Fit Friday 1: Fall in Love With Working Out

Happy Fit Friday!! As the first of many to come, these fit Friday posts will focus on fitness related topics. I’ll address what my typical routines and opinions are, and hopefully that will help and inspire any of you looking for fitness advice or just looking to change up your normal routine. I’m not a personal trainer by any means, but I’m happy to share what works for me and how/why I fell in love with working out!

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So quick background for me – I was always an athlete growing up, played sports at school, all that. I went to practice, but never really enjoyed “working out” just for fun outside of anything required for my sports. When I went to Ohio State, I felt like I’d lost part of my identity because I was no longer an “official” athlete at my school. So I started going to the gym regularly, and the process just unfolded naturally because I immediately noticed how amazing working out on a daily basis made me feel. Since then, I’ve never gone back! Just another reason I owe some of my happiness/success to OSU 🙂

Another huge component for me was finding workouts I actually, truly enjoyed. If you don’t like doing something, like really despise it, you’re going to have a harder time being consistent with it – makes sense, right? So if you haven’t found that workout you love yet, just keep looking. Think about what makes you happy, excited, energized, and go from there. It might be dance, home-video workouts, running, or something totally different. So keep looking, but trust me, you will know when you find it because afterwards you will feel like you’re on top of the world, no matter how many times you’ve done it before!

Today is my tomorrow. It’s up to me to shape it, to take control and seize every opportunity. The power is in the choices I make each day. I eat well, I live well. I shape me.

So I want to address what I hear allllllll the time when it comes to fitness and working out. Honestly, I’m over it. It’s EXCUSES. People seem to be able to come up with endless excuses as far as why they can’t work out. I’m going to respond to each, but before I do I want to be clear. I’m NOT trying to be insensitive. I realize we all are so wonderfully different, but fitness is something I’m so passionate about because it is a POSITIVE thing. For some reason a lot of people see working out as a threat, or refer to themselves as not the “workout” type.

Everybody has the potential to be the “workout” type. The only one saying that you can’t be, is you. YOU define yourself and your choices define your priorities. Fitness, your health, should be one of your top priorities. If you care about yourself, those around you, your career, your overall mental and physical well being, it should be part of your routine.

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We’re all guilty of making excuses throughout our lives, myself definitely included. It’s about being aware of those excuses we’re making, so that we can intentionally turn those excuses into successes and positive change in our lives.

Make excuses or make changes. The choice is yours.

“I don’t have time/I’m too busy.”

  • This one is the WORST. I’m sorry – we all have 24 hours in a day. We are ALL busy. Literally everybody is busy. So when someone tells me they’re “too busy” to work out, I want to say okay so you’re too busy to take care of yourself, to maintain your health? Actually most of the time I want to say “Right I’m not busy at all, which is how I have time to work out because I do nothing.” I can feel myself getting sassy, so I’ll stop here. But I PROMISE that if you make it a priority, time exists in your day for you to work out. Will you have to maybe sacrifice other things? Probably. Actually, definitely. Will it be worth it? Unquestionably, yes. Will you maybe have to watch one episode less of your favorite show on netflix at night? Sure. Will you have to set your alarm a half hour earlier to get up and get a run in? Yes and you’ll feel so amazing all day because you did it.  WE ARE ALL BUSY. If you’re “too busy” to take care of yourself, you probably need to reevaluate your priorities. You control you and your day and all that happens during that day.

“I’m too tired at the end of the day/can’t wake up early”

  • So first, it’s a good thing you’re tired at the end of the day – it means you probably did your best to give your all that day! But working out actually gives you more energy, so my suggestion is maybe you’re a morning workout person (like me!). Do it in the morning before you can start feeling sluggish or telling yourself you’re too tired. You also may be opposite – some people love working out at night! Try working out immediately after work – again, some sacrifices or extra effort may have to be made. Pack clothes and drive straight to the gym (or walk straight into your home gym area) so you don’t flop on the couch as soon as you get home and lose motivation. OR maybe you can wake up early, you just aren’t in the habit yet! I still don’t like spring out of bed singing like Elsa in the morning. Sometimes (like, everyday) I’d prefer to sleep an extra hour, to get up AFTER the sun gets up instead of before. But I know that if I don’t, I’ll be so mad that I didn’t, so I get up. And I’ve never once regretted getting up to work out once I finished. Once you make it a habit, your body will adjust to waking up early and be expecting a work out. Give it time, be dedicated to it and it’ll get easier everyday! Another question to ask yourself is – am I eating enough for the activity I’m about to do? If you know you have a long, busy day at work and you’re planning on working out after, you may need to eat strategically so that you have fuel to get through that workout.

“I hate running/lifting/any other type of exercise.”

  • Whenever someone says “oh well I just hate running.” Or if I tell them I teach Insanity they’re like “oh no way that’s way too intense for me.” Okay, that’s fine. Then find something YOU like. There are seriously so many ways to get fit, so keep looking. Don’t use excuses like this – just get outside and do something. It doesn’t have to be a structured “workout” – maybe it’s just running around with your dog or kids at the park. As long as you’re physically moving, you’re getting healthier, so consciously be aware and think about what you enjoy doing and how you can make it work with your schedule.

“I feel weird/awkward/out of place at the gym.”

