Do you workout?
I am often asked by people in my life whether or not I work out. I always struggle to give a yes or no answer to this question because I feel like there are so many caveats that go along with my answer. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea and think that I am one of those “fitness people” who just bounces out of bed in the morning excited to workout. Nope. Not me. But I wouldn’t be truthful if I let people believe that I maintain my weight without working on my diet and exercise. There is no such thing as a 37-year-old woman who eats burgers all day while laying in bed without gaining weight!
What is WRONG with him?
My husband is one of those insane people who likes working out. During our 17 years of marriage, he has varied the intensity and frequency with which he is working out, but it has never really been something that he has complained about or worried about. I, however, live on the opposite end of the spectrum. I generally hate working out. My husband feels ENERGIZED after an early morning workout, but all I can think about after expending that much energy in the morning is going back to bed. But, at different points in my life (like after having children) I have recognized the need for some sort of exercise in my life.
The quest for fitness
I was actually one of those kids who gained weight very quickly and easily. One summer of unrestricted indulgence in Oatmeal Creme Pies when I was 13 led to quite the hike in the number on the scale and clothes that no longer fit. It was at that point that I started swimming at the gym and tried my hand at running. I learned that exercise really does help to shed extra pounds but that I hated running with a passion. In the 25 years since that summer I have dabbled in a wide array of exercise programs; Pure Barre, Windsor Pilates, The Firm, P90x, Tabata, Tae Bo, Yoga, Insanity, Bike riding, Running (again), Jillian Micheals, and BBG. I have worked out at home and paid for expensive gym memberships. I have enjoyed some forms of exercise and loathed others. Here is what I have learned along the way!
5 things I have learned about fitness
1. You are what you eat
This has probably been the biggest revelation for me in the last two years. You simply cannot out-exercise a bad diet. (Unless you are Michael Phelps and training for the Olympics, but I’m going to assume that he is not reading this post.) I saw the biggest change in my body composition when I spent 6 months recently eating a pretty strict diet of lean meats, fruits and veggies and whole grain carbs. I can’t maintain a super strict eating regimen all the time (hello vacation!), but when I know that I am going through a little bit of a down cycle in my working out, I will try to make sure my diet is pretty healthy to balance it out. I also try to eat really healthy Sunday-Thursday and then let myself enjoy dinner on Friday and Saturday nights when we typically go out to eat.
2. Consistency is king
The more often I workout, the more I see results. Simple but true. Obviously, life as a mom gets busy and some weeks I have more time to devote to exercise than others. When I have the time, I love to go to the gym and take an hour long bikram yoga class, but that is a two-hour total time commitment that doesn’t always fit into my schedule. On days when I am pressed for time I try to do a quick 30 minute workout at home, such as HIIT, dancing or weight lifting. And on days when I am busy running around all day and a workout just isn’t going to happen, I try to fit in extra steps throughout the day by parking farther away from entrances or making a couple of extra laps around Target while I am shopping!
3. Some forms of exercise are less brutal than others
Most recently I have been doing Kayla Itsine’s BBG program and it is about as hard as a workout can get. Even my fitness buff husband tried it with me and said it was a killer. I had been mixing her 3 weekly HIIT workouts with 4 mile walks a couple days a week and I definitely saw results. However, I started to really loathe those HIIT workouts and found myself hating the workout the entire time, so I switched it up and mixed weight training with my daily walks. I have found that I really love spending an hour outside walking those 4 miles while listening to my favorite podcast. That DOES energize me and it gives me a chance to clear my head and feel good about my body.
4. Cardio + Weight Training= Holy Grail
This is really the winning combination for peak physical performance and bodily transformation. There are some workouts, like HIIT, that mix the cardio and weight training together. I prefer to focus on one at a time, doing cardio like dancing or walking a couple days a week and working on weight training the other days. I think some women are worried that lifting weights will cause them to bulk up, but it is actually the complete opposite. Lifting weights and building muscle burns fat and give you long, lean arms and legs!
5. One size does not fit all
Exercise is as personal as each person’s body and what works and is enjoyable for one person may not be the right fit for someone else. I know some people love to run and can’t stand the thought of doing yoga in a 99 degree room in the middle of summer. My husband loves to play 3 hours of basketball on Sunday mornings, but that sounds like pure torture to me. In the end, I’ve realized it really is about trying many different kinds of exercise and listening to your mind and body to find what makes you feel good.
All the ❤︎,