In order for this post to have some meaning–here’s my exercise history with as minimal ranting as I can possibly manage:
Since I could walk to about 7th grade: I wasn’t really involved with sports or any formal exercise nor did I have any desire to do so. Every now and again I’d enjoy a hike with the fam, a walk in the neighborhood and trips to the playground. I did a reason of soccer and softball and absolutely hated it–probably because I was really bad (it’s obviously not fun if you suck!) I also wen’t through a few months of figure skating lessons after watching the Winter Olympics–typical.
8th grade: Enter my “sporty” stage. I guess Erickson was right with the whole identity vs. role confusion part of development that occurs in adolescence! Literally out of no where I started watching college sports, dressing in workout clothes daily and became part of the middle school cross country and track team. I was soooooooooo “cool”.
High School: While my phase of dressing in gym clothes and watching sports that I never really cared about died down, I realized I loved being active and part of a team. I was also a pretty decent runner for someone who did nothing all their life. So I kept with it for all 4 years–taking part in cross country, indoor/outdoor track and lacrosse.
First 2 years of college:I didn’t want the time commitment and stress involved with being on a team at school combined with my crazy academic schedule. I also couldn’t join the running club because I was dealing with recovery from hip surgery. Enter the gym–I started going about 5 or 6 days a week and utilizing strictly cardio equipment to burn calories and prevent the dreaded freshman 15. This soon got out of balance as I pushed myself to always abide to this commitment– I had to go 5 days a week, for no less than an hour and work hard each time. It didn’t matter if I was tired, had a cold, or sick of doing the same thing all the time. I had to go. All-or-nothing thinking also played a huge part: if I couldn’t work out for an hour, there was no point in even doing it.
Junior Year: Simply put, I got tired and sick of the gym. I significantly reduced the amount of workouts I did–maybe attending the fitness center once or twice a week to sit on the bike and read a magazine. Sometimes I’d join a random spin class or go for the occasional gentle jog. Exercise and eating perfectly mattered a lot less to me–it just started to be less of an obsession. I also had to remain sedentary for a period of time recovering from yet another hip surgery. After that, I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to it. Naturally, I gained some poundage and felt pretty gross.
Where am I now??
In the beginning of senior year I was pretty much in the same place–sitting on by butt with a periodic trip to the fitness center. As my jeans got tighter and I continued to feel worse, I decided that it was time to take action. I tossed any rules and beliefs that I had regarding fitness and promised myself that I would get active in ways that I enjoyed and that respected my body. If I was tired or it was simply a beautiful day out, I’d take a long leisurely walk. If I was feeling anxious and jittery, I’d grab my jogging shoes. If I wanted to catch up on a show but still get something active in, I’d pull up Netflix on my phone while on the elliptical or bike. I even started to attend fun classes like Zumba and Body Pump–classes I used to think didn’t qualify as a “good enough” workout. And finally, when I was sore, sick or too fatigued–I’d rest.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Do what you like, fuck the rest”? Well that’s pretty much what it comes down to–that and balance. If you don’t like it folks, the fact of the matter is…you won’t do it. And if you put exercise to the extreme, your body can’t possibly keep up with it. Working out isn’t an all or nothing thing. No matter what you do–for 2 hours or 15 minutes–just get off your rump and get moving.