Let’s chat briefly about getting on an exercise program. I know with the start of a new year it is often the marker for many to either start one or if they’ve been side tracked, get back on it again.
Regardless of what camp you are in, it’s not easy to get into that disciplined routine.
We have good intentions but often those can be pushed aside because we’re tired, feel we don’t have the time, or we simply lack the initial drive to prepare ourselves to go.
Short and Sweet
When we think of getting into our chosen exercise, there is often the idea that it has to be all or nothing or an hour long session to count. This simply isn’t true. In fact, if you haven’t worked out in awhile you should aim for shorter workouts to let your body ease back into it, mentally and physically.
Where to start?
Honestly, getting into my workout clothes immediately centers me for what I’m going to do. Have certain clothes or shoes you use for your activities.
Start small. Certainly you could take 15 -20 minutes to go for a walk or run, do a bike ride or lift some weights.
Determine the best time of day. I know if I don’t get my workouts done in the morning, it won’t happen later in the day. It sets a tone for my day and gives me an immediate sense of accomplishment after my workout. For you, evening may be better. Whichever it is, find the time best for you that you can stick to.
All movement counts I’ve been guilty of thinking that because my workout was shorter that somehow it may not count as much. It crossed my mind coming in from “only” 2.25 miles yesterday morning ( in the 25 degree morning!) I reminded myself it far beat staying inside doing nothing!
Same for you. Whatever purposeful movement you choose trumps doing absolutely nothing. Start small and make it your goal to increase your time and days. Before long you will have built your own disciplined exercise regimen. 😊
Like many of you, I’ve got things planned for my day but wanted to squeeze in a quick workout first.
Contrary to a lot of thinking you don’t have to take lots of time to get a solid workout in. Like many of you, I prefer longer ones but sometimes that doesn’t always work.
Enter 20 minutes
I set aside 20 minutes, armed with a 35 lb kettlebell and 25lb dumbbells. I rotated between kb swings and doing other work with dumbbells. I did not really rest between sets other than to change over equipment.
Can you say sweat?
Obviously going from swings into other work and repeating sets didn’t take long to get my heart pumping and sweat flowing. It was a quick but good strength session
Please note I did warm up 5-8 minutes before starting
And that my friends, is it. We may not always have the longest time, but we can squeeze in some time, just really make it count.
I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now. With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters. ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions. Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train. Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen. I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment, something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly, the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The next day do it twice. Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating. Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity. My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling, rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical. Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?
There are lots of “new” terms being thrown around in the last few months. Some I’ve honestly come to despise….social distancing anyone?
However, one phrase,although not newly coined, has been something overlooked in many lives. “Self care” is something that many have put on the back burner even before the global issue became a concern.
I think self care is even more relevant and important now than ever. With so many forced to stay home a new, weird daily life has formed for many. Our routines are displaced and many of us have tried to maintain normal activities as much as possible.
Yet, sometimes it requires extra effort to make it happen. I’ve heard many say how they are trying to get back in a fitness routine, that life has gotten them off track.
Oh do I understand about fighting back to get in an established routine! My year started off with my husband having cancer surgery mid January which turned into a 36 day stay because of various things. My workouts were hit and miss as my days were in a roll of waking up and heading to hospital and spending the day there. I had no energy to even contemplate it when I got home. I squeezed in workouts where I could and when I could dial up the mental as well as physical energy to do it.
Once he was home ( end of February) we had a couple weeks as we tried to get back to normal. He required some help and care and I was still focused on getting him settled back into home life. Work outs were sparse but I always felt better after.
Then when all the world weirdness started and days were a blur into another it made it a bit harder in some ways. I did however, have one thing going for me in that, I’ve always worked out at home. It meant digging deep into my discipline ( cause motivation can be a fleeting thing) and taking myself out the back door most days of the week.
There is a wonderful beauty of working out in my own little space. Whether I choose to hit the road
or stay in to do strength training or use the elliptical ( my surrogate running for now) I can do it. I’m not bound to someone’s arbitrary rules and my sweat is all that I’m dealing with. Not to mention, I don’t feel a need to look a certain way.
