Monday, February 24, 2014

A Workout to ENJOY!

I've been active for most of my life.  I grew up in the swimming pool and on the tennis court.  Even as I got older, I always managed to fit exercise into my daily routine (well, until kids came along, but more on that later).  Of course, my mode of exercise has changed over time.  As a young teenager it was Jane Fonda (a VHS tape I borrowed from my mom) and in college it was Billy Blanks' Tae-Bo (which probably made me lopsided since he always did more reps on one side than the other).  When I entered the "real world", I joined a gym and went to it on a regular basis.  Today, I workout exclusively to Cathe Friedrich (my fitness idol!) but I recognize that my method for fitness has changed as my interests have changed.  

Even after all of these years, there is one thing that has remained consistent. Enjoyment.  I've always enjoyed my workouts.  I'd probably be bored to tears with Jane Fonda today but it seemed to do the trick back in the day.  Whether in the gym or at home, I've always managed to find a workout that makes me happy.  If someone told me that I could only reach my fitness goals by running 5 miles per day, I'd never reach those goals because I don't like to run.  I'd probably start off motivated one week and run every day but then I'd slowly start skipping out on runs.  Perhaps you've struggled with a consistent workout routine because you haven't yet found what you enjoy doing.  Or maybe you're consistent with your workouts but you're not having any fun. Something needs to change.

Change is tough.  At least it is for me.  I definitely prefer the status quo. But when it comes to my workout routine, I've been able to make the necessary changes needed to keep things interesting.  When I was single, I used to get up early and hop on over to the gym for some exercise prior to work.  After getting married, my work commute grew longer which made an early-gym-visit less desirable.  So, I switched things up and started working out at night (and I discovered that other gym rats were much more friendly after work than before!).  

And then we got a dog.  Yes, she was the sweetest golden retriever on the planet, but my evening sweat sessions at the gym turned into a stroll around the neighborhood.  Clearly, walking a dog did not elicit the same calorie burn as 45 intense minutes on the elliptical but the timing was great because soon I was pregnant and could barely move anyway (insert sudden sedentary lifestyle here).  After one child came another and before I knew it, I had become something completely unfamiliar to me...a stressed-out working mom with a horrible commute and no conceivable outlet for physical activity. Something had to change.  And so it did...little by little.

I started with small steps.  10 minutes here, 10 minutes there.  I exercised whenever and wherever I could fit it in.  But soon, 10 minutes became 20 minutes and within a few months, I was working out for an hour at least 4 times each week.  Plus, pushing a double-stroller through a hilly neighborhood burned some serious calories!  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy (doing floor exercises while one child is screaming for help with an art project and the other child is weaving a firetruck in and out of your legs takes some serious skill!) but I stuck with it until it became a habit again.  An enjoyable habit.

If you're not working out regularly because you dread the gym, take a break and hit your nearest bike path!  If you feel more like a mouse on a running wheel than an athlete on the treadmill, switch things up a bit.  Try out a metabolic circuit that keeps your body and your mind engaged.  Getting bored with your workout routine?  Download some videos on YouTube and workout at home.  Feel out of place in your spinning group?  Attempt something new! Try yoga.  Join a swim team.  Call a friend and navigate the hiking trails.  Just do something!  Don't use boredom as an excuse not to exercise.  Just make a change!  And make sure you enjoy it!


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