I grew up with two older brothers who are pretty health conscious (even if they eat like gluttons sometimes). My oldest brother played baseball growing up and my other brother ran cross country. So, luckily I’ve always been exposed to health and fitness in some sort of fashion. I played volleyball in middle school and high school. Does anyone remember freshman year volleyball practice where the coach tries to weed out all the people who signed up? I do!
Then, through college I would occasionally go for short runs and do at home workouts. I was skinny and could eat jack n the box while maintaining 105 lbs. Needless to say, I was lazy AF in the big scheme of things.
After entering the workforce I actually gained weight! Christine, if you’re reading this, remember how shook I was when I had to buy jeans two sizes bigger. Hahah I’m ridiculous.
Anyway, I still ran occasionally but started to feel sedentary - because I was. My brother invited me to crossfit one Christmas and a few months later I joined! The rest is history.
Through my fitness journey I’ve learned a few things. Some are basic knowledge others you learn with time.
1. Find something you love.
I hear it so many times “working out isn’t fun.” BUT, the thing is that it can be! The trick is finding something you love so it doesn’t feel like you’re working out. I love crossfit because it feels like I’m hanging out on a playground. Also, seeing my butt get a little curve isn’t so bad either. I’m not saying I don’t have my days where I just don’t want to do anything. We all have those. If you are more of a chill, don’t like to sweat person - opt for an easy flow yoga. Or, go for an easy hike/walk. If you don’t like the competitiveness of group classes - research personal training. If you don’t like throwing weight around but still want high intensity - look at boot camps or title boxing. I mean the options are really endless. Friends, it’s so important to invest in your health and that’s why I can’t stress it enough that you find that thing. I talk about it here.
2. Work on the things you hate so you won’t dread them when they’re programmed.
I HATED running. So I ran. I HATED burpees. So I learned to breath through them. I HATED pushups. So I practiced strict form.
I hated everything I was bad at because it didn’t make me feel good. If I wanted to be healthy and in shape I didn’t want to dread working out. What did I do? I made a conscious effort to get good at the movements so I wouldn’t be miserable and discouraged. I encourage you to do the same. I know it sounds crazy but do an evaluation of yourself. Find those things you hate doing and literally go do them! Report back how you feel. I’m almost certain your mindset will be a little different.
3. Diet is important.
We all know that. When I eat well I give my body clean fuel to burn. Otherwise I’m heavy and slow. I’ve gone to crossfit after eating whataburger for lunch and let me tell you. I run super slow and I burp the entire time. It’s gross. Make sure you eat enough too. Our bodies are like machines, you have to give them fuel in order for them to power through. You can’t have a banana for lunch and expect to perform at your best.
4. Listen to your body.
If you know something feels too heavy don’t push yourself to injury. Honestly, it does take some time to learn your body. When you’re first starting you’re putting your body through something new so you won’t have a basis. After some time you’ll start to learn what works and what doesn’t. For example, when I start seeing blurry, I know I have to stop and take a longer break. I don’t push for the sake of pushing. Maybe I’m not competitive enough but I rather not hurt myself. I can also tell when I didn't eat enough and my sugar is low. I’ve had to stop and eat something because I was going to faint.
5. Have fitness goals
It’s important to have goals to give you something to work towards. I’m not talking make SMART goals but have something that encourages you everyday. I’ve been slacking this summer so my goal has just been to maintain. Below are a few goals I’ve set for myself in the past to give you an idea of what you can do for yourself.
Do 10 push-ups in a row
Run a half marathon (this one turned into run it under 2:30)
Complete a Spartan race
Learn to swim (I still need to find classes)
Run a 1 mile run in under 8 mins
Work out 3x a week
This is YOUR journey and you make what you want out of it. Remember to have fun and not get stuck in the rut of having to look a certain way. It’s about maintaining health and living actively so when we’re 80 we can still move around.