So how do you get back on track
You start. You start somewhere. You determine that you will do something that is positive for you. If you prefer mornings, know the night before what you are doing. Maybe it has to be later in day or after work. Whenever your preferred time of day is, set it to your schedule. You might set out clothes and accessories you need so you see them waiting. Don’t make any excuses to cancel out.
Engage your mind
I often have people tell me they admire my motivation. My response is motivation is fleeting. Yes, you can get motivated to do something but that feeling can quickly leave. Discipline however, that is what often drives me. I’ve disciplined my mind to push into what I know I need to do . Discipline feels powerful and controlled. It is the thing that moves me from merely thinking about it to actually doing it. To get started again, you need to mentally engage yourself .
Do what you love
Doing things I enjoy and that challenge me have kept me at it. If I find myself doing too many days of an activity that is making me feel…restless…I change things up. I always tell people they should have more than one activity, but no matter what they should enjoy those activities. If you hate running, don’t run. Brisk walking can give you lots of good benefits. Get back to the thing that makes you happy and you enjoy.
Take it easy on yourself
As I’ve been pushing back into more athletic activities, I’ve had a few moments of frustration feeling like I’m not where I was like, 6 months ago, and yeah that annoys me. However, I was out on the bike this week and I’ve been hitting really big hills I haven’t seen in awhile and I scaled them just fine so maybe I’m not the weakling I thought I’d been reduced to 😅
No matter what activity you may have gotten off track with, be kind to yourself as you get back to it. You might be surprised that you are in better shape than you thought.
Your self care is important
During these trying days, with conflicting information, disrupted life and schedules, lack of work for many, self care is more important than ever. It may not be about achieving a certain level of fitness as much right now, as it is about your mental care as well. Exercise is one of the best tools to combat depression and anxiety, as well as potentially helping you sleep better and overall feel good about yourself. I find I do my most creative thinking during exercise, as well as problem solving. Self care isn’t selfish, its necessary for you to be healthy inside and out.
How are you doing with self care during these trying times? Have you had a plan or do you need to get on board and get back to what you were doing?
We have a plethora of birthdays this time of year and yours truly is the cake maker.
My kids know they can request whatever kind they want and I’ll whip it up for them.
My middle son turned 28 May 1st. After a reminder I hadn’t received his request, did he wish for me to make him a boxed cake?
I got a link to a monstrosity of a 5 layer cake. Initially, I thought it was a joke. But then I’m always down for a challenge and dived into the project
Two brownie layers and three white cake layers.
Yes, that is buttercream frosting between those layers
11 eggs, three packages of butter, 7 cups of sugar, 10 cups of powdered sugar for buttercream frosting, 30 Oreos and brownies that get made with brownie layers to decorate on top and a partridge in a pear tree.
Ok I jest about the partridge 😉
I weighed it.
It weighed 13 pounds.
I don’t exaggerate.
13 pounds of ridiculous deliciousness.
You know what I’m afraid of? I’ve now set the bar to high and who knows what they will come up with next. 😄
Yes, there is a literal second dessert piled on top of this monumental cake.
The aftermath….it is a wee bit tricky cutting five layers.
Even my guys with the biggest appetites were out done by this cake.
We all decided this…the cake and brownie layers were delicious enough to just make independently. The eggs, real butter and buttermilk made it a light, airy melt in your mouth cake.
The brownies had lots of eggs giving them a cake consistency and with all the cocoa powder they had a good chocolate flavor.
Think you wanna try it? Find it in my Homemade Cake folder on Pinterest!
Short, sweet and easy enough to go down with your morning coffee and whatever you chase it with.
Speaking of short.. I’m gonna hit on that thought with exercise today. It seems when people think of exercise they have the idea it has to be long and drawn out.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good solid workout sesh and feel like I’ve not done enough if I come in under an hour. I love rides that I’m gone for awhile or days I did long runs and was gone for hours.
