Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Moves You?

I know you're probably thinking I'm going to spout off about fiber again but I'm not (this time).  I read an article online today called "How to become an exercise addict".  I had mixed feelings about that title but I read it anyway.  First, I'm not sure an addict is something to aspire to per se but I get where they were going. Next, I'm not sure you can teach someone in any number of steps to become an exercise addict.  Not everyone does or will love exercise but surely you can find ways to make it more appealing, thus making it part of your regular routine.  I can say that it has taken me literally years to find what works the best for me.  I've done the gym thing, spending time on cardio equipment and then making the rounds on the machines.  I was bored to death.  And it seemed like it took forever. Both times I started with a workout buddy (which did make it enjoyable for me) and both times the workout buddies canceled frequently (I would still go) or bailed all together.  I'd suck it up and go it alone for several months but eventually I too would bail.  Workout buddies (in my world) have been hard to come by and I was unsuccessful at replacing them. I still forced myself to do it for a while but then when life got in the way and I was unable to go for a week or two (or after an extensive recovery from bilateral bunionectomies) at some point, that was the end of that.  I've had two separate rounds of that scenario over the past 4 years.
My next attempt to find what I loved was to take a class.  I signed up for one called Willpower and Grace (it's an actual thing where the instructors get a specific certification to teach it).  Well, that totally sucked.  I'm not sure exactly what I hated about it so much (aside from the fact that it was summer and the class took place on the second floor of the municipal building, which is an old school and there was no AC and the window was stuck shut....).  It seemed like endless squats and I don't even know what else but my knees hurt through the whole thing.  I stuck it out through most of the 10 classes but I think I skipped the last one when it got up to 99 degrees.  Enough was enough.

At some point I started running.  I think it was during my second stint at the gym when a friend convinced me in January to run a 4 mile race in March.  Since it was my first race ever, that definitely kept me in the gym longer preparing for that.  From there I kept running, signing up for 5k's, mud run's and such to keep me going.  I did this for three years.  Never did I fall in love or even remotely become addicted to running.  I just did it because I knew it was important to be active and I was able to convince some of my friends to do it too.
Still searching for something I liked, I signed up for a Zumba class.  Well if that wasn't one of my worst ideas... The first class or two I felt completely lost trying to follow the hip swinging, salsa footwork mixed with aerobics class moves that my super charged up, amazingly fit, could pass for a Latino superstar (she's Italian) instructor made look so easy.  But I figured I'd do my best and as long as I kept moving I was still getting something out of it even if I was always moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the class.  My good attitude lasted for about two, maybe three of the ten classes I had paid for and steadily dwindled from there. Don't get me wrong, this was a tough workout.  I sweat my butt off and I was really sore the day after for a couple of weeks, but this dance stuff was not my bag.

I continued to suffer through the running.  I found some podcasts I liked, that helped.
Then I found a Boot Camp class and signed up for that.  Finally I found something I liked!  It was far from boring, the hour flew by, it was challenging and I even felt athletic rather than pathetic while I was there.  The only problem was this was only two days a week.  I would have loved at least three just to really feel like I was improving my fitness level. This was a class offered through the town so it was only for six weeks?  Maybe eight.  I can't remember.  Either way it was short lived.

Next I joined a gym that offered classes like boot camp, cardio kick-boxing, R.I.P.P.E.D and so on.  The classes were/are super crowded and not at the best time for my schedule so I've only gone to a handful of those.  Last summer a friend asked me if I wanted to go to an Insanity class with her so I did.  Insanity is one of those workouts you see on t.v. infomercials with Shaun T, but this was a live class taught by a certified Insanity instructor (who happens to also teach that previously mentioned Zumba class).  I really liked the class despite the fact that I thought I might die during the full grueling hour of high intensity intervals.  I went back for more the next week.  And another time after that.  I guess that's when I got turned on to T25.  This is another Shaun T program that you see on the infomercials.  Its 11 DVDs (I think).  The workouts are not boring at all, totally challenging (still cannot do a one armed burpee to save my life) and they're only 25 minutes.  It comes with a 10 week schedule to tell you which workouts to do which days.  You do 6 workouts over five days of the week (one day you do a double).  I'm pretty sure most people can find 25 minutes a day to work hard and do something good for yourself.  It was next to impossible to come up with an excuse not to do it (or a good one anyway).  There were a couple of times that I switched my workout day with a rest day to accommodate whatever, but that's no biggie.  I was still able to do all six each week for 10 weeks.  Nelsy did it too (and he works a regular full time 9-5 job).  I definitely feel stronger and see noticeable changes in my body composition.  I'm still doing the workouts even though I "finished" the program.  I am going to continue to run occasionally (that pain in the neck 4 mile race is coming up in March) but I'm feeling so good about finding my exercise niche.
I'm far from addicted but I do like it so I don't have any trouble getting it done and feel really good when it's over!  One of the reasons I decided to get certified as a Health Coach is because I get it.  I get that not everyone loves exercise, I get that people have a variety of obstacles and challenges that prevent them from making a lifestyle change.  I get that not everyone wants to eat nothing but nuts and seeds and meal replacement shakes.  And not everyone thinks they can make or know how to make the changes they need to be healthier.  I think (I know) that people can greatly improve their health by practicing moderation, getting active in whatever form is most enjoyable to them and learning some strategies to avoid pitfalls.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying until you find your thing.  And when you do, stick with it.  And remember, you're still benefiting from all the stuff you try out but don't love (providing you don't quit right away!).  So if you're not addicted to exercise or don't even like it, get creative, try new things and most importantly Don't Stop Trying!

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