Are you loving your fitness journey? When you look to your future, do you see an active life? What makes people #RealChampions? While fitness isn’t always sparklies and roses, there is still a way to love your fitness journey. To me, #RealChampions 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:
Stop over-thinking: 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
Don’t compare: 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
And last but not least: 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 #RealChampions when we overcome physical and mental obstacles to keep going with our fitness journey.