The reality is, sometimes we’re all short on time and we wanna get as much in our valuable time as possible.
Yesterday I got up and per usual had my list for my morning before me. I had to be gone from home by a certain time and knew I didn’t have my hour( plus) to spend hefting weights.
I spotted one of my HIIT workouts I have written down and decided.. hey a fast and furious 20 minute session is where it’s at today.
This one is all about using just your body weight, although I added weights to a few things to make it harder.
I alternated rounds doing pushups then renegade rows with my 25lb weights.
I used a 25 lb weight plate to do butterfly situps.
The beauty of these workouts is you can modify up or down depending on your fitness level.
( ok and maybe I just wanted to squeeze in a little weight work too 😉 )
It’s pretty straight forward after that. I set my watch to cardio, then knocked off as many rounds as possible in that time.
Today it was “only ” 4. Then I realize that makes 120 situps Haha
I ended just planking as long as I could after everything and not just 30 seconds which is ridiculously easy for me anyway. I made it to the 2 minute mark.
I’ll tell you these workouts always leave me feeling it and I need that. It challenges me in a different way. I know my time is short and I have to work hard, and I’m horribly competitive and want to do as many rounds as I can 🤣
You can make your own HIIT workouts up by using any combination of moves. It can involve having some weights or just bodyweight work.
Remember to warm up for about 5 minutes before starting, and good form is always key so if you start to tire or hurt slow it down or modify what you’re doing.
And if you are struggling to get into an exercise routine, 20 minutes is a short sweet way to get started.
It may not be easy, and you’re gonna sweat, but it’s short and you’ll be on your way to your day.
Tell me. What’s your favorite short and sweet workout?
So I was bouncing around a lot of ideas for a new post (there are many to be had) I draw from so many places for inspiration. I’m often left looking at an over arching question of “what do my readers need?”
As much as I love writing from the trenches of life, I know if you take your time to read you wanna walk off with something that has encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you or educated you in some way.
One of my most popular posts, Healthy Eating For Dummies https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/09/05/healthy-eating-tips-for-dummies/ was the simple kind of education topic that people seemed to need. This was driven by talking to friends, and seeing posts from others that made me realize there’s so much in the health/fitness world that makes things seem hard and complex when in reality, they don’t need to be.
People often think if they are going to start exercising, it should be an all out, full speed, into what ever they are chosing to do without giving much thought to the fact they are in a body that isn’t used to that kinda work.
What happens then?
Usually, the day or two after, they are so sore they can’t move and the mere idea of going back to it makes the shudder.
If you haven’t been exercising, an all out approach is simply not smart.
Go Big or Go Home
I was scrolling through Pinterest one day ( follow me there) I may or may not have been looking for delicious chocolate recipes….
My newsfeed is a weird combination of wicked desserts they show me, and fitness plans to make me look like a MMA fighter.
I wanna have both please 😉
Anyway, there was this one that literally was a series of moves that totaled over 500 reps of several exercises.
The subtitle said get ready to wipe the sweat from your face or something like that.
What just stopped me in my tracks was the sheer craziness of it. Even as fit as I think I am, that would’ve been crazy.
I want to walk the next day 😛
Yeah there’s probably one or two people who’d go in and tackle it. Honestly though for the average person it’s aimed at, makes it dangerous, not smart.
It’s why I’m kinda not impressed with the current trendy “boot camps”
Because if you’re getting up one morning all fired up to start and “today is the day!” you decide the fitness journey begins, you will honestly hurt yourself attempting such a workout. Those environments although they modify, often are conducive with people working beyond what their current physical abilities really are because they will try and keep up with the guy ( or girl) next to them.
It’s so important to know where you are, what you’re starting point is, what (if any) physical limitations you have, and work from there. Literally that has to be the place you begin to build from.
And don’t feel bad about it or worry about it.
We all have our starting points. Consider it your base to your fitness foundation.
First, if you have any health considerations or concerns, talk to your doctor before you begin.
