Life Is Interval Training

I stepped onto my elliptical this week after a two-week break and chose the Interval program instead of the usual Fat Burning one. Interval training in running or other exercise is a brief period of high-intensity exertion, followed by periods of lower-intensity activity.

The interval setting on my elliptical

I worked hard to get back to those higher levels, but relished the lower levels when they came. Then, it went up, again, and I zoned out at the screen and saw the intervals of experiences from the last year stare back at me in place of those little round lights.  Health and wellness, productive work and relaxation, times of plenty and times without, alone or socially engaged, spiritually filled or drawing from my reserves.

The ironic part of this picture was that I wasn’t sure which were the intense periods of exertion and which were the lower intensity ones. I’ve always seen the high-pressure times of life as the high-intensity time and the opposite lower-intensity period as a break. With my go-getter approach to life, I’ve viewed the high-intensity productive experiences as positive, and consequently, I’ve spent much  time in the less desirable experiences figuring out how to get back to the other.

The cardiovascular benefit of interval training comes from the shift from high to low and back again. The interval training of life—high intensity experiences and low-intensity ones—both work together to build my character.

Years ago, these words influenced my own life plan:

You cannot eat all of the pastries in the bakery at once. You will get a tummyache. You cannot be a 100-percent wife, a 100-percent mother, a 100-percent Church worker, a 100-percent career person, and a 100-percent public-service person at the same time. How can all of these roles be coordinated? I suggest that you can have it sequentially.  Sequentially means to do things one at a time at different times.

My current transition into my next sequence has me resting from giving my 100-percents to one particular role; yet, life’s intervals continue to train me.


  1. Donnetta
    Feb 5, 2009

    What a great word picture this is of the cycle of the training of life. I am also reminded more and more that more than just high intensity builds and forms my character. All of life is a training ground, if I just let it be and learn from it.

  2. Michelle L.
    Feb 5, 2009

    I love this– thank you!

  3. Minna Dyer
    Feb 5, 2009

    That is such a great quote. I need that on my bathroom mirror.

  4. Rachel
    Feb 6, 2009

    Interesting way to look at things- did you come up with that while you were working out? You’re amazing!

  5. TJ
    Feb 6, 2009

    Rachel, I had left my MP3 player upstairs and I had to think of something!

  6. An Ordinary Mom
    Feb 6, 2009

    I have NEVER heard this quote before, yet this is something I have always felt strongly about. Now it resonates with me even more. It helps me feel less guilty about not giving 100% to everything all at once. I have never been able to do that, but now I know for certain that is NOT the way God intended for us to be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    And I am on the elliptical trainer at least 5 times a week. I shall be thinking of you and your analogy next time I am on there 🙂 !!

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