Myers-Briggs likes to put us all in two neat buckets, Introvert and Extrovert. Which, don’t get me wrong, can be a super helpful way to evaluate how you best like to interact with the world.
However, many of us fall somewhere in between. Much like Miley Cyrus in “Party in the USA.”
As an Extroverted Introvert, I know that’s where I fall. Right smack dab in the middle. Noddin’ my head tentatively like “yeah.”
My career coaching/bleeding heart/ hostess with the mostest/ “Heal the world, make it a better place” side gets energy from being around people. But I also really strongly identify with the doll my daughter put in a dollhouse room all by herself lying down with a piece of pie.
So when given the opportunity to interact with people doing things that are outside of my comfort zone, there is always a part of me that wants to come in like a wrecking ball, and another part that feels like hopping on a flight, back to my hometown tonight, and putting on my sweatpants.
It’s from this place in the middle that I said a mildly enthusiastic “yeah” when asked to come along for a work outing to Orangetheory.
An Orange Whosie Whatsie?
A quick explanation of Orangetheory.
It’s an exercise class that involves treadmills, rowing machines, free weights, and a heart rate monitor. An instructor calls out what you’re supposed to do on the cardio – “base pace” like you’re working out normal, “push pace” like you’re trying to impress someone, “all out” like a pack of coyotes is chasing you. And on the free weights you do exercises that test
your will to live strength and endurance.
You also fill out a form before you start that asks you how serious you are about achieving your fitness goals, on a scale from 1 – 10. In my mind, a 10 was that lady who runs around my neighborhood in ice storms wearing a reflective vest and a headlamp. So I put a 5.
I’ve never done anything like Orangetheory. My normal workout routine is “get on the elliptical for 30 minutes while the kids are sleeping and watch reruns of Cheers.” The end. I enjoy the solitude and routine of hanging out in my basement not talking to anyone and barely sweating. But I didn’t want to be left out either.
Gah, the middle of that darn Venn diagram…
Ain’t About How Fast I Get There (Fortunately)
After going back and forth on this A LOT, eventually, I pulled out my most colleague appropriate spandex (??), strapped on the heart rate monitor, and joined the others.
Here’s what I learned.
- I’m in better shape than I thought. I could run/row/lift decent speeds and amounts.
- I’m in worse shape than I thought. There is a big screen that shows you your heart rate and it’s color-coded into zones. You’re supposed to spend your workout largely in the green “you’re working out” and the orange “you’re trying hard” heart rate zones. My heart rate was in the red “oh, honey, you’re like dying a little” zone more than it should have been.
- I like working out with other people. It’s motivating.
- I really do enjoy watching Cheers alone on the elliptical in my basement.
The Real Heart-Rate Kicker
But perhaps my biggest takeaway was that it’s a really good idea to say “YES.”
For as much as I hemmed and hawed about participating in this class, and made up about a million excuses ranging from the valid “my kids are just getting over being sick” to the really ridiculous “Mercury is probably in retrograde and that’s not good for my ankles,” it really was a great workout, I had fun 90% of the time, and I’m glad that I followed through.
It’s totally fine to stick to your routine and enjoy the pleasure of your own company. Totally fine. For me, I need that predictable alone time to recharge.
But embracing the extroverted “we can’t stop, we won’t stop” Miley version of yourself opens the doors to the world a little wider and makes sure you will have something to blog about other than fan fiction about Sam and Diane’s lives before Cheers.
Actually, that sounds like a fun idea, don’t steal that. (copyright).
Twerking Into the New Year
I know I’ll be heading into the new year with a drawer full of sweatpants for days/nights that I will spend tucked away hibernating in my house, AND a drawer full of slightly nicer sweatpants that I’ll wear while interacting with other people and experiencing new things.
Will I always be psyched about getting off the couch at first? Nah.
But, I don’t think I’d be psyched about always living the hermit life either.
So in the year ahead I’ll try to come up with fewer excuses for not doing things, and keep noddin’ my head like “yeah.”