I Am Not Enthusiastic About Exercise
I have friends who love exercise and I have friends who love to try new workouts and fitness studios. I have friends who are yoga teachers and run all the time for fun. I respect and love these women. However, I love food and watching TV. I’m not someone who exercises for fun, although I go through stages. Yoga is something I get really into and then don’t do, then get really into and then don’t do. Somehow, in my thirties with a small child, I became someone who wakes up at 6:00 a.m. three times a week to work out in the morning before work. This is not a “what’s your excuse?” moment-this is just the fitness journey that I’ve blogged about before. This is the only consistently healthy thing I have done for myself and it’s something I’m proud of. Also, shout out to Lizzo for her body positivity and her lyrical mastery. I love her so very much and I want to give her credit for the post title.
Thanks, I Hate It
I have hated exercise since gym class in elementary school. As an anxious person, team sports threw me for a loop. I daydream all the time so I was never focused enough to do well. I’d just hang from the pull-up bar. Then, college happened and I’d try to work out but the idea of getting up when I was such a night owl was crazy. Then I started working full time and I realized my body was sedentary. When I first moved to Columbus, I was working part-time and I realized I finally had the time to work out. I was engaged and I saved money on my wedding dress and used the extra budgeted cash to get a trainer. What was supposed to last six months has turned into six years of pretty much consistently working out and it’s the best money I have ever spent. I have to budget it in. I’ve tried not having a trainer and I’m not motivated without one. Here’s the thing, it’s a building block to fitness. So because I have a trainer, I’m more willing to try new exercise things. I’m not graceful and I’m not ever going to be skinny. But dang it, I’m strong and I love it.
Things That Kept Me From Working Out
- Fear: The number one thing was fear. Not only the fear that I would hurt myself, but fear that I would walk in and everyone would stare at me because I was clueless. Fear that I was too big to work out and people were judging me. Once I started working out I realized, no one really cared. Serious fitness people, for the most part, really just care about impressing serious fitness people. If someone makes you uncomfortable at a gym or you don’t feel welcome-switch gyms. Some places would love to have you. A gym can be what is known as a “third place”, i.e. somewhere between work and home you feel welcome and safe. Once you find your “third place” gym, you are much more motivated to work out.
- My headspace: Overthinking is something I’m really good at. I will overanalyze every situation to a point it exhausts people. I will rationalize not working out. My foot hurts, I’m tired, I ate something that would make me gassy (another real fear. You eat a lot better working out.) My trainer knows how to motivate me and is kind about it. If you struggle with overthinking, working out is the best because your body is moving and you need to think about something else.
- Sports bras: I’m keeping it real here, I have a large bosom. I’m extremely top-heavy and good sports bras are hard to find. But invest in them. Invest in fun clothes to wear when you work out. I love athleisure (I’m a mom of a toddler and I love being able to move around) and it’s great to have clothes you can wear. I read somewhere that you are either an all-black workout outfit person or colors. I love colorful outfits and there are lots of places you can find good second-hand workout clothes or ones that are sustainably made (which is a big thing for me as well.) If you have any good places to shop for athleisure let me know. I’m obsessed with second hand Athleta and yoga clothes.
- Money: Modern living is not cheap and everyone’s budget is different. Again, this is not “what’s your excuse.” There are times in my life I could not have afforded a gym membership much less a trainer. However, there are things I cut out to afford to go to the gym. I spend less money on my hair, I buy fewer clothes, I don’t spend as much on fancy coffee drinks, I don’t impulse buy things as much. These are things I prioritize. Obviously, this is not a “you’ll be debt-free if you don’t have a cappuccino” post. I’m not judging you if you prefer those things. This is just me making choices about my budget and you might be able to throw some dollars towards a gym if you cut out other things.
- Time: I have a toddler and I work. I don’t have the time I thought I had to work out. I’m fortunate to have a partner who loves being a hands-on Dad. Again, different people have different family dynamics and responsibilities. If you can ask for help so you can work out (for me it’s literally an hour in the morning-including time to the gym and back)-DO IT! I also get dealing with toddlers in the morning thing. But trust me, asking for the time to workout has reaped benefits I didn’t realize. For example, my son and husband are closer. I get time focus on and plan my day. It just works!
Unexpected Benefits From Working Out
I think a problem with a lot of our workout culture is that people expect incredible results fast. We have these goals we want to get to and we think “Okay if I workout enough I’ll get there.” Then you do so much so fast, it’s untenable. It happens all the time. I’m a dieter. I know. But much like parenthood, there are no shortcuts in fitness and the outcomes are different at different stages. You have this idea of how things should look but they somehow get better once you put the work in. Here are some of the benefits I’ve found from working out:
- Getting braver. I am way more confident in lifting things and moving than I ever thought I would ever be. I’m braver about wearing shorts and accepting my body for what it is. I had to be brave to ask for the time to workout with my husband and my boss. It made me prioritize myself and it’s an act of self-care.
- Sleeping more. I know I get up before dawn to work out and I love the pre-dawn world. But for me to successfully do this, I need to make sure I go to bed at a reasonable time. You see how everyday actions affect your life. I love binge eating and I can’t binge eat if I know I’m going to work out. I have to time my medications better. It was this domino effect of my day to day living. Am I perfect? No. But it helps me be more conscious of my life.
- Time management. I have to get to work at 8:30 a.m. Because of this, I got in the habit of picking out outfits the night before. My makeup routine is down to five minutes because I have to get out of the door. I pack my breakfast the night before and it’s made me eat healthier and saved me money. It’s forced me to plan ahead with little day to day details that can bog me down.
If I Can Find The Motivation You Can Too
As someone who would rather be social, eating and or drinking, working out was not something I thought I would fall in love with. But I did. What I’m asking people to do is take a chance on yourself and do something for you. Find that thing that gets you excited, out of the house and something you can enjoy just for you. As parents, we sacrifice so much and it’s okay to take care of you. It’s okay to workout and not lose weight. It’s okay to workout and just be meh at it. The point is I am moving and it has made me happier than I thought it would. If I could go back and talk to my younger self it would be “don’t be afraid to try new things and believe in yourself enough to be healthy.” If you live in Columbus, Find Where You Fit is a great resource to check out for new gyms and workouts to try!
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