From that point, determine what goals you have or what you want to accomplish. We are all different in what we want to do and where our interests are.
Do you want to train for a 5k? Have dedicated time at the gym several days a week? Be able to walk around the block without getting winded?
Whatever it is, set a goal that can keep you focused.
There are so many activities to choose from but walking is something anyone can start at any time.
All doctors can support the idea of walking and often encourage their patients to do so. All you need is some good shoes and discipline to take yourself out and do it.
Walking is really a good, safe, and easy way to ease into fitness activities. You can adjust your pace as you feel stronger and you can lengthen distance as you get comfortable with your current distance.
Make sure your goals are clear, realistic, and concise.
It’s recommended you get in 30 minutes of brisk aerobic activity, 5 days a week for over all health. This includes things like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing etc
To help with weight loss, more may be required.
Don’t under estimate that even small amounts in a day are beneficial to your health and wellness.
The more fit you become, the more you will most likely feel challenged to do. Don’t be afraid to extend your goals as you improve.
Aim for balanced fitness.
When I began my health and fitness journey, ( wow this is my anniversary month!) I started walking each day, about 2 miles. Eventually, I started running parts of it. At some point I turned into a runner ha.
But one thing I’m glad I learned early on is doing activities that work, train, and condition all of my body. Certain activities involve more muscle groups than others. Neglected, these can become weak areas in our body due to neglect of not using them as intensely as others.
It was on days I couldn’t run outside that I started doing strength training.
Let’s take a quick look at what these different activities are and how they can help us.
Cardio: It’s the activity people complain about the most because you have to work hard enough to get your heart and lungs really moving and well, that makes people uncomfortable. Mainly ’cause it makes them realize they are internally out of shape.
Start by doing an aerobic activity, like walking or running, for a sustained 20-30 minutes, four to five times a week. To ensure you’re working at an optimum level, try the “talk test”: Make sure you can carry on a basic level of conversation without being too winded. If you can sing a song, you’re going to easy.
Strength conditioning: I find this to be so important in supporting my other activities. Not only that, I can lift a sofa or heavy cabinet if I’m called upon 😉
Start by doing one set of exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups. Start by using a weight at which you can comfortably perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. When you think you can handle more, gradually increase either the weight, the number of repetitions, or number of sets. To maximize the benefits, do strength training at least twice a week( ladies this is SO important for us! You want to keep your muscle mass as you age and weights are where it’s at. Not only that, muscles look cool 😉 )
Never work the same body part two days in a row.
Flexibility training: This can be static stretching but I prefer some yoga to help keep me flexible and to help my overall mobility for life and my other activities. You not only want to stay flexible but mobile, meaning a complete full range of motion in your body.
Implementing all of these components will help keep you strong and fit no matter what activity you choose.
Find what you love, know your starting fitness level, start slow and gradually build on where you are.
Set small, concise goals to aim for.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Make exercise a habit for life.
Don’t over do in the beginning.
Celebrate all your new victories!
If you have a developed exercise program, what tips or tricks helped you stay with it?
Hello beautiful people. It’s evening as I write this, unwinding with my preferred drug of choice, a big mug of coffee and patting myself on the back that I didn’t give in to any basic urges and punch someone today.
Working with, and dealing with the public has challenged that a lot lately.
I’m constantly amazed at the sense of entitlement so many have and it’s been an extraordinary and amazing to thing to not only keep my hands to myself, but my tongue too as my brain can conjure up sarcastic comments like crazy.
It’s work keeping that in!
Haha ok I jest…. well…. partially…
But let’s say I’m glad to now be relaxing and letting the ideas out of my head that have been bouncing around for awhile.
I thought we’d talk a bit about ways to make staying active easier. We are ending summer here in the states and moving towards fall and maybe a bit of winter here in the south. Typically a time of year when most begin to want to hibernate inside and the idea of exercise seems like an even bigger chore. Unless you are already a dedicated gym goer or have a disciplined exercise program you may not be thinking it’s a time of year you want to start getting active.
So what are some steps to build a fitness plan?
