I want to dedicate this post to the people out there who might JUST be starting (or getting back into) a workout program or routine. Let’s face it…that initial motivation and fire you have is eventually going to dwindle. You’re going to have some slips ups that make you think “I can’t do this”. You’re going to have constant pressure around you to go back to your old habits…well – because it’s just easier that way. It’s a challenge and takes constant awareness to begin new and healthy habits. You have to be aware of the situations you put yourself in, you have to be cognizant of who you surround yourself with, and you also have to allow yourself to make a mistake (and learn from it) here and there. Finally, plain and simple – you just have to START.
So how many people have started something…whether it be a fitness routine, a business venture, a pursuit of a crazy dream…and then once you have 1 small set back or slip up – you go into self-sabotage mode? I like to reference that scenario where you’re driving along and you get 1 flat tire…and instead of assessing the situation and figuring out how to fix your flat, you panic and quickly whip out your dagger and start slashing the other 3 tires. Think about it…how far will that get you? It happens all too often because of self-doubt. The “who am I kidding…what am I trying to be…I can’t do this” mindset. One person may give you less than stellar feedback, or you might veer slightly off of your plan you have, so you go into a downward spiral – doubting yourself and your goals, minimizing your accomplishments, and eventually just giving up.
What prompted this topic is my personal experience I’m going through right now. As I previously mentioned, some early pregnancy complications left me unable (doctor’s orders) to exercise for over a month. The longer you go without practicing something that was a habit, the harder it is to get it back. So – I listened to my Dr. and didn’t work out. At first I was going CRAZY. I was dreaming about working out, doing squats, running! I sound like a crazy person. But seriously…it was that much of a habit for me. When I got cleared for exercise, I was thrilled. My mind was ready, I didn’t realize that my body was not! So – I pulled out one of my workouts on a Tuesday and wish I could say DOMINATED it. However – something funny happened. It was probably one of the hardest workouts I’ve had in a LONG time. It felt like the first time I had ever worked out. I literally almost threw up. My legs were sore for 7 days straight. I convinced myself that it would just be that first workout that was so hard…the rest would be easy. Nope! On workouts I did previously where I used 20 lb dumbbells, I was now using 12’s. And I was SORE. I was actually kind of pissed, to be honest. I felt weak and felt that everything I worked so hard for was gone. Don’t get me wrong – it was all for a good cause (health of my little babe). I wouldn’t change my actions…it was the right decision. It was just hard to deal with.
That first week I was cleared to lift, I only did it twice. That’s all I could handle because I really was that sore! This week I’m aiming at 4 times. I started to think about all the other people out there who start a new workout program, or maybe they’ve taken some time off (mandatory or voluntary) and are getting back at it. It is damn hard and you should be very proud of yourself. Sometimes pushing through that first few weeks of soreness (I’m talking the kind of soreness where it feels like you have the flu or something) is the HARDEST, most mentally and physically challenging parts. As humans, we don’t like to be uncomfortable. It’s wired in us. If something doesn’t feel GOOD – we are wired to stop. I’m not pushing anyone to go out there and injure themselves with pushing through a workout. I’m just acknowledging that it’s not going to be comfortable, easy, or enjoyable for awhile. But you know what’s enjoyable? Results. And results only come through dedication and repetition….forming new habits.
So I urge you to just START. Set a goal (small or big, short or long-term), and just START. Don’t think too much about it at first or you may end up talking yourself out of it. I want to tell a funny story that shows how far I have come, and how uncomfortable of an environment the gym used to be for me.
In highschool I was active, but didn’t work out. I went to the gym every now and then to feel “cool”…quickly followed by Taco Bell and a Marlboro Ultra Light <- for extra cool points. (FYI – NOT COOL EVER). I didn’t know what fitness was. I thought starving yourself and becoming as skinny as possible was “fit”. WRONG! Then in college, I had a serious boyfriend who went to the gym on a regular basis. I thought he was crazy. I went with him one time and I literally walked in and got so overwhelmed by the equipment, people, and the good looking people with 6 packs. I ended up hiding out in the “Women’s only” area walking on a treadmill. I actually cried. I know, crazy right!? It was a scary place for me. Who knew that THIS girl was once scared of the gym!!
After college, I decided that I needed a new healthy habit, and wanted to quit smoking (so gross, I know). So – I became obsessed with running. I LOVED it. I quit smoking and just ran my ass off! First I ran a few minutes, then I ran a mile, then 2, and eventually ran an entire marathon. Now – this is also not the way to get “fit”. Excessive cardio doesn’t build muscle….especially when you don’t eat. Lesson learned.
It didn’t take me long to realize I had an addictive personality. I jumped from smoking to running…who does that? Granted, it was a healthy leap – it was still obsessive. My obsessive nature eventually lead to a full blown eating disorder (heart racing as I type that). I know I’ve eluded to the fact that I’ve had “issues” in the past…but there it is. There’s my demon. Please don’t judge…we all have them.
I started training with a male personal trainer in 2010 to learn more about REAL fitness, which was great. But I felt the need to work with a woman. So in July of 2011, I sought out the help of Aundrea Annin. That’s when my life, my views on fitness, nutrition, and healthy living started to transform. I was still uncomfortable in the gym for a LONG time. She would tease me about working out in the “Women’s Only” area. It took me YEARS to lift out in the regular part of the gym…especially in the big boy area. I remember one day I said, “F it…I’m doing this. I don’t care if I look dumb”. I went to do a one handed overhead snatch with a 35 lb dumbbell and I failed miserably! However, I maintained composure and was just happy I didn’t drop the damn thing on my head. Then, I grabbed the 30 and rocked it out. A guy (buff as hell) came over to compliment my form and strength, etc. Maybe he was hitting on me (most likely) but I really took it as a compliment! Especially because my first attempt made me look so stupid in front of all those people. I haven’t looked back since. Plus- the people watching in the regular part of the gym is WAY more entertaining than the women’s area!
The reason I’m sharing all of this is because I think it’s important for people to realize that we all have to start somewhere. It’s not like fit people were just born that way and haven’t had to work for it, overcome obstacles, or constantly challenge themselves to become better. It’s truly hard work. So, just stick with it. When you get that flat tire, step back…think about what went wrong, options for fixing it, put away your knife and throw out the urge to self sabotage and slit the other 3 tires.
My recent break from exercise and training was not favorable, but necessary. So – who wants to start with me? I don’t care if it’s day 1 of exercise in your entire life…or you had a week long break and you feel like you’re starting over. Let’s start, and whether I personally know you or not – I’m always here for support and motivation along the way. I know I will need some in return. 12 Weeks pregnant and finally getting some energy back, so let’s do this!