And never fall off the exercise wagon again.
We all have that friend. The one who is suddenly hooked on some fitness fad and can’t seem to stop talking about it. It’s annoying, sure, but deep down inside we’re always a little jealous that they’ve seemingly found their “thing”. This magical, elusive fitness regimen that they can’t seem to get enough of, no matter how much their muscles ache. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, P90X, or Zumba, we always secretly wish that we had our “thing”, too. So how do you find it among the myriad of options out there without spending a small fortune and needlessly torturing yourself through hours of fitness classes you’d rather die than take again?
After I finished playing volleyball, I went through a bit of a rough patch with exercising. Then throw in pregnancy and babies, and my fitness routine has been anything but habit over the past five years. Sports were always my “thing”, but after college ends, for most of us female athletes we’re left with the occasional recreation league and summer tournaments to get us through. It’s certainly not enough to stay in shape, and my body was starting to show it. After much trial and error, however, I do believe I have found my thing, and I have a few tips for you to find yours as well:
1. What do you want?
Except it’s not Ryan Gosling asking you what you want to eat, it’s you asking yourself what you need from a workout. Do you want a crazy, raucous time with plenty of ear-splitting rock music? Do you want a zen-like experience that might put you to sleep if you’re not careful? Ask yourself how you want to feel after a workout and then find a exercise routine that delivers that. For me, I know I want to feel the burn, but leave feeling refreshed and relaxed at the same time. I have enough madness at home, I don’t want to feel that at the gym too. And I’ve learned to accept that.
2. If at first you don’t succeed: try, try again.
In my lifetime I have tried multiple genres of yoga, boxing, running, swimming, pilates, Zumba, dance cardio, weight training, Brazilian butt lift, P90X, T25, Crossfit, Cize, and a whole host of other programs. I liked each one for what it was, but I didn’t LOVE anything until I found Pilates reformer classes. If I would have stopped after the first one and decided exercising in general wasn’t for me, I would never have found my “thing”. I can promise you that no matter what fitness level you are or what preferences you have when it comes to intensity, there is an option out there that makes sense for you. The trick is to keep trying until you uncover it.
3. Be willing to invest.
Think of paying for fitness classes, gear, or training as a proactive alternative to paying for much more expensive healthcare down the road. If you take care of yourself now, it’s going to prevent injuries, disease, and lengthen the active years of your life significantly. And you can’t put a price tag on that. So when you find something that you love, even if it’s costly, make it a priority in your family budget. Don’t for a second feel bad about it. It is an investment to make you a better mother, wife, and citizen of the world. I’m not even exaggerating.
4. If you can’t stop thinking about it, it’s the one.
I started taking Pilates reformer classes back in 2014 before I became pregnant with Issa. We were living in Xalapa at the time, so after I left to move back to San Antonio I was already expecting and never found another pilates gym. That is, until just recently when I decided once and for all that if I was still fantasizing about how much fun those classes were, it was time to get back into it. And you know what? My first class back I instantly remembered why I loved it so much. There’s a crazy all-over body burn, while being low-impact and soothing to the mind at the same time. Exactly what I wanted. So similar to some people’s advice about lost love, if you let an exercise routine go and it comes back to you, it’s true love. With a lot of sweat mixed in, but love nonetheless.
5. Forget trends and go with what makes you happy.
There will always be another exercise fad that comes along, but the key to long term fitness is consistency. Stick with what you know and love as part of your regular routine, and throw in new experiences to keep your body on it’s toes. But don’t feel pressure to start doing acriyoga or pole dancing just because it’s the cool new thing. I don’t care if your passion is jumping yourself silly with a Skip It like a true ’90s kid; if you love it and it keeps your body happy, keep doing it.
Man that thing was fun. Am I right? So what’s your fitness “thing”? How did you find it? How do you make sure you never lose interest? Let me know in the comments!