No one, and I’m pretty sure no one, decides they are just gonna scamper into getting active. Let’s be honest, most dread the idea of having to do exercise even though they may talk about it and really want to do it.
You may admire those who are active, understand the benefits of doing it, and strive to do it yourself but somehow you can’t quite put it together. Of course you also understand that staying active take a lot of work and discipline.
Don’t get discouraged. Some planning and structure will go a long way to your success. Staying active does require more work than being sedentary but it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to maintain.
Let’s take a look at some ideas to help.
Find the thing you want to do.
It’s important to choose something you think you will enjoy and can stick with. Don’t worry about being “good” at it or thinking you can’t do something. Just get out there and start taking baby steps. In time, you’ll gain confidence at it. If you like what you’re doing, you’ll look forward to your time working out.
Like building any new habit, consistency is key. Find a time to workout in the day that is suitable for you and your schedule. Forget what your neighbor or sister is doing, you do your thing. Find a time that you can devote to yourself and put it in your day.
For me mornings have evolved over the past few years. In the beginning it was what I did to get the job done before the rest of my day started. It was hard to get up earlier to get it done but I did.
Mornings are best for me because in the 24 hours of my day it’s when I have people needing and wanting me the least.
I’ve actually come to love being out on the road early. There’s something quite satisfying knocking out miles while the sun is coming up and the world is still getting coffee.
Not only that, it just sets an energetic tone for the entire rest of my day.
Pick your time of day and stick to it.
Get your gear ready the night before.
Now days it doesn’t take much for me to reach for my exercise clothes. When I had to be up on Saturdays at 5a.m. for long runs, I had everything laid out for me to just step into. My mind immediately, although still sleepy, knew it was time to get serious. ( I do not wear athletic clothes as “leisure wear”, for me they represent work and my mind shifts to a different mode once I’m in them)
If your clothes, shoes, socks, accessories etc are there and waiting you won’t have to think about putting it all together. Even if you are an evening work out person, have it laid out and waiting. It will be one less thing you have to think about doing.
Get your nutrition in order.
Knowing what you will have for breakfast and having it prepped will give you less reason to skip on fueling properly. If you are an early morning person, you may have food ready the night before.
Having healthy snacks prepped for pre and post workouts will keep your energy levels up and will be one less thing you have to attend to when you finish.
Have stretches or moves you use at the end of each workout.
I have several go-to yoga moves that feel good after I’ve been running and cycling. This helps my body recover after a workout and ease tight muscles.
Have some stretching and mobility exercises that you can use afterwards. Not only does it feel good, it helps your body to recover faster.
Leave your gear in the same place.
My running bag has everything from some spare change to extra cycling gloves, my running belt, ipod (although I rarely use it on the road anymore) my helmet, glasses, a clean top, and a whole host of other things. I always know where my stuff is at in a moment.
Find a bag or space that is dedicated to what you need for your workouts to keep you organized.
Focus on your workout.
ok I’m notorious for being in the midst of a workout thinking about what needs my attention when I’m done, what I want to write about next, or being distracted by other random thoughts.
This totally takes my mental focus off what my body is doing and keeps me working hard on the task in front of me.
Be in the moment with what you’re doing. Appreciate all your body can do for you, think about how movement feels. All the other stuff will still be waiting for you when you finish.
Plan your workouts.
I literally schedule appointments around knowing the time it takes me to get them in and clean up and look like a respectable human again.
With my duathlon training I consider what days in my week I can devote to my longer sessions, my run/ bike days, and put them there. Shorter mornings may be one of my fast high intensity workouts that I can slam out in 30 minutes or less. Regardless, I know where to fit them in and how much time it will take.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling that anymore than scheduling a doctors appointment. It’s important, just do it.
With some planning, structure, and intentional purpose you can build a strong and healthy exercise program that will serve you well. When our minds know what to expect we can look forward to being active and truly benefit from each activity.
Tell me, do you have any tips or tricks that helped you get on a disciplined path for exercise?
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….