In: Confidence, Creating, Hard Stuff,
Hear ye, hear ye, let it be known that I, Ash Ambirge, am officially in love with the SWEAT app. (If you also spend too much time at the computer like a hunchback homie, listen up!)
For the longest time I was like: how in the HOPPING JALAPEÑO does someone exercise with an app? I pictured myself watching this tiny, horrible video on my phone, from across the room, hating life, and wanting to punch some peppy person who said things like, “trust that the universe will provide you with the body you desire.” Ommmmm, NO.
And then I tried it. Because what can I say? I’m a sucker for modern hot pink branding, even though I freaking hate hot pink. (Some things in life cannot be explained.)
Oh. Em. G-UNIT.
THIS APP IS EVERYTHING.
Like, what? This is the best app that’s ever been invented. Instead of miniature videos, like I so grimly imagined, you get assigned one exercise at a time, say 15 squats, depending on your fitness level, and there’s music and a gorgeous countdown timer, and when the countdown timer sounds, you move onto the next circuit. But there’s no big rush. You do it at your own pace. You can do it from anywhere. There are no weights. And it’s a real chick, just like you and I, who started sharing her work on Instagram and now is a BFD. Big fucking deal.
More than that, though? Her and her killer team of chicas stress the importance of being strong over skinny—and that the scale is a big, fat lie. (No pun intended?) This post, for example, is crazzzzzzy and shows the difference between 122 pounds and 140 pounds, and how 140 pounds looks way more BOMB ASS.
Which reminded me about my own muscle.
I’ve always been muscular. My legs look like a soccer player’s, when I’m doing it right, but for far too long, I was more worried about the number on the scale than I was playing to my strengths. (Somebody lobotomize the puns out of my brain.) I will never be a skinny girl, but I can be a fit girl. I can be someone who is strong. My body can be as unfuckwithable as my brain. And I’d forgotten that.
So I began using THE APP, and get this. There’s this one exercise called Commando, where you lay down and get into plank formation, holding yourself up on your forearms—which is hard enough—and then, from there, you have to pop yourself up into a push up, and then back down, and then back up, one arm at a time. You can see what I mean here (it’s the last exercise).
I could not do this exercise to save my LIFE.
Not even one.
Apparently, all these years of typing, and I’d lost all of my upper body strength. Even though I work out regularly, it’s always hiking and running and biking and things that strengthen my lower body. My upper body was WEAAAAAAAAAK.
It was embarrassing, frankly. So instead, I’d just hold the plank, and hold the plank, and hold the plank (and collapse). Week after week, I’d hold the plank. And then one day, I went to show someone this move, and I got down on my kitchen floor, and I was about to make a point about how hard it was, when…
…all of the sudden, I popped myself up with my right arm, and then my left, and then down again.
Up I went once more, right arm, then left, and then back down again. I was so shocked, I kept doing it. Three reps, four reps, five, and then six. I couldn’t believe it. I jumped up and yelled: “I did it, I did it, I did it!!!!”
And it was almost effortless.
I was blown away. So now I've become even more curious about what other difficult things I can do with a little patience. I've been using the app even more, because I can feel my progress—even though I haven't looked at the scale once. The new focus on strength, instead of weight, has been fundamental in changing the way I show up to do the work.
And it occurred to me, of course, that this is happening to all of us, every single day. Every time you work with a client, you are gaining strength. Every time you charge what you’re worth, you are gaining strength. Every time you write an idea down, draft a newsletter, craft a compelling story, set boundaries, put yourself out there, try again, try something new, do it your way, you are gaining strength. And while money, in this case, is a useful metric, maybe taking the focus off of it for a while is equally useful. Maybe it’s worth looking at things through a new lens. Maybe it’s worth measuring your success also in terms of how much strength you gain as a business person, instead of just how much money you earn.
Because I gotta say?
Not everything in life is always so green and white.
Sometimes, you are becoming better, little by little, simply by showing up again.