This post is dedicated to the un-athletic, awkward, chubby thirteen year-old me: “YOU will be just fine. Actually, you will be more than fine. YOU will be awesome. I promise.”
This has been an exhausting post for me to write. I’ve redrafted this one probably thirty times, editing so much of my original post that it looks nothing like where I started. Health and fitness has become such an important part of my life that when I sit down to write about it a million thoughts come flying at me all at once and it is overwhelming. I could probably write fifty posts related to different aspects of fitness and still not cover everything that I want to say. I’ve decided to focus this post on exactly what I need to do right now, and just START!
To have a full amazing Year of You, it is integral that you put some focus on your health and fitness.
To get me started, I have resorted to a list.
1.) I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again….I am not an expert. I have no certifications, I have no degrees related to anything nutrition or health. I only know what I know from experience. I only know what works for me, and it has REALLY worked for me.
2.) There will always be someone who is better, faster, stronger. Someone who eats better. Someone who is just more of a badass when it comes to health and fitness. These are the people that I admire, but it is not a competition. I am not competing with these people. The only competition I have is with myself…to improve, to be better, healthier, stronger and more of a badass.
3.) Health and fitness is my passion (aside from my family). It only took me 30 years to figure this out, and I’ve become a bit obsessive over the last year. It truly is a lifestyle choice to make some of the changes that I have made, and IT. TAKES. TIME. Nothing magical will ever happen overnight, and if it did it wouldn’t be satisfying and likely not sustainable.
4.) My final point, and the intended focus of this post: You have to start somewhere. Plain and simple. Just start doing something.
Making your health and fitness a priority starts with you. You need to want it. You need to own it. You need to find your motivation and bottle it. For me, training is the one thing that I do for myself every day. Only I can take a good workout away from myself once it is done. It is my accomplishment for the day, and it feels damn good. Take that feeling that you get after a good workout and remember it. Store it somewhere close by. Remember that feeling of accomplishment and go after it each and every day.
Commit yourself to starting a routine. Take the choice out of the equation. The decision to workout each day (or most days of the week) should be as basic as your decision to brush your teeth. You could very well skip it, but how would you feel if you did? Another trick I use, is schedule my workouts each week. I plan what I am going to do and I block the time in my calendar. It is a serious commitment; a relationship with yourself. As long as you give to it, it will give back to you.
The starting point for me was running, but I had to start somewhere. I look back at journal entries to read notes like “I ran 1.5 miles without stopping today”. I reflect back on this accomplishment and realize how far I have come. It all originated from my decision to just start doing something. Some days I wanted to quit, it was hard, it was frustrating, and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Day after day it got easier, and the more I worked at it the more confident I became.
I continued to push myself, not wanting to become complacent in the accomplishment. By this time last year I started adding in conditioning and strength. By summer, I was obsessed with lifting. I loved the feeling of doing something challenging, something that I could continue to progress without any limitations, something that was typically a guy’s game (well, in my mind it was). By Fall I was competing in an Ultimate Warrior Competition at my gym, to be named the only female Ultimate Warrior!…think 10 minute plank, 10 minute wall sit, timed row, etc. You get the picture. I kept trying new things and I learned to love the things that I used to hate because for once I acually put effort into doing them.
As I write this today, I am inching more and more towards maintenance mode, trying to find my balance but still intending to push myself just as hard. My typical week is laid out below. I stick to 6 days of training and 1 rest day. Typically Sundays depending on what I have going on in a weekend.
Monday- 45 minutes of full body conditioning, intervals, strength. It’s really everything and its amazing and it’s intense.
Tuesday- 3 mile run (sometimes I opt to cycle instead for 30 minutes as I am training for the sprint triathlon), followed by a 20 minute tabata cardio class. If I am feeling particularly stressed, I will do Zumba in the evening to get my dance on. I love a good Zumba class. On a good Tuesday, I burn 900 calories from exercise alone which means a bowl of cereal is in my future come 8:30pm (or maybe two….don’t judge)
Wednesday- All strength, 45 minutes full body. In the evening I will swim for 30 minutes (also to train for the sprint) During the summer months, I will typically do a 4 mile sunset run instead.
Thursday- Same style of workout as Monday, but not the same actual workout.
Friday- All Strength, 45 minutes full body. Typically a more intense strength workout than Wednesday.
Saturday- If I have only had one run day in the week, I will use Saturday as a longer run day. 4-5 miles.
My advice to anyone who doesn’t know where to begin is to just start moving. Go for a walk, go for a run, maybe take a class, or put in the Hip Hop Abs DVD that we all regret buying (I cant be the only one, right!?!). Just start moving again! Make today the day that you get out of your comfort zone, take action and regain control of your own health and fitness. Find your motivation and be the badass that you were born to be. A year from now you will be happy that you started today.