I have to admit, the gym and I have always had a very hot and cold relationship.
In high school, I worked out solely to build more strength in my legs to get better at dance. I was naturally a stick figure in my early high school years. (So thin that I’d be reduced to tears anytime I would have to buy new clothes–I could never find any small enough!) Then I managed to grow into a normal sized petite human in my junior and senior year, eating total garbage but burning so many calories in dance, it didn’t matter.
I then figured I could continue the same eating habits in college, just minus the whole exercise thing, and long story short, ended up gaining more than 20 pounds my Freshman year. Late night pizza “snacks” 5 nights per week will do that for you. I remember sobbing to my mother saying, “I’m just not skinny anymore!” and her answering, “well…no honey, you’re not!” (Mom, did you really need to be that honest?)
I then worked out, often twice per day, all summer to get the weight off. This kicked off what most would probably label an unhealthy relationship with working out. I was either all or nothing–mostly nothing, until the couple times per year where I’d go on a big trip (Cue: spring break, trips to Vegas, etc.) where I’d work out like crazy. This workout plan was typically paired with the latest crash diet fad (no carbs, only drinking chicken broth for 5 days straight, etc.) It wasn’t fun.
I’ve never actually had a routine, or incorporated exercise into my life “just because” it was good for me. Until recently. I’ve definitely noticed my body changing in my late twenties, and I knew that if I didn’t get on my working out game soon, I was going to wake up one day with those extra 20 pounds I’d gained back in college and hate myself for it.
Now, let me preface–I hate working out.
It’s the opposite of fun for me, it’s expensive, and I actually loathe the feeling of being out of breath. If you gave me a choice between a kickboxing class and a multiplication worksheet, it would be a tough choice. That’s how much I hate it.
Even worse are the workout instructors screaming at me to “make it count” in high pitched voices. (Are they trying to make you want to deck them in the face?) On the flip side, I need someone to tell me what to do. I’m not going to just walk into a gym and make myself work that hard.
So, last fall, I was in search of a workout that avoided all of these factors. Sure, I can stick anything out for a couple weeks, but long term–I just couldn’t see myself committing to a regular “gym.”
Then, through a little googling, I found a CorePower studio about a 7 minute walk from my house. In the past, I’d taken yoga classes, and found them to be horribly boring. (Sorry but, why are you teaching me how to breathe when I could be burning twice as many calories on an elliptical machine?)
But I’d heard this was “Power Yoga” so I thought maybe it would be different. And it was–I was hooked. I did the week free trial and went every day for 7 days, and actually looked forward to going. I couldn’t move I was so sore, but I was so happy I’d finally found something I liked.
Fast forward to the present–I now have an unlimited monthly membership, and go about 5 days per week. Is it expensive? Absolutely–but it’s better than flushing $60 a month down the drain for a gym membership I never use.
It’s not only a great workout, but it’s also a much needed mental break–it’s an hour every day I can look forward to where I don’t have to worry about my to-do list. It’s also a community–you make friends, you get to know your teachers really well–people know your name when you walk through the door.
If you’d asked me months ago, I didn’t know I would’ve wanted any of these things when “searching” for a workout. But now, I know they make all the difference in my experience.
All in all, I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleasantly surprised at myself.
Look at me–a girl who looks forward to working out!
Can you commiserate? Are you in the same boat? If so, here’s my advice–be realistic with yourself. Don’t try to make yourself do something you hate–you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Establishing a workout routine is about changing yourself over time, not about overnight results.
As human beings, we often don’t know what we want, but we know what we don’t want. Start there, and try out several things until you find a workout that has nothing you don’t want. You might be surprised at where you end up!