We believe morning workouts are the only way to go; we can’t understand how anyone could hit the gym in the evening. Or maybe we hear coworkers talking nonstop about SoulCycle and can’t understand why they would ever spend $35 for a cardio class. Or maybe we see the CrossFit games on TV and think those, those are the athletes to emulate.
We all think about fitness and exercise but we rarely stop to think about why we think the way we do.
Almost a year ago, I shared one of my most popular posts yet. In it, I chatted about the five things that radically shifted how thought about food, eating, and nutrition. It was such a popular post that I wanted to switch gears about talk about exercise.
Below are five events or milestones in my life that have impacted my fitness and my overall approach to exercise. Some are more serious than others but they’ve all changed me into the coach I am today.
Five things that have changed my approach to fitness
Competing in half marathons
Running was my first love. As a chubby middle schooler, when I discovered there was a sport allowing me to run for extended periods of time without having to throw/kick/catch anything, I was hooked. I vividly remember going to run club at 6am…as a thirteen year old! High school cross country & track filled my days. Even when traveling, going on service trips, or during the off season, I would throw on my shoes and just go for miles. It provided me a calm I had yet to experience in any other part of my life.
By the time I got to college, I realized I was pretty good at it, too. I started racing in competitive half marathons and even placed second in my age category.
Running competitively taught me how to think about fitness from a performance mindset. It taught me how to set goals and work to reach them. These are all skills that I still use today, in my and my clients’ fitness journeys.
Discovering strength training
As I mentioned, in high school and most of college, all I did was cardio. I was queen of the long run, treadmill, and elliptical.
Because of this, I constantly exercised to burn calories; that was all I could ever think of.
But when I started lifting weights, I realized there was something much more important than burning: building. Calories stopped being those pesky things I needed to get rid of, and they became the fuel I needed to change my body. Strength training gave me a way to build myself up, instead of always trying to be smaller.
When I originally started lifting, my workouts were long. I would do sixty minute lifting workouts, because I believed that if it wasn’t an hour long workout, it didn’t count.
Towards the end of my college career, Andrew and I decided to try P90X3, which included 6 30 minute workouts per week. It was my first exposure to shorter workouts that still could give results.
I’m not and never will be a Beachbody coach but I’m grateful that I discovered the program so that I could finally quit the idea that I had to workout for a full hour.
Being put on bedrest
In the summer of 2013, I was in an exceptionally unhealthy place. I was working out two+ hours a day, eating nowhere close to enough, and constantly thinking about my body, trying to get smaller and smaller.
I can vividly remember dragging myself away from the beach on vacation with my family and Andrew to get in my second workout of the day. It was so hot that I was wearing just a sports bra and shorts, barefoot, doing my second Insanity DVD of the day.
I called out to my mom, “It’s just 20 minutes. I’ll be there soon.”
In my heart, I wanted to be out there, watching the sun go down with the people I loved, but I couldn’t pull myself away, so sure that I would gain weight on this vacation if I didn’t do my two workouts per day.
Almost as soon as we got back from that vacation, my doctor told me I had to stay in bed for three days, no exercise at all. My heart was not stable enough to handle the incredible amount of stress I was putting on it. I could either do the bed rest at home or go into the hospital.
Real quick I had to rethink my approach to eating and moving. This rude awakening was what I needed to stop restricting and start moving towards eating disorder recovery. It was one of the hardest times of my life.
Becoming a personal trainer
I’ve always been super interested in fitness. I had lots of knowledge bouncing around in my head but didn’t exactly know how to apply it or how to use it to help others. Becoming a NASM CPT in May of 2016 helped me implement my knowledge and love of movement to help others.
Fitness is such a big topic, and we often have thoughts without fully understanding why we feel the way we do. That’s why it’s so important to break it all down. When we understand why we feel the way we do, we’re better able to make a change.
If you’d like to shift the way you think about fitness, I’d LOVE to share free workouts with you. I’m currently beta testing my newest workout program, #SkipTheGym. For the month of July, I’m sending out free weekly workouts so that we can all learn to stay more consistent with our workouts, without ever having to set foot in the gym. Grab all the deets (and your first workout) here!