If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been sharing a bit about my fitness journey on my stories. I’m becoming more confident in my own journey and really hope that sharing will inspire others to consider a fitness lifestyle or maybe get back on track if they’ve strayed off course. I am no expert, but I have my experience, my story, and it’s real life.
First, let’s start with you. Do you work out? Why?
a) because I have to
b) because I want to
If you answered “a”, let’s change that! Believe me, I was with you! I dreaded the gym and I used to think of it as a chore that I would only sometimes do, but would mostly neglect – especially after I became a mom. I wouldn’t push myself and would rarely try new exercises. About 18 months ago, 6 months postpartum from having my third child, I needed to do something. We had had a lot of life changing events in that 6 months, besides a new baby, we had also moved from our home of 9 years into a new home and my husband was trying to find a new building for his business. I felt a lot of stress and that, coupled with the uncertainty of the move and how I was going to be enough to mother all 3 of my children, was very heavy.
My husband had a routine of going to the gym, every day that he could. It was part of his routine and he made the time for it. I knew that exercise could help with stress and if I was bordering on postpartum depression, it could help with that too. One Sunday evening I decided tomorrow I was going to the gym. I wasn’t going to think about it, I wasn’t going to allow myself to make up any excuses, I was just going to blindly drive there and go. I didn’t come up with any work out plan, I didn’t come up with a weight I wanted to be, or take “before” photos, or put much thought into what I was going to do there, I was just going to go. That was my first goal, to GO. That night, I packed a gym bag for the next day and told myself to give it 2 weeks. I would go every single day for 2 weeks – no excuses and see how it goes.
Well, I did it. I went every. single. day. for 2 weeks. It was hard, but I did it. Each time it was hard, I would remind myself that I gave birth 3 times, I could do 10 more minutes on the stairclimber. I couldn’t run very fast or very far without stopping at first, but that was ok. I started where I was at and I pushed myself to keep it up and to try harder, run a little harder, a little longer this time than the day before. After 2 weeks, I said, ok a month. Let’s go every day for a month. That month turned into 3 and so on and so forth. It is now a part of my life. I go to the gym or work out 5-7 days per week. I set goals for myself. My goal is to consistent and to be strong. I have never really had muscles, so to see the results of my training is really amazing and to be able to do things I never could before, even now in my mid-thirties, after 3 kids, is the best feeling.
Whatever place you are at in your life, no matter how out of shape you are, you are alive, right? One of the things I remind myself when it’s hard, especially at the beginning when it was really hard, was that I am able. I have two legs, I can do this, I just have to try. My grandma suffered from diabetes and was bedridden for a long time before she passed away. My heart aches for her when I think about how she probably wished she could have got up and moved when she was no longer able. We take that for granted a lot, I know I did. Maybe it’s hard and it hurts, but we are able. When I would run and it would hurt, I would think of my grandma and I would keep running because she wasn’t able to.
Most people probably start working out because they need to lose weight, which is very important. (The statistics of obesity in our country is astounding.) I think I started for that reason, too, but also just because I didn’t feel great. I felt overwhelmed and stressed out. Back-to-back pregnancies where I had gained 65 pounds and then 45 pounds, wrecked havoc on my body. I ached, I felt uncomfortable and I didn’t like that. The best part about including exercise into your life, though, isn’t necessarily about what you see, it really is about how you feel.
The boost of energy, the feeling of accomplishment and the extra pep in your step after a great workout is the best part. Realizing that you have more endurance and more strength is so amazing. Seeing the results in the mirror, fitting into those jeans you couldn’t button, that is great, too!
This is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever published. I usually post mostly photos, but I am really passionate about sharing my story and hopefully nudging others into putting some thought into their own lifestyle. Exercise shouldn’t be thought of as a chore, it’s hard for sure, but it should be. That feeling after you do something hard, reaching that goal you’ve worked so hard for weeks or months for, that is the best feeling.
Now let’s not forget to mention mom guilt, because yes, going to the gym elicits mom guilt. We feel guilty for taking a whole hour away from them, or for leaving them in the gym daycare (because they are crying every time you drop them off – believe me, I know!). It’s hard, BUT listen – if you don’t take care of yourself, you AREN’T going to be able to take care of your family. That extra energy boost you get from your workout comes in really handy with little ones. When you feel better about yourself and you have more confidence, you’ll be happier, which is so good for your kids to see. It also sets a really good example.
But what about time? No one has time. Right? It’s true, I never had time before. How could you work, be a mom, be a wife AND go to the gym?? I always thought that being in shape was a luxury that only stay-at-home moms with nannies had. It wasn’t realistic for all of us. Wrong! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Everyone has the same amount of hours in each day, right? I know you’ve heard that one. It’s true, though. We have the same amount of time, we just have to rearrange our priorities. It’s true that we can’t do everything and we all have our own circumstances. I had to figure out when to fit in my time, but when I really looked at my life, I had areas that were flexible and it was more of a change in mindset, realizing that I was making it more difficult to carve out an hour than it should be.
We tend to overthink things, or at least I do. We make it more difficult in our mind than it really is and that in itself causes us to talk ourselves out of things before we try.
My whole point to this is that if you really try and really push yourself, working out can be so very rewarding. Really, the key is to be consistent and to push yourself. If you skip a day or cheat out of extra reps or don’t increase your weight when you could, it’s not going to hurt anyone but yourself. It isn’t easy at first to get into the habit, but you adjust and it becomes something you actually look forward to every day.
I want to inspire you – tomorrow is a new week, a new day. Make a goal for yourself. Dedicate a little time to yourself every day, you will not regret it.
Here’s to giving it all you’ve got,