It’s true. I’ve never been a natural-born exerciser. Until age 8, I suffered with chronic nosebleeds, so I was discouraged from engaging in any activity that was too strenuous, and was unable to participate in gym class. My siblings and I were also anemic (a hereditary condition) so I didn’t have a whole lot of energy. I spent free time reading, drawing, writing, and crafting.
At 12, I began learning about health and fitness and decided I needed an exercise routine. With birthday and Christmas money, I purchased a few workout videotapes (this was 1988!) and worked out every day in our living room. With my low energy levels, it was a challenge each morning to follow through on my exercise plan. I tried running during this time as well, but had trouble breathing, so I didn’t run often; I didn’t learn until I was 38 that I had asthma!
All through my teens, I lifted light weights, walked and hiked, and did cardio and interval training workouts at home. Whenever I’d feel bored, which was every few months, I’d buy a new workout video or try a workout from a fitness magazine. I did all of this on my own steam: no family member or friend encouraged me, supported me, or worked out with me. That would have been great, but it wasn’t my story. The ways I encouraged myself, were reading books and magazines on health and fitness as well as reminding myself how good I felt after working out each day.
Enter my twenties and raising two kids: working out was still my normal. I had a treadmill and walked or run/walked as well as working out in my living room. The infant phase was rough because I would often be on the treadmill with a baby in a bouncy seat wailing while I walked, which was no fun. But they eventually got used to entertaining themselves for an hour a day while I worked out. And since we homeschooled, when they were school aged, I would feed them breakfast, do a couple of subjects with them and then assign them a few things to do on their own (like their spelling list or math page).
My thirties were a bit smoother because I didn’t have to deal with babies, but I had a full schedule with homeschooling, church responsibilities, and family expectations, so it was imperative to keep exercising to avoid going completely crazy. Although my energy remained low, often with me taking short naps in the afternoons, I continued exercising.
Let me just say that each and every morning it is the same. I wake up with the intention to exercise. I am tired, always tired, so the excuses start in.
Here are some of the best of the best:
(You might recognize a few!)
“You don’t have energy to exercise today.”
“If you exercise, how are you going to do everything else you need to do today.”
“You have so much to do today: you really don’t have time for this now.”
“It’s so unfair that so-and-so is naturally slim and has never exercised a day in her life! And you exercise all the time and what good does it do? You might as well give up.”
“No matter what you do, you’ll never look good. What’s the point of trying?”
“You’ve been wanting to lose this same ten pounds for two years. This isn’t doing anything.”
“What if you injure yourself again? Doesn’t your back feel tight already? If you throw your back out again, you’ll be back to square one. Maybe you should just stretch and call it a day.”
After I go through the litany of excuses each morning, I remind myself why I need to work out:
I will have more energy afterward.
My mood will get a boost.
My heart and whole body will be stronger.
I don’t want to be an out-of-shape middle-aged woman whose body is always breaking down.
The act of doing something I don’t want to do that’s good for me will help me follow through in other areas the rest of the day.
This is the only earth suit I have and I need to take care of it.
Then I choose to put on my workout clothes and either head to the gym to walk/run on the treadmill, I do a Barre3 class or Glo yoga class in my bedroom, or do a cardio interval training video in the living room, just like the old days.
My favorite video workout can be found for free on Youtube. It’s from the 90s and features Elle Macpherson and Karen Voight. It was filmed in Hawaii and is one of those not-too-hard and not-too-easy workout that works every major muscle group, has three cardio and three strength sections and a great stretching segment at the end. If you’d like to do a retro workout, give it a try!
So readers, after you go through your morning excuses, I hope you’ll throw on your workout clothes, lace up your sneakers and go for a walk, run, work out with a video online, or just dance around your kitchen. The most important thing? Just move your body every day!!!