For many of us fitness is basically a fad. It comes and goes in waves for us, only to find the next “hot” workout regimen or DVD that everyone and their mother swears by…and then we give up on it as the DVDs collect dust on the shelf (I’m guilty of this), or we just don’t have the extra 30 minutes in our day to even make the effort to pop in that DVD into the computer. Simply put, this was ME back in the day.
Nowadays I go with whatever suits my preference depending on my current lifestyle and schedule.
1. Cross country team in high school
Growing up I was always an active girl, but when it came to being involved in organized sports of any kind, fuhhgettttt about it. That was until high school, though.
When I was a sophomore in high school my friends brought up the idea of joining the cross country team together. Uhhh say what?! That was my response. It’s pretty sad actually, because I had no idea what cross country consisted of, and the name suggested that we pack our bags and travel across the US…at least in MY mind. Haha!
So what did I do next? I ended up joining the team with my friends and learned to love the sport. Never did I realize how fun and liberating running could be, and although I was probably one of the slower members at the time, the constant family-like support and strong bonds kept me going for almost two years. I practiced really hard and in the end it all paid off, as I never imagined to win the award for the “Most Improved Runner”. Now, that may not be a huge deal to most of you, but to me that was one of the greatest honors I could receive as a high school student!
2. Lengthening with yoga
Towards the end of my high school year--otherwise known as the days when I struggled with self image issues—I devoted a great deal of my time and energy to yoga. Yoga obviously made me feel refreshed and healthy when I was doing it exclusively; however, the main underlying reasons were mostly for lengthening my body. I honestly believed that if I stretched my muscles to death I would end up looking like some Korean celebrities who were popular at the time.
I still enjoy yoga and I’m a firm believer that it provides many health benefits (I'm not a fan of the meditation kind, however), but now I do it solely for the benefits of stretching and warming/cooling my muscles because it is that invigorating! Nowadays if I perform yoga at all, I do it as a short supplement to all my other workout routines and think of it as simple stretching.
3. Turbo Jam for cardio and strength
As I approached a level of great flexibility I started to crave something more challenging, and I wanted a program that would make my heart pump just as much as running did--oh and don't forget, it had to be fun and different from everything I was used to. Hence, I stumbled upon Turbo Jam after doing some research.
At this point I finally got hooked on DVDs and instruction based programs. Despite my incredible lack of coordination I managed to complete it with no problem! Well no…that would be a lie because now that I think about it, I often found myself tripping over my own feet! Of course, after a few months my body eventually became so accustomed to the moves that I decided to take it to the next level.
4. Low weights-high reps with Jari Love
And so came Jari Love to the rescue! I had never had experience with weight training and Jari definitely did a number on me. Every time I popped in the DVD my heart fluttered with excitement, because I knew the thought of my muscles burning and seeing the buckets of sweat in the aftermath would be worth the pain! I loved the feeling of soaring endorphins from all the repetitions Jari put me through.
I also have to admit that during this season I definitely felt my physique and health changing for the better. Just between you and me, I certainly didn't mind the muscles that started to pop out here and there! In my opinion I wasn't very bulked up, but I had the right amount of musculature, and high reps/low weights resulted in pretty good physical strength especially considering that I’m only 5’1”. And hey, who says small people can’t be strong?!
Yes I admit…those are somewhat vain observations that I just made--but come on--don't tell me that you wouldn’t mind looking fit as a result of exercising . At least, I think that's one of the motivating factors for the majority of us when it comes to working out! Errrr am I wrong?
5. Body weight HIIT circuits
Before i came across YouTube clips featuring body weight exercises, I had no idea that using only my body weight could provide so many benefits! Since I wanted to transition into efficient but shorter workouts, I quickly changed it up and did 15-20 minute routines with a little bit of running here and there.
Not only did I have more time to do other things throughout the day, but I learned to appreciate my body's ability to push itself in such a short amount of time! Through all this I was able to build my cardiovascular capacity as an addition to increased strength. I truly started to feel more BALANCED physically and mentally thanks to high intensity interval training.
6. Cardio machines
I was still living with my parents at this time and in fact, I lived with them until I got married in 2012. Since my parents decided to downsize at the end of 2011 we moved into an apartment on the 2nd floor. This meant that I needed to be very quiet and as much as I tried to do my burpees, jumping lunges, and all that good stuff as stealthily as possible, the nature of the workouts didn’t allow that to happen.
For the first time in my life I joined a local gym and let me tell you, it was super intimidating and weird at first!
That obviously didn’t stop me because after the first week of being there I felt right at home. The bright side to joining a gym (and coughing up monthly payments, ahem) was that I rediscovered my love for running and heavy lifting. There were so many options like my beloved stepmill (I explain its benefits here), treadmill, and elliptical machine. Using all this equipment showed me that I don’t have to stick to just one thing and that we should all find what works for us.
If you want to practice every sport known to mankind, then go for it and don’t let anything stop you! If you want to stick with pilates because you like how it makes you feel poised, then I couldn’t support you more in your decision.
7. Ballet+barre inspired routines
And like most of you already know, I do enjoy Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body workouts so much that I’ve been sticking to it since I began my pregnancy journey. I feel refreshed whenever I perform her workouts and the results of streamlined muscle tone is an added bonus. Since I don’t have much time to exercise now, I alternate them with 15 minutes-ish HIIT circuits found here, which provide a little more cardio oomph.
If you’ve made it this far then you’re super patient, hah! I know that was a lengthy summary of my fitness journey, but I hope you’re motivated to pursue a healthy lifestyle and find what you enjoy. I think the great misconception in the circle of healthy living is that we have to do fill in the blank to get so and so results. But as long as we’re doing what we enjoy and know that we’ll stick to those plans even if it takes time and patience, then we’ll eventually reach those goals.
Don’t give up and have fun, guys!
Tell me about YOUR fitness journey! If you’d like, you may email me about it and you can share it here on the blog.
Who inspires or motivates you to pursue your health goals?
Did you grow up playing sports? If so, how did that affect your mentality in your adulthood?