I realized something the other day that got me really excited. I am someone who exercises.
Let’s back up. My whole life I have been someone who never exercised. I’ve never enjoyed it and all my attempts invariably failed. Like many kids, I did soccer and basketball and equestrian sports through high school, but there’s a difference between that and exercise.
After high school, when I couldn’t afford jumping lessons anymore, I stopped altogether. Sure, I tried P90X and various other “fun” and “x-treme!” cardio videos, and even aimed for the Color Run one year, pounding away around my apartment complex, but I never, ever enjoyed it. I figured that exercise was just a necessary evil that I would probably never really do with enough consistency to make it matter. I even got into boxing while in Korea, but though I loved doing it, only stuck with it a month.
To sum up; the storyline and identity I had in my head about myself was that I was not a person who exercised. That was true until this year.
This year, I moved home from Korea. This year, I decided to exercise every day. This year, I have exercised every day. And I had to stop and realize that the old identity (someone who doesn’t exercise) isn’t true anymore. I’m now someone who exercises every day.
How did I do it?
I made a plan while I was still living in Korea. I had just been hit with a devastating health crisis and knew I would be moving home to deal with it.
My plan was to start with gentle yoga, which I could just about handle. Find a good series and do the beginner videos, and if I had to stop halfway through, that was okay.
Next would come more intense yoga as I built up strength and flexibility from zero.
Then I planned on getting into pilates and more cardio type stuff, moving from there to boxing again (since I enjoyed it so much) and maybe even to MMA (I’ve always wanted to learn).
Right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of the intense yoga and pilates phase. I’ve been doing yoga every day and this week I started a pilates program. (Let me just say, I did a booty bootcamp video and haven’t been able to walk straight for two days. Um, success?)
It’s an audacious plan, and obviously I don’t know how far I’ll go, but so far? I’m doing really well.
I decided to exercise every day before breakfast. I have no idea if that’s the best option or what, but for me, it definitely is. If I know I have to wait to eat until after I’ve worked out, I will get to my room and roll out that mat first thing. Plus, tying it to waking up is a strong habit signal.
I wake up, drink some water, head to my office and the very first thing I do is roll out the mat. I usually meditate first as well, but the first action I take in the morning in that room is to roll out the mat. I made sure that no matter what else happened, that mat was out. Some days I was already starving before I began, other days not. Some days it felt like the worst thing to do yoga, and other days (more and more these days) it felt amazing.
And it worked! I went from someone who never exercised to someone who exercises every day. It’s become habitual!
I did gentle yoga for all of January, alternating between several of Adriene’s videos on Youtube.
In February I noticed I could do downward dog for once, was getting less shaky overall, and was actually enjoying the practice each time. I was enjoying pushing myself (that had never happened).
So by mid-February, I knew I was ready to move up, and started Adriene’s 30 days of yoga series she did a couple of years ago. I figured it would be a good way to progress naturally. I alternated it with other, gentler videos for days that were rough (as someone with anxiety, I need that option to be kind to myself), but mostly I kept up with it.
Now in March I’ve been finishing up her course and, as I said above, starting in on Pilates.
I’m using the Blogilates videos by Cassey Ho. I’ve followed her on Instagram for a while and I love her personality, so it was an easy transition. Well, I say that….damn my thighs and butt hurt.
I’m doing the 6 Week Body Toning Bootcamp, which is one video per week, but I guess you repeat each video to get a full workout. I did the first one, the booty one, two days ago but could only get through two runs. I mean, I barely made it through the first run. And between the pilates videos I’ll keep up yoga to help stretch the sore muscles.
I’m really happy. I did it, I’m sore, but I’m not discouraged. My whole attitude has changed along with my identity. It was amazing when I stopped to realize that my whole identity had to be altered.
If you’ve ever struggled to keep up an exercise program, don’t get discouraged! I thought I would never be a person who could do it once a week, let alone every day, and here I am. I tried and tried for years until I found something that worked, and you can too!
Best of luck!