Sometimes the hardest workouts are the ones where we don’t sweat that much. Our brains might be the parts that hurt the most. We have to be patient with those workouts.
Which workouts are those? The ones where we work on our form or our flexibility or our mobility within a painless range of motion. The ones where we gradually retrain our bodies after injury. The ones where we attempt to learn new patterns of motion to keep us healthy in the long term.
It can be frustrating and humbling and annoying and boring when we have to use a very small weight or a minimal range of motion. This is where the two marshmallows come in.
Someone did a study with small children. The kids were offered one marshmallow now, which was sitting right there in front of them, or two marshmallows if they could wait five minutes. The kids who made it to the two marshmallows turned out to be healthier than the one marshmallow kids because they knew how to delay gratification for a bigger payoff. (I know what you’re thinking: I would work out for marshmallows. That was not the point. Although on the scale of indulgences, two marshmallows are not huge and if it makes you do it, knock yourself out.)
We motivate ourselves with (figurative) marshmallows. I personally want to keep my own knees and hips my entire life, which is way better than marshmallows. I want to be able to ski with my kids and grandkids, if I ever have any, which I hope I do, but not too soon. Maybe your marshmallows are a little black dress, or the cute server flirting with you at coffee, or conquering that big barbell. Let’s get through the stuff we need to do to get there.