When I'm working with my athletes, I call this gearing. If your bike had eleven gears but only two of them worked properly, you'd only use those two, right? A lot of people have this issue, sticking to the gear they're most comfortable with instead of switching it up. They can maintain moderate power output for an entire 5k, but try to get them to go at maximum speed for a few one-minute intervals and they blow up. Or maybe they're fine with short, very hard efforts, but extend the work period a little at a slightly lower intensity and they fall apart. We can all improve our gearing, and in this fast-paced, HIIT-dominated exercise climate, for many of us that means being able to slow down. Get just as comfortable moving slowly, smoothly, and rhythmically as you are going a hundred miles an hour. If you lift weights, break your technique back down to the basics with very little on the bar or even using a PVC pipe, and see where you can improve. Recognizing that each person brings something different to the proverbial table of life helps us see the value of each person. An individual's lived experience is rich and more complicated than can ever be explained by our ideas about them. We must locate ourselves in systems of oppression, grapple with the ways in which we are privileged, and use our agency to advocate for social change. We have to build our social analyses and implement collective practices so that we can create a culture of belonging in which every body is welcome, everywhere. We need to develop more robust skills and practices in being together and creating refuge for each other. This is how we teach each other how to see each other for who we really are and how we create space for all bodies to matter and for each of us to belong--in our skin, and to each other. The pain that comes from exclusion is social, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and acutely physical. We should strive, as individuals and as a community, not to inflict this kind of lasting damage on each other. When we do experience this kind of pain, we should attend to it and feel it, because truly making contact with it and feeling it, ourselves, can motivate us to stop harming each other and instead take care of each other and ourselves. We need to see our social anxieties and the symptoms of disconnect not as psychological problems or flawed, weak, bad parts of ourselves, but as opportunities. People want honesty; They want trust.

While I have only used heterosexual female voices, my hope is that others will find pearls in the humanness of this difficult experience. Everyone's story is unique and you may not see your exact circumstances but my hope is that you will nonetheless feel both validation and a sense of hope from which you can garner a life that will move you forward. As you read through Deceived, I encourage you to take a pen, pencil, or better yet, a marker and highlight that which speaks to you. It doesn't have to describe an exact experience but rather something about it that resonates with you. It may describe you, validate you, it may be a message you want to hang onto. It is quite likely you will have a very marked up article by the conclusion, and it is a good way to use the article as a reminder of what you need to hear again after you have completed the first read. Also, because this article is so personal and therefore can be emotional, having underlined or marked areas that are more specific to you makes it easier to access the content you want to maintain. Writing can be a wonderful form of self-therapy, and I encourage you to journal throughout the time you are reading this article and journal in response to the questions posed at the end of each article. If you can't move well with no weight while going slow, you're going to move very poorly while trying to throw around a lot of weight quickly. And whatever you do, make sure you add some more skill work before and after sessions. From an attitude perspective, recognize that the approach that is making you sweat is also stressing you out more and that you can have a valuable experience without dripping all over the place. If your aim is to always feel exhausted at the end of every session, what you're doing is unsustainable and won't enable you to reach your goals. Instead, you should want to improve some specific aspect of your practice--whether that's power application, endurance, or skill execution--each time you exercise. Achieving More by Doing Less For the past decade, I've worked with an athlete who has tried to cram running marathons into her extremely hectic schedule. In addition to being a wife and mother of two children, she runs her own hairstyling business and teaches spinning classes three times a week. When we first started working together, she told me that her goal was to run a 3:30 marathon. I looked at her training logs and was horrified to see just how many miles of pavement pounding she was totaling each week. Only by recognizing that we fear rejection can we see how essential it is to our well-being that we connect, which can be exactly the thing that propels us toward each other. We all have fears around social connection.

