When All Health Breaks Loose…
To be blunt, I really only picked this title because it sounded a little more interesting than “Fitness Fun”, “Exercise Galore!” or something similar along those lines. But it came about with a little bit of Grace thought. Honestly, let’s be real with ourselves: working out and exercise aren’t always that fun; what does make such activity enjoyable is how much life and energy we are willing to (and actually do) put into it.
According to , vivacity is “characterized by high spirits and animation.” And for capacity (which “coincidentally” rhymes with vivacity), which we are all pretty familiar with, is basically how much something can contain. So, think about it: how much life do you currently hold in your exercise, your workouts, your outdoor activities? Do you put a lot of spirit into your fitness endeavors, or do you simply do what you can to just “get by”, AKA, put very little energy into it? Are you on the elliptical reading some magazine just thinking “ughh, have I burned 300 calories yet?“, not necessarily giving a rat’s ass about whether you’ve worked up a good sweat or not? I have been this asshole, and I hope to whatever is holy that I’m not the only one! Moral of the story, I’ve done all of these things–just worked out so I could burn X amount of calories, not even being willing whatsoever to switch up my workouts to something like aerobics because I couldn’t physically see the number of calories I was burning. Exercise shouldn’t just be about numbers–it should be about how much you are capable of and whether or not you are willing to surpass that.
Everyone’s capacity to do particular workouts is different. But that’s not what’s important; what is important is how much life you’re willing to put into the fitness that you’re capable of doing. Are you capable of more? Then prove it and go beyond that. Everyone is different for how long it will take to surpass their current fitness levels, but if I can make my lazy ass do it, then I know you can do it too! That’s what I like to call Vivacity Capacity, my sassy bitches.
Monday, February 25th, 2013: My Workout Not Working Out So Well History, And Then Some.
Ladies and gents, this is the post I have concocted for you today when trying to think of reasons why the fuck I continue to exercise and shit. Weight loss and overall health are great motivators, but something more personal, more close to home, is needed to help me keep along the way. As a result, I came up with this: “change is like exercise. It’s hard, but it’s good for you and you typically feel better afterwards.” Now THAT is what motivates me to stay on track. Even though I’m young and impressionable along with gullible (after all, it’s written on my ceiling), I can have a hard time inviting change into my life. I’m very much a schedule-oriented type of girl. Sure, I like a few sporadic things to happen in my life every now and then, but not like I used to (anyone that knew me at the age of 21 will understand this completely. For the rest, I’m sure the number gives you a good general idea). The reason I like, no, NEED to have a schedule is because it helps make me feel more balanced. I need to make sure I get 8-10 (yes, 8-10) hours of sleep every night otherwise I will feel exhausted for the rest of the day. I have really low blood pressure, which is good I guess, always have had it, but I get worn out very easily. If I get a good night’s sleep/rest, then I don’t have to worry about that or let it dampen my mood or let that exhaustion develop into crankiness. If I’m not cranky, then I’m not necessarily happy, but I am at least content. Having no stressors on my mind makes it easier for me to go about my day and get tasks done. When one of those pillars of my life is out of whack, then my entire world like some sort of domino effect comes to be unbalanced as well.
ANYWAYS…how does this relate to my exercise history? Well, I’ve tried a bunch of different types of workouts, programs, agendas, etc. I would go to the gym and just do cardio 5-6 days a week. Then I tried having a personal trainer. And after that it would be solely aerobic classes 4 days a week then cardio once or twice. Exercise videos at home from hardcore strength training (P90X, anyone? Yeah, I did that shit—even did it and finished when I was at my heaviest. BAM.) to a combination of light cardio and very “frou frou” aerobics (i.e. pilates/yoga). It was not the workouts that made my potentially great success entirely faulty; it was my lack of bringing intensity and little commitment that did the injustice Exercise is a long-term relationship that will eventually put out if you work it hard enough. But you can’t be too pushy, otherwise you’ll be putting your hardwork into reverse, backing that ass up a few pounds along the way.
It’s easy to tell yourself, “oh, I’ll just do this workout program, watch my calories, and look like Jessica Alba right after! Okay, not exactly like that, but a Wisconsin-made version of her who happens to still enjoy beer and cheese.” Talk is talk, but can you back up your talk with some solid, consistent actions? Apparently, I did not care to walk that walk, but I’m working on it now (better late than never). I could have walked that walk sooner, but chose not to. I would do the workouts at home and although I would have Tony Horton or Debbie Siebers telling me to “PUMP IT!”, “SQUEEZE THOSE BUNS!”, or “BRING IT, BRING IT, BRING IT!!!!”, I still found it impeccably easy to hit the pause button and take a piss or water break that could’ve easily been held off until the end of the workout. Sure, I’d push myself, but I had way more potential that could have been put to good use, and all I did was neglected it. Neglect. Neglect. Neglect.
