Real champions are everyday people overcoming obstacles to live their best life! Here are some tips to learn how to love your fitness journey so you can keep moving for life
Are you loving your fitness journey? When you look to your future, do you see an active life? What makes people champions? While fitness isn’t always sparklies and roses, there is still a way to love your fitness journey.
To me, real champions are everyday people who overcome obstacles to really embrace their fitness journey wherever they may be. Everyone is in a different place, and that’s okay. Start where you are and savor the process!
Here’s a little background about my fitness journey: I always liked the idea of sports as a kid but never participated in anything much except for 1 season of volleyball. I did some workout DVDs when I was younger (hello, Mary Hart and Denise Austin) but I struggled with consistency.
I really wanted to run, but had a really hard time doing that. Fast forward to my college days: I decided to join a local gym and get the student discount so I started going sort of regularly. It wasn’t until I ventured into group fitness that I started being more consistent. I took Body Pump and was soooo sore! But I kept going back for more and I got hooked.
Teaching group fitness keeps me consistent
I started reading Oxygen magazine and that helped me get my diet right, but I really started to get consistent with my workouts thanks to group fitness classes and great instructors. Since I am an introvert, it was scary at first to start exercise classes, but I loved the structure and meeting new people, and it became part of my schedule. It was a time for me to get out of the house – even introverts need to socialize!
I even started a rock climbing class and fell in love with it and got my husband involved. Over the years I got certified to teach Zumba and group fitness, got certified as a personal trainer, and took my fitness level up a notch.
It’s a process for sure, but there is no final destination with fitness: a lifelong fitness journey is the goal. Fitness isn’t the end-all-be-all of life, but it serves to help us live a better quality life, making our years more enjoyable. It helps us grow by stretching our potential and shaking us our of our comfort zones.
It helps us cope with stress and improves our health. It helps us meet new people and travel to new places. If you keep that in mind (and remember this too), then fitness becomes less of a struggle and more of a great opportunity.
Over the years my fitness journey has gotten a little bit easier. Don’t get me wrong, the work is still there but the struggle to get myself to workout is less. I learned how to stop fighting with fitness and start fighting for fitness. Nothing is perfect, I still struggle from time to time, but it continues to get better.
Sometimes our minds throw out all sorts of crazy road blocks that keep us from meeting our goals and enjoying fitness. Once you kick aside that roadblock, certain things become a little easier to accomplish. Here are a few things about learning to love our fitness journey that I have gathered over the last few years:
There is a science to exercise, but people can get so bogged down with the nitty gritty details that they fail to see the bigger picture. Unless you are training for a figure competition, you probably don’t have to worry too much about whether that fun bike ride is going to eat up your muscle mass. Just move already! Push aside the “buts” and “what ifs” and just do it.
Forget all or nothing
If you only have 15 minutes for a workout, then do it! Knock out the perfectionist voice inside and learn to be okay with things not being exactly as planned. Be flexible and get your workouts in whenever. I used to be very attached to working out at certain times of the day, but I have learned that if I miss that “ideal” workout window it’s okay, I can still have a great workout at another time that day.
Adjust your workouts if needed. My daughter wants to run a 5K but was intimidated by it, then she had an “aha” moment when I told her she could stop running and walk whenever she wanted to. No one is making her run the whole way: it’s her race
Every fitness journey is unique, YOU are unique. Don’t beat yourself up for not being in the same place or at the same fitness level as the girl next door. Each journey starts at some point, so start where you are and go from there. You’ll be glad you did 🙂
Remember WHY you move
For me it goes beyond physical appearance (though that’s nice too) – I feel better in general and have better mental balance when I move and exercise regularly. I tend to be very introverted and susceptible to depression, so exercise is excellent for me. I just feel better all over when I move, so I try to remember this when I want to flake on workouts.
Make movement outside of exercise a habit
Don’t just move during exercise then sit around all day, make it a point to move all day in different ways. Your body will begin to crave movement. If I sit too much for several days (like road trips or long plane rides), then my body starts getting used to sitting too much and moving becomes more difficult. I have to be conscientious about sitting too much, especially since I blog and write
Don’t forget to make time for FUN!
Find new and interesting things to try, like stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, adventure racing…whatever floats your boat! This will ensure a long and healthy relationship with fitness, and that sense of fun and adventure will inspire other people, too 😉 We are all champions when we overcome physical and mental obstacles to keep going with our fitness journey.
What are your favorite things about your fitness journey?
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
12 thoughts on “Learning to Love Your Fitness Journey”
OMG, I used to work out with my mom with Denise Austin videos when I was in middle school!
I loooove the advice you give about not over-thinking things, as well as not being ruled by the idea of all-or-nothing.
Gotta love those old workout video tapes and DVDs! I used to do Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos, too. Now there’s online subscriptions for 100s of workouts at home. I wish I had that back then! It’s amazing how far things have come
Thanks for sharing your fitness journey! I love seeing where people come from and how they have grown. 🙂 The favorite thing about *my* journey is that I kept going even when I could have easily ‘quit’. 🙂
That’s always a great thing! I have had some ups and downs a lot over the years, and a lot of downs: dealing with depression, food allergies, health problems, but some of my training clients inspire me to keep moving! Some of them have such amazing determination in the face of illness, it’s hard not to be inspired by it!
I love the ‘forget the all or nothing’, I admit I am guilty of that sometimes. It’s easy to blow it off if you know you can’t get it all in. I try hard to not do that but sometimes it happens! Always a work in progress!
Yes! Progress not perfection is one of my favorite sayings. It’s all about progress 🙂
I find that my goals continue to change, so my fitness focus also changes. i love that you recognize that there are tons of different forms of exercise – love group fitness but it’s not how I workout right now since I can’t get off work early enough to join a class – I sure do miss it though!!
I agree! Fitness focus comes in waves and changes all the time for me. I’m not all about 1 thing in fitness, I am always doing something new or different. Doing the same routine is hard for me – I’m all over the map sometimes! I love teaching group fitness but I do savor my “me time/alone-time” workouts or workouts with my husband since that doesn’t happen a lot
YES for making movement outside of exercise a habit–nontraditional exercise is still exercise, and I think people forget that sometimes. Also, YAY for group fitness. I find it hugely motivating as well.
Now that I am blogging more, moving more outside of exercise is more difficult! I need to get my standup desk back and get back to using my DIY treadmill desk. It makes a difference!
Great story! I completely agree that fitness is a journey that does not end. Even when we reach our goals, we still keep moving onto the next one- that’s what keeps me going!
Goal setting is huge! And one thing I forgot to put in there. It’s so good for us mentally to have things to work towards and new things to work on. It gives us sharper focus 🙂