I realized recently that my main problem with consistent exercise lay in my stubborn view of it as work. I considered it as this hard thing I had to do, often locking myself mentally into one or two variations – so not only was it hard, it was long and repetitive.
When we think of a full body exercise, we don’t think Body surfing – we think a grueling hour of Barre. When we think of cardio, we don’t think of dancing or filling our lungs with fresh air – we think of treadmills and throbbing up and downs.
What if, instead of thinking of each exercise as a program we had to commit to, we thought of it as an adventure to plan for and enjoy?
^No idea where this meme is originally from, but it’s awesome and I am really grateful to its creator.
I used to have a pretty “Meh” exercise life.
I used to be locked into a certain workout, I think because I had read some study about how you couldn’t get stronger or progress in a type of workout if you didn’t do it at least 4 days a week or something like that. So for a couple years, I was distance running 5 days a week. I loved it for awhile, and then I got totally burnt out. Oh and, when I got pregnant with my second son, turned out that I had like zero core strength, so I had nasty back pain for 9 months!
Then after my second son, I got really into Ballet Beautiful – which, to the uninitiated, looks super girly and easy and is actually the most effective and cheap way to get an awesome total body Barre workout at home.
But again… I was obsessed for a year, got totally locked in, and didn’t feel like I could do anything else. I can barely make it through one video now.
NO MORE, PEOPLE, NO MORE!
I want to use this year to experiment, because I highly suspect that if I treat my exercise as play time, I will be stronger, happier, and healthier in 12 months than I have ever felt before. And I am not alone! Cornell published this study in 2014, in which people were told to take a walk and given a snack afterwards. Those who were told the walk was for exercise, ate 124% more of the snack than people who were taken on the SAME WALK, but told it was just for fun.
For awhile, I thought that my own perceived correlation between working out and not losing any weight, just meant that the only way to get skinny after a baby was to NOT work out. For the record, it works! I focused on eating mindfully and drinking a lot of water and most of the baby weight evaporated. But this approach isn’t really satisfying in the long term, because I need something to boost my energy and mood, especially during the winter!
The results of the study in full prove that you have to think of exercise as fun if you don’t want to undo all of it later because you “deserve it”. Fun for me means variety. For real – why shouldn’t I get stronger and faster if I am doing different types of exercise every day? As long as I am pushing myself, and focusing on my core in each exercise, I don’t see why I shouldn’t build some nice muscles and be able to progress in everything I’m doing.
Stay tuned, 2017…