My motivation to exercise used to be entirely driven by body image. All I wanted was to be extremely thin, and only did strictly cardio because in my mind, weights and strength = big and bulky. I didn’t see that exercise could be away to make me happy or take care of myself. It was all about what I saw in the mirror. Not seeing results? Push longer, harder, more often. No joy, no energy, just forcing myself to go to the gym and do cardio until I looked like…Gosh, I don’t even think there was one particular person I wanted to look like; I just did not want to look the way I did.
Fast forward to now, and I have such an abundant passion for fitness! I love to move my body and feel my heart pound in my chest. The anticipation of pushing your body and seeing what you can achieve is incredible! This mind-set and motivation switch did not happen overnight. It took me a really long time to break the mentality that exercise was only for looks and to create a perspective of sustainability and joy.
Experiment with different types of workout types, gals; You should be having FUN. I don’t mean trying something just once and judging that experience, but several times. Anything new that you try will always be a bit intimidating and challenging, so keep at it! In my opinion, whatever types of exercise that you love, you should be happy to go do. Whether it be HIIT, yoga, cycling, high or low impact training, any way you pump should make you feel awesome. Why? Because you deserve it and thats what exercise is supposed to do for you. Nowadays I find a lot of inspiration on Youtube and Instagram to make different home workouts when I’m unable to go to the gym. Just be aware not to compare! Seek inspiration. Weight training took me a long time to get into, but now I crave the burn of lifting weights and feeling strong.
Still today, I need to remind myself to chase the feeling, and not a body type. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and working out to look a certain way gets old really quickly. I had to go through a long time of training with the sole intention of shredding body fat before I came to that realization, and like I said, just to keep it real, I still need to remind myself! For those of you looking to lose weight through exercise, I want you to know that it’s totally okay to want your body to become more trim and toned! Congratulations on wanting to better your life and get fit! Use this motivation as a catalyst for living an active and healthy lifestyle. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, everyone’s version of fit looks different. Exercise should make you feel strong and be a happy habit.
Now, I want to make it clear that I don’t jump out of bed at the crack of dawn bubbling with excitement to exercise every single day. While I have a huge passion for fitness, there are days when I’m just like… “nah.” No matter who you are, discipline will play a big role in your habit. I try to think of the “post-pump feeling” vs. the “I think I’m going to die, mid-workout feeling.” Discipline can put your workout into the perspective that you’re about to do something really good for your body, and you’re going to feel, amazing afterwards! On the other hand, discipline and habit should become void if you are sick. There are certain things we can push through but feeling un-well is not one of them. At this time, the other side of self-care comes into play and you should focus on rest and recovery so that you can get back to your grind! I can’t tell you what your limit is, but it’s really rewarding when you learn it for yourself.
***Dancers, this area of our work can be very tricky considering out stubbornness and grit to push through anything and everything. There will be an entire post later on specifically on burnout for performers and how to know when to take a break.
Okay sissys, more importantly that smashing a workout session, is living an active lifestyle. Our bodies were made to move. Walking, taking the stairs, riding your bike, going for a swim, catching a sunrise surf sesh, dancing in your room…whatever you can do that gets your heart pumping. Though these may seem small and irrelevant, they are essential to our well-being and overall health. Exercise, like diet, is completely individual. Find and OWN your version of fit!!!
Finally, I leave you with these thoughts:
Seek inspiration in fitness, be aware not to compare
Pursue the pump that makes you feel beautiful, like a warrior
Chase the feeling, not a body type
Discipline yourself to do your body good
Living an active lifestyle is all about happy self-care and sustainable well-being