Growing up I was always the last one picked for sports in gym class, the last batter to bat on my softball team, queen of the gutter on my bowling league- you get the point! This was not for a lack of trying, but because I had not conditioned myself to be fit and make exercise a regular part of my life. I began working out on a consistent basis when I was 22 years old, and was working at a gym. Although I have alternated through the years between frequenting spin classes, training for half-marathons, climbing to nowhere on the elliptical, boot camp classes, and most recently, barre, I can honestly say that since I was 22 years old I have not gone more than a month without exercise. Even when I was pregnant I was tucking and pulsing in my barre classes up until the day before I delivered. Needless to say, I would definitely call myself “athletic” at this point in my life, but it was learned athleticism. I can also tell you that when I go more than a few days without exercise I do not feel my best. Exercise keeps me energized, relieves anxiety, and makes me feel good about the way I look. Throughout my 10+ years as an exercise fanatic I have come up with some helpful tips, and here they are:
- Find something you LOVE and stick with it!! I know people are always telling you to switch it up, but if you do not like what you’re doing you will never stick with it! I have been taking barre classes on a regular bases for 3 years, and do absolutely nothing else. Given that barre works every muscle until it screams, I am probably in my best shape ever. I am not necessarily telling you to do barre, but instead insisting that you find something that works for you and that you will not want to miss. I look forward to every barre class, put them in my calendar at the beginning of every week, and do not allow myself to miss a class once it is booked.
- Buy workout clothes that you will want to wear 24/7! I am a huge advocate of this one, as you can probably tell from other posts. Seriously though! If the gym outfit you throw on makes you feel like a million bucks, you will want to wear it more frequently, which equals more gym time. This does not take a rocket scientist to figure out.
- Learn how to lose yourself in exercise! This is easier said than done, and can be difficult for a lot of people. When I take barre classes I try not to focus on anything else but the muscles that I am working. Once you perfect this not only will you get a much better workout, but completely letting go for that one hour will relieve so much stress for you.
- Have proper motivation! If your only motivation is to lose weight, you might lose interest once the weight loss has stalled and the thrill of it is over. Instead, also stay motivated by checking in with yourself and noticing how good you have begun to feel.
- Change your eating habits! I will be the first to admit that I probably have the hardest time with this one. I am so quick to have a killer session at the barre and then waste it all by coming home and eating ice cream. Lately though I have been trying to be more cognizant about what I am eating, and have definitely been noticing more results from my workouts. I am sure you have heard the phrase that “abs are built in the kitchen,” and this is so true. If you are not eating right, then all your hard work at the gym will be cancelled out.
- No excuses!! Last but not least, try not to let circumstances of life get in the way of healthy exercise habits. I am definitely not proposing for you to workout if you have a serious injury or a high risk pregnancy, but barring all that, there is no reason for you not to exercise if you have a healthy pregnancy or have a minor injury that you are attempting to overcome. It is all about finding something that works for you! Barre worked beautifully for me throughout my pregnancy because it was low impact yet effective, but as I said, different strokes for different folks. Regardless of what type of exercise you pick, it is undoubtedly going to make you feel better in the long run, and not worse!
Until next time,