One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.
One of the things I consider my Higher Power is my heart rate monitor. I use the Polar RS300X to monitor my workouts, but there are MANY heart rate monitors and straps that will work with exercise equipment at the gym and cost less than this one did.
I keep my workouts in the 80%-90% range throughout the entire workout, except for a two-minute warmup and cool down. No matter what it says on the screen of my treadmill, I speed up when my heart rate falls lower than the 80% range and slow down when it goes higher. Here is a chart for Intense Heart Rate Zones:
It’s amazing how difficult it is to follow this simple rule. When I’m running and I’m out of breath and I want to slow down, it’s HARD to keep going until my heart rate gets up to that upper limit. When things are feeling good and I only have fifteen seconds to go to log another fast minute, it’s HARD to slow down when my heart rate has gotten to that upper limit.
They always talk about “listening to my body,” but my body is a LIAR. It tells me I’m hungry when I’m not. It tells me I’m too tired to go on when I can run more. It tells me I’m just fine to run a little more when my heart is clearly beating out of my chest. LIAR!!!
That’s WHY I kept injuring myself when I was running before. Instead of running when my heart rate said I should, I was running too much. Honestly, running feels GOOD sometimes. So good that I disregard any stress I might be putting on my feet. I talked about this issue before here:
Back then, I said:
Even a long walk will make my feet ache like they never did before. My bulky and large feet, who have been my good friends all these years, have become fragile and temperamental. I have no idea how to strengthen them to be able to take the pounding that they did before.
Right after that, I started running again, using my heart rate monitor as my Higher Power and my feet have been happy and willing participants.
It may sound strange to believe in a fitness gadget as one’s Higher Power, but my internal monitoring of my body is broken. I can’t tell when I’m tired or just lazy, but my heart rate monitor definitely can. Someday, I may be able to run without heart rate monitor, but until then, I’ll humbly place all my exercise decisions on my Higher Power.