“I need to get my butt back on the fitness wagon.”

“I need to get my butt back on the fitness wagon.”

I just posted that in the comments section of a friend’s blog. And I decided, hey, that’s deep stuff. I should blog about that.

A year and a bit ago I hit my fitness stride. I was aiming to hit the gym 5 days a week. In reality it was 4 days most weeks, with the occasional 5-day week. I was doing a different muscle group ion the gym each day (my super strong weight lifting hubby helped me work out a plan) and CARDIO. Always with the cardio. It was awesome. And while I wasn’t hitting my 5-day goal all the time, I felt pretty good because that was the most frequent exercise I have ever had. And I even kept it up for a few months.

I didn’t lose much weight, per se. But it didn’t matter. I was fitter. I felt amazing. My clothes fit better. I had more confidence. I had more energy. My mental state was better – I was happier. All those endorphins I suppose.

I then I got off track, and have been struggling to regain it ever since. I keep making new plans. And then I fail to execute the plan. I keep telling myself to forget the plans and just do it. Then I don’t.

Last spring I started the Couch to 5k running program. It was an eight week program and by about 10 weeks in I had completed week 6. (One week I had to do twice because it was hard, a few weeks I skipped workouts and made myself start again at the last one I completed, yada yada.) I was feeling good though. Because 6 weeks in was better than zero, even if it was slow going. I was feeling impressed with myself for how far I went every time I got back from a run. I even liked it. Kind of.

The truth is, I hate exercise. Always have. I was always that kid who ‘forgot their gym strip,’ ‘twisted their ankle’ or ‘had their period and some really bad cramps’ (who can argue with that) or just plain skipped class. Even now that I have grown up and gotten better with ‘good for me’ and ‘discipline’ and ‘let’s try new things because it will be fun’ I find I just hate it. But I’ve found ways to deal.

I wish I were invisible while I am doing it but I have learned to just keep my eyes forward, don’t look at anyone else and pretend I’m invisible. And you know what? That is a pretty good trick. I also pretend that I know what I’m doing with the weights and stuff. Even though I don’t. Fake it till you make it, you know.

I hate that my skin feels prickly and hot and my face turns bright red and my fingers and feet swell. I hate dripping with sweat and being smelly and yucky. I used to try and time my workouts around logical times for showers – because when you’re a girl you can’t just have a shower. If you’re going to be seen in public again, you have to dry the hair, fix the hair, do the make-up, you know. So I used to try and work out first thing in the morning so I could then shower and get on with my day, or I’d do it late at night so I could shower and go straight to bed. Finally I learned that it’s not going to kill me to shower twice in one day. In the middle of the day. Or swipe on some mascara. As for the red face, the red face that persists and that I so hate, I find that a blast of cold water to the face with a swirl of face powder brings it down to a “rosy glow.”

I’ve also learned there are certain environments that I’m just never going to be comfortable working out in no matter how much I want to, and I don’t have to. Usually things that involve a team. Mirrors and cameras freak me right out. Anywhere high visibility (running on country roads vs downtown for example). On the other side of that coin, if I find something I really like, I can do it over and over and over, and it’s not a rut. It’s a habit. A good one.

I’ve come to recognize that most of this, for me, is the head-game, and for some reason I have a lot of mental barriers and I just have to keep coming up with the mental tricks I need to get over them.

Here’s one I’ve been thinking about and I’m going to try and implement.

I could read less. I don’t have to read 50 books a year.

You see, I’m a busy lady. You know that – you’re probably busy too. And every time I have some down-time I want to do things I like, like reading. Not one more thing on my ‘should do’ list. I have this mental thing with reading. It makes me happy. I feel greedy for books. In fact, while I recognize that I read more (much, much, more) than the average adult human, I have this overwhelming feeling that there simply isn’t enough time to read all the books I want to read. It makes me feel a little pannicky.

I need to let that go. This will be my new mantra. Say it with me now. “I could read less.” Breathe in. Breathe out. “I could. Read less.” Breathe.

And here’s another.

Working out time could be my alone time.

I’m an introvert. An introvert with a busy family, lots of fabulous friends and a highly social job. I just need time alone with my thoughts. Work out time could be my alone time. Yes. Yes it could.

Alright. Any other advice for me?

And just so you know, I did try a new thing. I did boot camp at 6 am last Friday. And I signed up for a whole autumn full of them too. Only once per week, because it was the only time the gym schedule and my schedule meshed. But hey. We’ll see how it goes. And I’ll try and pick up the pace with other workouts too. I’ve been hovering at 2-3 per week. Sometimes good. Sometimes half-assed. Better than nothing. But I want to be a regular again. I want all those good benefits back.


6 thoughts on ““I need to get my butt back on the fitness wagon.”

  1. Haha, I totally laughed out loud at the shower thing. I SO get that.
    The fitness wagon is a funny thing. It’s easy to fall off, and can be hard to get back on again. I’m sure once you do, you’ll find that enthusiasm come rushing back. I am hoping for the same experience! You see, I have discovered that I am a fair-weather runner. In other words, I didn’t run at all last winter because of my broken ankle, and I didn’t run at all this winter because I like to run in the evening and I can’t when it’s dark outside at 6pm. Sure, there have been a few runs on the dreadmill at the gym, but I prefer running outdoors. I am terribly excited about the start of daylight savings this weekend because I will finally be able to run at night again.
    Let’s jump back on the wagon together, eh?

  2. The shower thing isn’t a hindrance for me, thanks to my crazy curls. Dab them with water and they’re A-OK. 😉

    The reason that I’m so consistent is my addictive personality (see also: Coke Zero)(I quit diet coke for a few months, then jumped back in with the sweeter coke zero). So, I feel weird — almost guilty even — if I don’t work out.

    I think one thing to remember is the whole “it takes three weeks (or so) to form a habit.” I think that’s what probably worked for you in the past when you were consistent. Plow through for a few weeks and see how it goes.

    Or maybe you just haven’t found “your” exercise yet? 🙂

    • Maybe.

      My biggest hiccup at the moment is lack of consistency in my schedule. It used to be so much easier when I could go right after I dropped the kids off at school in the morning.

      But you are a testimony of making it work with a busy life. Yay you!

  3. I found myself nodding in agreement with the whole shower thing. That is actually probably the one thing that holds me back from exercising more than anything else. I just started exercising again yesterday for the first time in forever. Nothing too strenuous (I always seem to overdo it right away, get injured and then give up) but enough to feel it. My trick is to put on my yoga pants first thing in the morning. Wearing them motivates me to get moving.

    • Indeed. Morning seems the most logical. Matt leaves for work at 6, otherwise I would go at six and be home at 7 to get the kids up and going. Five is too early. That’s just insane. Six seems doable.

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