That's called being human. We'd do better to bond and support each other around those fragilities and with our common desires to be liked and appreciated. Fear of rejection and exclusion can be the thing that motivates us to be kinder to each other so we can live together. Instead of trying of make the woundedness go away, let's create a safe place to be ourselves, to trust each other and come together in our woundedness. I want us to belong to each other. The fragility that each of us carries around connection is one of the things that makes us beautiful. That is what happened for me in a kayak on a Mexican river with a Mayan man curious enough to ask who I really am--and willing to believe me when I told him. His openness to truly seeing me helped me see myself. As you read and journal, remember to keep breathing. Stop periodically and reorient. Take some deep breaths. Look around your environment. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What are you touching? Do you need to take a break? What would be a healthy way to support or nurture yourself? I soon made her realize that she had a naturally powerful engine and that those spinning classes were keeping her aerobic capacity topped up. Instead of trying to add yet more volume to her already maxed-out calendar (and body, for that matter), I cut her back to skill drills and three high-intensity Tabata sessions each week--that's eight sets of twenty seconds' hard effort followed by twenty seconds of active rest.

Using this stripped-down program, she was able to reach her time goal and had more space in her life for her business, her family and, heaven forbid, a little relaxation. So when I got a call from her a few months ago to say she was suffering from Achilles tendinitis--a condition she'd never had before--I knew something was amiss. She came in to see me and I asked her to be honest about her training load. Was she sticking to the program that we'd outlined together, which had worked well for so long? Her tendency to do more in every area of her life had spilled over into her running, and she'd gone back to her old high-mileage ways. As a result, she not only was unable to compete in more marathons but couldn't run at all because of those aching Achilles tendons. Now in this case, it was her personality that drove her back into an unhealthy pattern. But it's not a stretch to say that wearables and their focus on always doing a little more than yesterday can exacerbate users' excessive tendencies and feelings that they're not pushing themselves as hard as they can. This day-long conversation, this new name, this recognition of me for who I am, arose from curiosity. It came from a willingness to be vulnerable and admit confusion and ask questions. It came from a willingness to revise assumptions and biases to accommodate the lived reality--and body! It came from cultural humility, the recognition that we don't know what contexts and traditions have shaped us. It came from trust; And it came from a recognition that we can be different and still know one another and offer welcome. I think if he and I were more similar, our conversations might have been more constrained and we wouldn't have learned so much from and about each other--or ourselves. Our difference allowed us to find a place where we could humble ourselves and invite each other in. When I returned home from that trip, I extended the invitation to myself. I invited myself, once again, to be more of myself. In reading Deceived it is my hope that you will better understand what is happening in your life, and find a path that offers you clarity, direction, and voice. I am honored to be a part of your journey.

I remain humbled at the courage, bravery, strength, and resiliency of both female and male partners, and I continue to be in awe of the spirit of those who feel so fragile, so vulnerable, yet are so strong. As I have said many times, I cannot promise you your relationship, but I can promise you your integrity and self-respect in your personal recovery. It's not an easy journey but it is one of profound transformation. Acknowledgments My heart is full when I think of all the people whose lives came together in a manner that influenced my writing this article. The first edition of Deceived was inspired by the many women who were part of my work with Patrick Carnes, Ralph Earle, and Diane Dillon. I was invited to lead my first group with female partners of sex addicts and that experience became a professional and personal gift for which I will always be grateful. To Diane Dillon, my co-therapist of many years in working with these women, thank you. We need to recognize that we can achieve more by doing less with more intent, purpose, and quality. Until then, we're going to continue seeing an increase in overuse injuries and the psychological issues that drive (and result from) doing too much, with our digital taskmasters pushing us ever onward. What Are You Running From? Are you punishing yourself or trying to escape a personality/psychological issue with hard workouts that you go through semiconsciously? Sometimes we can use exercise to numb ourselves from pain, sorrow, or loss, which, from the perspective of intent, is little different than drowning our sorrows in drugs or alcohol. I've known too many athletes who use running, lifting, or sports not to positively channel their emotions but to stop feeling altogether. Using exercise to escape from problems in your past, present troubles, or fears for the future doesn't eliminate the issues. It merely pushes them down deeper, meaning that when the emotional volcano erupts, it's going to do so with even greater force. We often employ our gadgets to further desensitization and dissociation. Not only do we go through the motions of the activity, but then we spend hours obsessing over the minutiae of our performance. I tried out the new name, Lindo, in my own mouth. Slowly, across the months and years, I tried it out with my partner, friends, and trusted colleagues.