Once there was a time that the very thought of exercising made me want to cry.
I thought it was hard, stupid, and fell somewhere on the spectrum between excruciating and absolute torture. I struggled to enjoy any aspect of it. It didn’t help that my only motivation was to lose the “babyweight.” I wanted to look good. I didn’t want 30 pounds of flab hanging over my jeans.
Begrudgingly, I decided to do something about it. Slowly- I began to try some things that I thought could get the weight off quick. I started to run, I did P90X, insanity, I lifted weights and I joined the gym. I even did crossfit for a couple of years. But real issue always was- I still hated it. ALL OF IT!
Looking back I can identify a couple of reasons why exercise was so grueling for me.
First-I always picked exercises that were trendy. I picked what people were raving about. Second- I always picked something more extreme so I could lose the weight. I was so focused on my weight. I was always set on shrinking myself down.
I never tuned into my body. I never took the time to ask my body, what movement would feel like LOVE today? And even deeper than that, I didn’t really love myself to begin with, so why would I ever choose something that felt like love? Deep down, i didn’t really believe that I deserved it.
Looking back, if I would have chosen love, it may sounded a bit like this…” you know, your pretty sluggish today, you only got a few hours of sleep, maybe a long walk and fresh air is JUST what you need.” Or, hey-why don’t you try that new slow flow yoga class you’ve been wanting to check out? or “ you’re a little anxious today, maybe you need something a little more intense like a good run or a kickboxing class.”
Some days I wanted to just chill, but of course I never listened. I HAD to beat myself up at the gym, I had to “punish myself” for what I ate yesterday.
It was the chronic on the wagon, off the wagon syndrome. I was either all in or all out-there was no in between.
The truth is that your body knows what it needs. But most of us aren’t listening. Most of us live outside of our bodies-seeing external approval like I did which makes us incredibly disconnected from our bodies, from ourselves.
Your brain will make up story after story about what you “need “ or “deserve”-your body is much more honest. Your body never lies.
Here’s the best part of choosing exercise that feels like love. How you do anything is how you do everything, so when you start asking yourself that question-what feels like love in the exercise department, you begin asking yourself that question in other areas of your life as well. Food, fitness, social commitments, anything and everything that goes onto your calendar-does it feel like love?
When your workouts are fueled with love and seeing what your body can do, the results can be pretty astounding.
Recently I had a client, Sarah who was really struggling with comparing her workouts NOW with workouts that she used to do 5 years ago. She used to love to run, lift and do some pretty competitive workouts. Today, she just doesn’t feel fueled by those same types of workouts. She loves more a slow flow yoga, simple stretching and a few good runs a week. She loves to have variety of workout classes so they never get boring.
And you don’t have to settle for boring either.
Myself personally, when I have the same routine day in and day out, I get bored very easily. I like to add fun and excitement into my workout routines by doing different things each day of the week. Many days I love to be outside in nature, and other days I love to be alone in my home gym, lifting weights. Other days, i hit the gym with a crew of people and I always add in a day of yoga.
Wondering where you can begin?
Well, what’s one type of exercise that sounds enjoyable to you? What peaks your curiosity? What might be loving and energizing to your body? There are so many different types of exercises out there to try. Here are just a few to name and get your list flowing”
Aerial yoga, aquarobics, boxing, Belly dancing, Barre, crossfit, butI yoga, hiking, soul cycle, biking, hatha yoga, line dancing, hot yoga, hip hop yoga, kayaking, ice skating, and snowshoeing, rock climbing, pilates, spinning, running, swimming, surfing, weight lifting, walking, zumba.
See how many options there are to choose from? And this is just a small list.
If you are struggling to work out alone-grab you besties. For years I ran at 5:15am in the morning and you can bet your bottom I was not doing that alone. I grabbed a couple of my dearest friends and we did it together. Three times a week. Those mornings when I did not want to get out from the nice warm toasty bed, I chose to anyway because I knew there would be at least one if not 3 other women outside waiting for me. It was motivation enough to get me out of bed.
Add, in addition, at that season of my life, those were some of the dearest friends I had. When you’re running 3-5 miles everyday and talking about life, you better believe that you get real close real quick.
92% of the population WON’T achieve their goals this year-WHY? Because they didn’t put the right accountability or support into play. Accountability is everything when you’re trying to pursue a big dream or goal. That support team can get your butt in motion when all you want to do is pull the covers back over your head.
So here’s your challenge this week. You are going to take your inner athlete on a date. Yep. that’s right. You are going to exercise 3 times. You are going to make a list of some things you either want to try or if you already know, that’s great too.
Once you settle on what you want to try, now it’s time to add it into the calendar. You can do the same workout each day, you can mix it up-just keep at the forefront of your mind-this should be fun, this should feel like love. You are celebrating what your body can do for you-not abusing it.
One of my favorite sayings is transformation is 20% insight and 80% ACTION. So once you’ve selected your exercise, now we are going to add it into our calendar and schedule it 3 times this week. Lock it in. No flaking out. No excuses. This is a mandatory appointment just like you would meet with your boss, your employees, your bestie. You are going to show up for yourself and give your body some good delicious LOVE. WHY?
Because you are becoming a woman who takes excellent care of herself.
You may even want to put some fun loving words into your calendar that makes you happy such as-body loving time or move your god pod date, or Gettin’ STRONG.
It may sound silly, but you really want to use language that is motivating and powerful.
After taking your body on a date 3 different times, notice how you feel. Do you feel accomplished, strong, powerful, proud? Are you sleeping better? Are you less anxious, more relaxed? Grab your journal and make some notes about it.
After this, grab your calendar and schedule your 3 workouts again-this is your new normal. Any movement is better than no movement-keep moving, keep going
Self care is health care and when you don’t have your health, you really don’t have much of anything.
You really can’t do the things you want to do or the things that you were gifted to do. Put it this way-you can’t really live out your calling on this earth when you don’t have your health.
So go this week and celebrate yourself by discovering what your body can do.