  • So this one is a little different, because it’s pretty focused on what others think. I definitely get feeling awkward or like you can’t do stuff at the gym without people looking or something like that. But at the end of the day, you just have to be you and own that. Everybody’s there to work out, and it’s highly likely they’ve seen others doing the same things you’ll be doing. So just do your thing and if they look, let them look! If it’s really something that’s like so irritating to you that you feel like you can’t even enjoy or get a good workout – make a home gym! Ours is our second bedroom and we’ve got a squat rack, free weights, and stationary bike, bands, etc. I highly recommend at home workouts like Insanity, and Beachbody offers a ton of really good ones so check that option out and you may love it! But anyway, go to that gym and just be you and kill it because at the end of the day all you can worry about is you and your workout – the only one making it “weird” is you!

“I work out for a few days, then just get unmotivated and stop.”

  • I wish I had a solution, but this is a you thing. The bottom line is, what is important to you? I love listening to Shaun T’s podcast, Trust and Believe. One episode focuses on this line – “How many times do you want to start over?” Stop giving up on yourself, stop prioritizing other things over your health. Really dig deep and ask yourself why you’re struggling to stay focused and dedicated, and change it, work on it, adjust. Tell yourself that you matter, stay focused, and make it happen!

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Okay so awesome, no more excuses – we’re done with that! Now to the actual working out.

Am I saying you have to work out for 2 hours a day, every single day? Of course not.

I’m saying you should find something that is FUN for you, that you enjoy. Whether it’s running, lifting, dancing, using the elliptical, walking, swimming, biking, yoga, Insanity, or whatever. There are SO many options out there, so the only reason you may not have found something you like is because you aren’t looking hard enough. Working out isn’t only about losing weight or getting super shredded. It is first and foremost about how you FEEL. If you have specific goals as far as weight or ability, great. But ultimately working out will simply help you feel better, mentally and physically, regardless of how you actually look.

The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.

One more thing – I don’t always “love” working out. Half the time during Insanity I’m cursing myself, or Shaun T, or the hot sun during a run, because it’s hard. But that’s the best part. When it’s hard, it’s working. When it’s hard, you’re getting better, faster, stronger, happier, healthier.

Fit doesn’t have a size, it has a feeling. -Shaun T

So suck it up today, and get started. Start with 5 minutes. Start with what works for you. Just do SOMETHING. Once you get hooked on working out, it’s the healthiest addiction you’ll ever know and you’ll never believe that you didn’t do it regularly before.

I’m obsessed with working out, I haven’t not worked out for a day in like, almost 4 years. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s one of the best parts of my day. Why?

  • Improves my mood
    • Working out clears my mind, improves my mood, and makes me happy! I know y’all have heard of endorphins, runner’s high, etc. Well, it’s true. Whenever I finish working out, I’m literally elated, proud of myself, ready to tackle whatever I have to do that day. I’m automatically starting my day with success, and there’s no better feeling. Working out ALWAYS noticeably improves my mood, regardless of what else is going on in my life at the time.
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence
    • Again, this one is obvious. When you work out, improve your fitness, regardless of whether you have weight to lose or not, your self-esteem and confidence will increase. When I’ve killed a run, had a great lifting session, or conquered Insanity, I’m going to (and should!) feel proud of myself. When you take pride in what you’re doing and accomplishing, your confidence will improve, and this will spread to all facets of your life, whether it’s work, relationships, whatever. Body image can be a tough subject for a lot of people, but when you’re dedicating time to your fitness, you will gain self-esteem, accept the body you were given, and embrace what you love about yourself.
  • Gives me energy
    • I mentioned this a little bit earlier when talking about excuses – working out, contrary to popular belief, actually gives you more energy. If you work out consistently, you’ll notice that on days you skip it, you feel sluggish and tired. Working out will give you a boost for the rest of your day, mentally and physically.
  • Reduces stress
    • Working out is a great stress reliever. I find that whether I’m boxing or doing an intense Insanity workout, it’s a great way to get out aggression. When you have a healthy outlet for stress, it can simultaneously improve other aspects of your life. So when I’m less stressed, I find I do better at work, with my relationships, all that, all because I made my health a priority. When you take time for you, it allows you to be a better version of yourself for others. Working out is about mental fitness, just as much as it’s about physical fitness.
  • Teaches self-discipline
    • This is for all of you that say you “can’t” or you aren’t motivated. When you intentionally make working out a consistent habit, you will start holding yourself accountable for your decisions and your priorities. It will begin feeling like just any other part of your day, rather than something you have to remember to incorporate or squeeze in. At this point in my life, working out is the very first part of my day, everyday. It doesn’t have to be that way for you, but I find that I’m so self-disclipined in all areas of my life because I’ve learned to be that way. I’ve taught myself how to form habits and hold myself to them, habits that improve me as a person and therefore allow me to help others.
  • Improves sleep
    • Oh, sleep. It can be so elusive! Or at least, it used to be, for me. I used to have a really hard time falling asleep, and still do today, but that’s only if I’ve had too much coffee 🙂 Anyway, if you work out on a regular basis, you will probably notice your sleep quality improves tremendously. I love being able to fall asleep right away, sleeping heavily, and I wake up refreshed.
  • Improves overall quality of life
    • This one is obvious, right? And we all know it, and it should motivate us more than anything. Working out is proven to lower your risk for horrible diseases, and improves your quality of life. Isn’t that motivation enough to wake up a little earlier, or to find time during your day for some activity?

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So throw away those excuses, literally, consciously, banish them from your mind. You will be better, happier, and healthier for it. The main reason I want you to make working out a consistent part of your life is because it will make you HAPPY.

This is all just what working out has done for ME. We are all different, but we all should make being fit a priority so that we can be happy and enjoy the heck out of our lives!

What are your favorite workouts? I love to hear what other people enjoy doing!

Have a lovely weekend and some KILLER weekend workouts! 🙂

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