Exercise. It’s one of those subjects that when the topic comes up, people delicately shudder and walk off as if you’ve mentioned the plaque or some other horrible ill.
There are jokes made about pain and sweat and how hard it is.
There are comments about how “they should start to do something” or their “doctor told them to” or “my friend is trying to get me to go with them” and many other similar thoughts.
We can be challenged, made to feel guilty, or completely ignore the idea.
For some, just the mere thought of having to move their bodies in purposeful exercise makes them sweat.
Honestly, I was in a similar boat a few years ago.
Then one day, like many people are, I was at a doctor appointment for my yearly check up. When he asked me what I did for exercise I told him I “used” to go for little walks but hadn’t done it in a long time. He encouraged me to do something, to at least get back into walking and to try and drop a few pounds.
I literally left his office that day, went home, took my first walk and pretty much never stopped after that.
It wasn’t all fun and games.
I didn’t skip out and dive into my walks happy. No. I grumbled over it. I lamented being fat and “having” to exercise. ( gosh have I learned a lot since then) I hated being hot and I would’ve preferred staying in and doing something else.
I wanted to come up with reasons not to do it, but I’m kinda stubborn and when I get into something I get determined to make it work.
Yet somehow in all of the talk about the “how’s” and “why’s” for exercise, there’s a whole lotta things that never get mentioned.
Exercise IS hard.
In the beginning it feels like… death. You wonder why on earth you signed up for this fresh hell and how is it really gonna benefit you? Where are the results already?
Seriously, I’d dutifully go for my 2 mile walk and want, ya know, instant results, for my efforts.
Honestly though, I always did feel mentally better after I did it, so there’s that.
Exercise reminds you that you are really outta shape.
Admit it. Who hasn’t gone up a flight of stairs, tried to run for a short distance, or even gone for a brisk walk without breathing like a freight train and feeling like your heart is gonna come out of your chest.
Yet I never got the memo that those were some of the awesome side effects I could encounter when I decided to pursue exercising.
I hated that feeling ’cause it did tell me I needed to work on what was inside of me as well as what was on the outside.
Let’s not forget the other awesome side effects of looking like a red ripened tomato ’cause your blood is wildly rushing and you have sweaty hair plastered to your face.
You ache and feel muscles you never knew you had.
No wonder people run away from exercise.
Don’t do what you hate.
If I had a chocolate bar for the times I’ve had people come to me asking about exercise activities to do but they start with… “Ok, well like, I reallllyyy hate running. I mean, I know YOU like it and all but for me…well..no.”
I simply tell them, well then, don’t run.
Hey I never imagined I’d turn into a runner. That stuff is hard. But somehow, in some weird way, I started doing it and before I knew it… I was running.
I won’t lie. There’s a pleasure and pain pay off to it, but it’s always fiercely rewarding so I’m kinda loathe to give it up 😉
Find something you can enjoy and look forward to and then become the biggest expert at it you can. It’s that simple and it’s the best way to stick with it.
It eventually WILL pay off.
It will. Trust me. It won’t pay off after 9 days or maybe even a month, but it will. But long before you may see physical changes, you will mentally feel better. Going for purposeful exercise can clear your head, help you problem solve, and make you feel better overall. It’s a great day to unwind from your day or start it. I prefer and have turned into a morning workout girl for a variety of reasons.
Mornings are when people typically want/need almost nothing from me so I can take that time. I also feel like it starts my day in an energetic positive way… even if I may still be rubbing sleep out of my eyes why the sun comes up behind me. I am also smart enough to know it is easier to have excuses later in the evening than morning so I just make it my first priority.
No matter what time you choose know you are making an investment in yourself and it will have pay offs.
You’ll actually start to look forward to it.
Really, you will. Once you’ve built it into a new habit it will become easier to incorporate it in your day and you’ll come to actually crave that time, even when you know it will be hard and it will be work.
You won’t mind that because you will come to understand that it makes you feel good and that’s a pretty nice side effect to hard work.
I honestly schedule appointments and other activities around making sure I have time for my training and some moments to get cleaned up and human looking after I’m done . This is as important as anything else in my day and I make no apologies for putting it on my agenda.
You shouldn’t either.
Some things won’t feel so hard.
Really. In the beginning when you are gasping for air like a fish out of water and your heart is pounding you may think you’ll never adapt.
Your body will begin to do all the miraculous things it can and make adaptations so the work “feels” easier but the reality is you are getting stronger. You’ll be able to walk or run longer, lift more and as you make progress you can ( and should) keep pushing on for more that feels hard again.
Years ago when I started doing a little lifting I had these cute 5 lb weights.
Yes, for real. ( I’d never let anyone get away with that now 😉 )
Anyway, I decided I’d make a big move up to 8 lbs. at the time, I felt it a little more. When that started feeling like nothing after a million times, I made a huge move to 15 lbs. ( go big or go home right?? haha)
I won’t lie. That was work. I could barely do 6-8 reps without deciding it was enough. ( girl arms)
I worked those weights a lot. I did what I could do and when I felt like I could add “just one more rep” before my arm fell off, I did it.
