Finishing the last of a set of 10 hill sprints, I reached the crest of the hill and threw my arms in the air, relieved beyond words that this terrible ordeal was over.
I had eaten like a pig that week. End of school potlucks. A neighborhood cookout. And hey, a sale on Equal Exchange chocolate at Whole Foods.
So now I was at the bottom of Stirling Drive, near the river access, punishing my tubby body with heroic exertion.
I was forging a sloppy, overeating, undisciplined Howie into a mean, lean exercising machine. That would show me!
Sure, it was a monster workout. But here's the kicker: How soon would I want to repeat it?
It sucked. It wasn't fun. It wasn't uplifting.
And while, sure, it got the blood flowing and all the other good things that exercise does, the mindset overlay of "atonement" pretty much ensured that I never wanted to do it again.
And so it was months before I pushed myself into another hard workout.
The problem wasn't the workout itself. It was the mental wrapper.
That's why "Exercise as Atonement" is the second of the 3 High Hurdles to Weight Loss and Health.
You can watch that segment from minutes 16-25, roughly.