My Fitness Journey
What’s your favorite way to stay active? I mean, what do you really love to do that keeps you wanting more?
My favorite way to exercise is to strength train and to do HIIT cardio… I love what strength training has done for me… not only is my body stronger but it’s helped me do so many other things like lift and move furniture, carry a sick kid to bed, and it’s been easier to pick up activities like golf, skiing, and wake boarding.
Before I discovered what I truly loved my workouts were a mixed bag, honestly. I never played an organized sport as a kid or teenager…I was athletic, but never played a sport… lots of reasons behind that but I’ll save it for another post:)
So, when I met my husband, he and I joined a gym and I remember getting on the treadmill and trying to run for one mile. I’d put a gym towel over the control buttons so I wouldn’t keep staring at the screen wondering when this awful, painful, torturous event was going to be over! I mean, my weight was always good, I had a high metabolism and ate pretty well. So why did I need to work out?
Working out isn’t just for those who want to lose weight. And you can work out endlessly but if your nutrition isn’t on point, then forget about it. I should’ve been choosing exercise to feel good, elevate my energy, put me in a great mood (hello endorphins!) and just the sense of accomplishment is something to focus on.
So, after our daughters were born I dabbled in lifting weights and doing cardio. Nothing too committed or serious. I do remember the connection between feeling amazing and a good cardio workout though. That usually kept me going.
Enter in some back pain that came and went over the years and I knew I was just too young to have this problem. It was nothing serious, just a muscle that would tighten so badly that I appeared a bit crooked and was in so much pain that I was a mean, nasty bitch for about 5 days, until it subsided.
So, when I attended a Brian Tracy seminar with my husband, I was inspired to really set some goals for myself (amongst other things, again for another post). One goal was to start running, but this time I decided to hire a trainer. You see, I had been following a running trainer online for years and reading the success stories of his clients. I emailed him and explained my back pain and my fear that running would aggravate it. He gave me some stretches to do morning and night and then I started my plan. A progressive plan of walking and running… then just running… then a 5K, then a 4-miler, then a 10K… you get the idea. I was pain-free and my back never felt so good. I was stretching and moving every day and I felt amazing. I learned that I loved to run in the morning, and once I ran in the prettiest snowfall that literally just fell so softly all around me. Not only did I improve my athletic endurance but I looked forward to the time to just think and meditate.
I became so confident that I decided to train for a half-marathon. It was hard and time-consuming but it’s truly been one of the coolest experiences. My husband and daughters had signs for me as they raced from point to point to see me at different parts of the race. The best was the finish line and that unbelievable sense of accomplishment and pride that I had worked, for over a year, to accomplish this. I had a plan, worked through it, gave it time and set realistic goals and expectations for myself.
Side note- I got pregnant after the half-marathon and we had a healthy baby boy just 10 months later. My doctor said I was in great shape and overall my pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum experience was pretty textbook! I’ve always thought that going into that pregnancy, at 37 years old, and in that kind of shape and physical fitness, really helped me have an enjoyable experience.
Fast forward 10 years. My daughter, who watched me race and train and who was just 7 at the time, asked me to run the half-marathon with her this October. She’s never done one but it’s a dream of hers and she wants to do it before she goes to college. I thought about it so long and hard. You see, I haven’t run in probably 5 years, consistently, as exercise. I discovered strength training and more HIIT style cardio so I let longer distance, endurance style running go by the wayside. But, my goal is different this time. I’m going to run it and I’m not so concerned about my time (last time I was a bit psycho about it and couldn’t wait to let that pressure go). I’m going to run it with her for the memory and the bonding. The main goal is to run and have fun and have this experience forever.
So, I guess I would ask you, what’s your goal for your fitness? How does it make you feel? Is it a dreaded thing you “have to do”? Explore what makes you happy and what’s going to benefit you. Take the time to fit it into your schedule… if it’s important enough, you will. And don’t close your mind to one way and definitely don’t be fearful of trying something new! Think of it this way: the goal is the journey!