Obviously, I camped there for awhile gradually building in sets of high reps that kept me feeling it.
A while back, I realized the 15lb weights felt like the previous ones, like easy, no effort.
I got the small barbell, tossed on about 25 lbs and oh yeah, I’m feeling it again.
Seriously, the first time I could barely squeak out 3-5 reps before it was fail ( meaning I couldn’t curl it one more time)
I just worked that in each time… I’d push for one more rep…
Now, I’m kinda proud to say I can do 3 sets of 8 before my arms are yelling at me. Even though I use heavier weight for other moves, the 25 is for single arm work and my arms are definitely earning their muscles haha
I’m serious… keep at what you do… no matter how small it seems… and build on it. You’ll get stronger and the work in some ways, can feel easier.
It can really build your confidence
So you’re thinking, “well, I am a confident person without working out”. Yeah, I was too. But when you start exercising and putting your body through vigorous work, it changes and you get stronger and you’re doing things other people tease and make jokes about, it will build your confidence even more.
When you set goals, sometimes bigger than you foresee being able to do, go through training, sacrifice, sweat, tears, exhaustion and a whole list of fun things, you’ll get it.
Train for and run a marathon, it will give you the confidence you can do anything. Trust me.
You’ll meet amazing people doing what you do.
So, I’m a little bit.. social.
I’m mentally seeing my hubby reading this choking, reading that last line to which he would snort and say… “A little?!?”
Ok well maybe, quite a bit.
Turning into an athlete certainly has brought me into different circles, and in those circles, meeting some amazing and talented people.
A few years back when I was selected to be in Runners World, “Runners Body” edition, https://sassyfitnesschick.com/runners-world-body-edition-feature/ I was privileged to share the pages with some amazing athletes scattered all across the U.S. These were people I would’ve never encountered otherwise. After the magazine hit the market (Dec 2012) thanks to the world of social media many of us connected. Many of us to this day, are connected and cheering on each others accomplishments.
Locally, I love knowing people who perform in similar sports as I do and having that common ground to discuss our fields of interest ( this often saves the sanity of our loved ones who may or may not be weary of hearing of our times, our negative running splits, or what technique is best for releasing worked muscle groups 😛 )
Knowing these people remind me I can always strive for more, to get more from myself, and to keep setting bigger goals.
My Ironman friends… well… are you even human???
Maybe… someday… who knows.
All that to say, you can meet some interesting people when you get out there. And if you’re semi- social like I am… well it goes together like peanut butter and jelly 😉
Energetic. You’ll get more energy.
I will admit. That was a hard sell in the beginning. How… how… could I get more energy when I could barely drag my carcass off the sofa to go do something ?
This didn’t happen over night. However, the more I did, the more energy I seemed to get. It’s like exercise became the breeding ground for more energy.
Weird, I know, but it happens.
Just start, it will come.
That whole healthy thing.
Ok, I knew intellectually, before I started working out, that it had some health benefits. However, I had no experience with it. This takes a little time but when you start eating better and exercising, it has positive results on your body, inside and out.
My doctor tells me each year at my annual check up my labs are boring and normal, which I think is a good thing.
My good cholesterol level is off the charts past “normal” to which he tells me is generated from all the exercise I do.
There’s a win.
My resting heart rate is usually dancing around in the 40-50 bpm range, thanks cardio and a whole lot of endurance training.
The things I do in my daily life are easy and I have strength to do things on my own and not need “help”.
Let’s not forget how exercise also constantly is generating new cells and growth which many believe is the best anti-aging medicine.
Find some posts below I’ve written on this topic….
Have I sold you yet?
I hope, I’ve presented some valid ideas for making you want to build your own exercise plan.
I’ve written this article in a somewhat playful way to share with you things I never really knew or understood about exercise.
It IS important. It’s not just for weight loss but is good for our bodies. We’ve been made for movement. Find a post on that idea below…..
https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/28/no-exercise-required/ and it’s valuable for our total health and well being, inside and out.
Do yourself a favor and start. Start small, start somewhere but get going. You can thank me later 😉
Your turn…. how do you view exercise? Or how have you viewed it? Do you appreciate the benefits of it ?
5 thoughts on “Things No One Told Me About Exercise”
I love it. Parts of it. For years, I loved running, but then I let myself stop to the point where when I try now, I don’t even like it. But I do look forward to lifting weights every day. If I have to miss for some reason, it makes me grumpy. You’re right–it builds confidence, energy, health… and better looking people. I may be ugly, but I’m a fit ugly. 🙂
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Bahahaha *fit ugly* I need to remember that! And yeah I get grumpy too if I miss working out, glad there’s a club for that 😛
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I cannot imagine a world where you are not crazy active! So crazy to think of you overweight and in that doctor’s office, especially now, the athlete that you are. Keep inspiring lady! x
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I look back then too and it’s a different woman for sure 🙂 so glad of his challenge and encouragement. Now he tells me he teases me about all I do 😛 and thank you my friend 🙂
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I do appreciate the benefits of exercise, but I know I do too little at the moment. Thanks for sharing about how god it is to grab hold of it and make all those wonderful benefits start happening!