The subtitle of this should be “A Creature of Habit”, but the outcome of being so grounded in habits had me feeling like a hot mess last week. I’ve always done better with structure and plans in place. In fact, I was the kid who was excited to go back to school because it meant getting back on a normal schedule.
I’m still the same way. Vacation is great and I love to travel, but after about a week, I’m craving my usual habits and routines. Bodybuilding fits this compulsion pretty well – our lives are so structured. Day to day and weekly our schedules are pretty set and we tend not to stray too far from it.
Last week I swapped fitness classes to help a friend out and I felt so thrown off – to the point that I texted Kyle saying I felt like a hot mess. While it was still a 6am class, it was at a gym further from my house, so I had to pack everything for the day and get ready for work right after class. I was exhausted the night before and fell asleep on the couch, leaving a lot of stuff to get packed in the morning (this is why you should always be ready the night before!). Mentally, I was thrown off my game before the day even started.
I got to the gym later than hoped, cutting down the time I had to do cardio prior to class starting. The studio and change rooms are on the lower level and the cardio equipment is upstairs. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving all my stuff unattended in the studio, which is what I do for my own class because cardio is right beside the studio. After leaving my teaching stuff in the studio and locking everything else in my locker, I realized I needed some things I left in the studio, further delaying my cardio as I ran up and down the stairs. I pushed the cardio hard to burn what I could in my shorter time frame, then rushed to the studio to start… to find I had put my clean, dry shirt in my locker. I gave up and just taught in my sweat-soaked clothes. Not a big deal, really, but the feeling rushed and disorganized all morning is an unsettling feeling for someone so Type A.
While I was not the hot mess of my old drinking and partying days, this is my new form of being a hot mess. Feeling behind the ball, rushed, and confused to start the day… while dripping in sweat? I’d say it still counts as being a hot mess.
Habits and superstitions are second-nature for athletes. As a competitive skater, our team had a lot of superstitions / unspoken rules we all followed. During a competition, if we had good practices or a good first skate, we made sure to sit beside the same people in the change room for the next skate. We all had our own routine for getting dressed and tying our skates, who taped our skate laces, who fastened us into our dresses, and even what songs we listened to before skating.
I would like to say I’ve grown out of these things, but more and more I notice that I still lean towards the same habits. I always use the same locker at the gym, the same bathroom stall, the same sink to fill my water bottle. I always strap my right hand onto the weights before my left, shake my legs out before each set of squats, and even have my preferred cardio machines (this is far less controlled and I’ve learned to let it go).
These habits are born from following routines day in, day out. It’s shocking how much a change to them can throw you off mentally. Is this a big deal? Not really, it’s just one more idiosyncrasy of mine, and likely of many competitors. Just from watching, I know Kyle follows a lot of the same routines each day. In fact, we’ve even molded the dogs into following a very set routine each day, which makes things so much easier for everyone in the morning.
And now, after being on the road for the long weekend, we’ve got to get back into our pattern and figure out what day of the week it is… Happy short week everyone!