying right now. Grounded. Proud. Cleansed and rinsed of any anxiety, frustration, concerns etc. I feel light and happy.
The degree to which I may be an asshole to the people around me on any given day is in direct proportion to this routine happening.
For me, my morning workout routine is one of my primary self-care tools-it is my morning medicine. Like all medication, it only works when taken as prescribed. I wake up every day, and I refill my prescription. It does for me and my personality, what nothing else can. It level sets me. It allows me to move through the day as the version of myself I need and want to be.