Push Yourself Not to Change Your Body, But How You Feel Inside

Without question, I get the most emotional while in the gym. It’s something about the endorphins pumping through my veins, the powerful music in my ears, and the overcoming of physical limitations which fires me up inside.

My favorite time to exercise is early in the morning. I try to beat the sun to rise. Life feels profound at dawn.

All of life’s potential — the beauty and the fire and the light — rises with the sun each morning. It takes a sort of irrational equanimity to see that.

Irrational — so that we may tap into that heavenly force and believe that we, too, are as boundless as the morning.

Equanimity — to bring us back to earth. Use the sun’s rising to be the best that you can be.

When in the gym, I usually start by running on the treadmill to get the engine going. A song that I often return to is The Nights, by Avicii. I wrote about why this song is so powerful in this piece.

The lyrics go:

“One day my father
He told me
‘Son don’t like this slip away,’
He took me in his arms I heard
Him say:
‘When you get older, your wild
Heart will live for younger days,
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.’
He said,
‘One day, you’ll leave
This world behind,
So live a life you will remember,’
My father told me when I was just a child
‘These are the nights
That never die.’”

I don’t know if there’s a song that inspires me more. Last week as I listened to this song on the treadmill, I thought about the conversation I had with my dad the day before.

I’m living in Japan. He’s back home.

I know we kind of just brush over life on these calls; he said on the phone, and you might not bring up something you’re struggling with. But just know I’m always here for you.

I thought about that while running. I increased my speed, ran harder, and gazed out of the window into the darkness, the day awakening.

The emotions hit me. I just want to make him proud.

I know no matter what, I will. I am.

It’s difficult for me to fathom how fortunate I am. That’s why I strive to give everything I have to this life.

Getty misty eyed in the gym isn’t an abnormal experience for me. I’ve had breakthroughs, breakdowns, and more inspiring moments than I can think of in those moments when I’m pushing myself.

Pushing — whether through weight training or just running — helps me process information differently, from a unique place that’s both lighter and heavier.

Lighter, as it literally feels as if I can sprint away, or courageously towards, my problems.

But also heavier, as the fire moves through me, the music in my ears becomes everything, and life overwhelms me all at once. Yet in there I can handle it. I can face it. I can get make it through with strength.

If you’re lacking motivation, passion, love — get in the gym.

Get on the beach or on a field at night, and fucking run. See how far you can go. How hard you can push. How much you can take.

Do whatever you can do; start small. But start.

It doesn’t mean shit how you look. Push yourself to change how you feel inside, and everything else will follow.

You’ll find that fire, the love, the strength to make it through whatever it is you’re dealing with, again.

A hard run may be just what you need to release the tears which have long been suppressed. It feels so good to let them fall.

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