For me….Fitness Is Truly Life.
I have always been an active person. I played sports as a kid; softball, basketball, and ran track. I also always loved swimming and spent lots of time on my bike. As I got older I had part time jobs that helped me stay active as well. I watched my mom throughout my life always value fitness and being active.
In college, I would work out. As I type this I am literally laughing out loud. I would go to the gym (college besties can vouch for this) on campus for 15-20 minutes tops and head straight to the Qdoba after for all my ‘efforts.’ Fortunately, I went to college at Temple University and balanced out all of the terrible food I was eating with lots and lots of walking. Also, in my early twenties I must have had a really decent metabolism because I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and my body didn’t suffer. I did participate in one or two 5Ks early on in my twenties, but again it must just have been genetics on my side because there was absolutely no preparation involved.
To be totally honest, I cannot pinpoint exactly when fitness became my lifestyle. I think this is the perfect reason to share my love of fitness and workout routines with all of you. I started out like anyone else can: I just started running on a treadmill at my neighborhood gym. Actually, I went to one gym in particular to tan and would get on the treadmill for 10 minutes so I did not have to tell anyone I only went to the gym for the tanning booth. But one day I started running and actually felt better when I was finished. A quick run helped me forget about any stresses I had felt that day. It was crazy. I was hooked. The gym, one work out at a time, became my escape, my happy place, the part of the day I looked forward to the most.
For a long time my main workout was running. After some time, I learned a cool way to mix up my running routine was to run intervals. Change up the speed or incline or both every minute or two minutes and time goes so much faster! I started signing up for a couple 5K races and then increased this to longer races including The Broad Street Run and Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia. I have to share at this point in the post, without a couple really close girlfriends asking me to do races with them I may not have had the courage. To this day I still LOVE to have a running buddy, but I am proud to say I no longer sign up for a race only if a friend will do it with me. Now, if I want to run a race, I sign up. This may sound pretty insignificant, but it is not and I am so proud of how far I’ve come.
I would like to think I have always been someone who is willing to try any workout once. I have participated in, quite proudly and thanks again to my amazing girlfriends, spinning classes, CrossFit class, and many trainer-led group workout classes. My willingness to always try new things also led me to participate in two Tough Mudder races and a few Spartan Sprints. These are awesome to try and great for accomplishing personal firsts. *Side story: After skipping the rope climb in my first Spartan Sprint it was a personal goal of mine to learn how to climb a rope and be ready to climb at my next Spartan. With help from one of my closest friends, I did it! Best feeling ever!
Another workout I tried for the first time about three years ago is yoga! What a game changer! I was always hesitant to go to a yoga class, and my only reason was fear of the unknown. Fortunately, a colleague of mine had a yoga instructor come to our school one afternoon and as they say the rest is pretty much history. Yoga is something I do not regularly practice…yet, but it is always my go-to when I am feeling overwhelmed at school or in life and I am excited to see where yoga can take me in the future. I personally think it is a good idea to try as many different things as possible. This way, you really know what you like!
A couple years ago, almost to the date, I also started something totally new; Strong (wo)Man! My sister’s boyfriend and now husband, followed this awesome new gym opening in our area, The Lion’s Den. This is truly the place where I have started to develop my strength training. For a very long time I focused only on cardio and this worked for me. I could not do one push up and brushed this off and had the mindset I’ll never have upper body strength, and that’s cool. I am so so grateful for a place where I was able to develop my knowledge of lifting weights and see the benefits of changing up my routine. We do so many awesome and unique things at the Den from yolk and sandbag carries to cleaning and pressing kegs! At the end of last year I competed in my first strong (wo)man competition and pushed myself to new limits. This experience was one I will never forget and this was not the last competition I will do.
All of this to say: For me, fitness is truly life. And I am well aware many may not feel this way, but I hope I can provide some encouragement for you to try one new workout or even be inspired to do some fitness at home. For readers who are interested I am going to share my weekly workout routine as well as some tips for improving your mindset around fitness in general.
- Monday: 15-20 minute run (outside or treadmill) and a variety of body weight exercises i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats,
- Easy Tip: 3 sets of 10 each is always a good idea, or for a great push, try an EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) or TABATA (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds/4 minutes)
- Tuesday: After school running club (light jogging about ½ mile) and my favorite Strong (Wo)Man class!
- Wednesday: Flexible; I may meet up with a friend and run or weight lift or sign up for a yoga class.
- Thursday: After school running club (light jogging about ½ mile)
- Friday: Rest Day; I do not work out on Friday during the school year…this changes in the summer 🙂
- Saturday: Strong (Wo)Man class Part 2 for the week!
- Sunday: Back to my neighborhood gym: 20-30 minute run and some light weights and floor exercises.
*I think it is helpful to have 6 days planned for workouts and this way if something comes up and I have to skip I am still working out for 4-5 days a week. If 1 or 2 days a week is more attainable for you right now, GREAT! Do it! Start tomorrow!
- Say yes! Fitness has only become such a huge and important part of my life because I am such a ‘yes’ person when it comes to working out. Go running with your friend, try something new, do not be afraid! Go for it!
- Fitness can be FREE! Money is not an excuse. Sure it is a good idea when you’re getting started to take some classes and allow someone else to be your motivation, but eventually it becomes easier to count on yourself and you can work out anywhere!!
- Find what you like and do that! You can only figure out what works for you by trying all differents things, but once you discover what you like it is perfectly fine and actually great to have that be a main part of your routine.
- Save some $$ and sign up for a race or competition; To be honest this works for me. Since living on my own I have gone from 4-5 races per year to 2, but no matter what, these events are helpful to make me keep working and stay motivated.
- Push yourself, but know your limits. I would bet a lot of people who do not regularly workout get back into it and do too much too soon. Just start slow and build up. The easiest way to develop a dislike for working out is pushing yourself beyond your physical limits and getting discouraged or even hurt!
- Grab a buddy! As I mentioned in my post, my friends and family have been my workout buddies from the start. To this day, any chance I get to workout with someone, I will take it!
- Positivity is key. You do not even have to LOVE working out. That is okay! But stay positive and do not compare your journey to the journey of others! We are all on different paths.
- Never forget we are all different; different shapes, sizes, strengths, and weaknesses. The most important thing is just to get up and get moving.