As of recently, I found a gym with a program in which a variety of classes are provided six days per week. You are required to attend at least four sessions each week in order to get results. In addition, they provide you information on nutrition, supplements, and advice on how to perfect form. I do my best to go to five classes per week then do yoga/core training at home during the weekend one day, and then take a day off for rest. So far, of everything that I’ve tried, this has worked the best for me. Why is that? The P90X program offered perfect nutrition advice in the diet/food guide provided. The Team Beach Body website is a perfect resource for any questions/concerns people may have about particular workouts, movements, diet, foods, form, etc. As for my aerobic class spree, I went to pilates/yoga regularly and did my best to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and proteins, so why didn’t that work? Why is this current program supposedly the holy grail of them all?
My current regimen works because I know my weaknesses and challenge them.
It’s so eye-opening to me how much more I can put into a workout when I have someone not only motivating me to push myself, but also helping keep myself in check to make sure that I don’t wimp out by taking unnecessary breaks or not fully pushing myself. I was always not so hot giving my all or, and with this regimen, I am now able to do so. I could have done so before with other programs, but having that sense of community is what really helps me put out the best, strongest me that I can be when kicking those punching bags or doing push-ups on that rugged, rubbery floor.
As for the diet portion of it, at the end of day, if I really wanted to lose weight at that time, I would not have allowed my weaknesses—going out to dinner 3-4 days per week (and eating shitty for you foods), getting tipsy with friends, late night “munchies”—gotten the best of me. You can tell yourself “oh, it’s only one time, I’ll be fine”, but that “one time” usually happened much more than once or twice a week, and over time, it adds up. I guarantee you that if I was more adamant with my P90X diet and pushed myself harder during the workouts that I could have lost way more than 14 pounds. But I wasn’t adamant and I didn’t push myself. I kept saying, “oh whatever, it’ll be fine”. Fact is, I wasn’t fine—I was not committed enough to myself and my goals. Exercise, eating healthy, nutrition, sleep, all of these components make up a long-term relationship that needs as much attention and effort as a new puppy does to help keep improving and progressing towards your desired outcome (but there is a lot less “shit” involved).
When it comes to discovering what your motivators are, it’s no “one-size fits all” type of matter. Some of my “motivators” used to be “not get fat like those chicks on Jerry Springer and Maury”, or “be good looking enough to get a boyfriend”. Not only were those “motivators” artificial, but also were worded every so negatively. Think about what it is that you want and reasons why. Obviously, it would be nice to look good in a bikini—but what other sincere purposes could losing weight and getting healthier serve? Perhaps more energy to go and play with your nieces and nephews, take your dogs out for a walk (they need exercise too! plus, odds are, they miss you), feel more comfortable in your own skin…I could keep going, but there are an infinite number of reasons, or motivators, that could help you continue to be good on your food intake and exercise even on the days that seem the hardest. Find what you are most passionate about and incorporate that with how getting healthy would help better what you deem passionate. Linking such motivators to your personal life like that makes keeping on a much easier task, for me at least, and I think it can work for you too. Oh, and be sure to write your motivators down and put them up somewhere you can see them everyday–the mirror or a dry-erase board on the fridge can work out well. (PS, I know I keep using a lot of past and present tenses incorrectly, but quite frankly, I don’t really care. I mean, I do, and I should care, ugh….I’ll just leave it at “it is something that I’ll work on.”) Anywho…YOLO…just kidding, I hate that phrase. But really, on to attempting to wrap things up.
Alright, I’ll let my babbling end (FOR NOW, ANYWAY). Moral of the story (this is apparently one of my favorite phrases if you haven’t noticed—and yes, I do have morals, thank you very much), though it’s hard to confess to yourself that you go out and drink way too many cocktails than you should (those can add up—seriously, search some of your favorite mixed drinks and look up the calories for it. You’ll be surprised). It’s hard to admit that you eat practically nothing all day then binge-eat at night. It’s even harder to tell yourself that you think you can do these things and still make it work by overdoing exercise, which is exactly what I did. All in all, I think that everyone’s life needs balance—I didn’t balance my diet, so I overdid my workouts (as in how many per day/week, not necessarily how much I pushed myself). But not just balance in the physical area of our lives, also the psychological ones as well—mental health, length and quality of sleep, etc.
Learning to work WITH exercise programs/regimens that refrain me from giving in to my weaknesses, AKA slacking, works best for me. Not overthinking what I’m eating but just trying to eat what mother nature provides has helped me freak out less about what I put into my body. Determining my success by how I feel and not what the scale tells me (which is just a number that does not tell us our muscle and bone mass—as you workout, muscle gets larger and is much more dense than fat) and just by how my clothes feel. This gives me a more balanced mindset (less crazy outbursts, basically). By practicing this regularly, I cannot tell you how fabulous I am learning to feel about myself physically and mentally. Sure, I’m still self-conscious about my body, but my self-esteem and personal body image are much more positive. I don’t yell at myself or give me a hard time anymore. That’s something we all should be striving for, not just a “hot bod”. Oh, and remember to eat for fuel—not for fun. It’s a hard habit to break, but you can do it. If I can reduce my ketchup intake (rumor has it one does not need ½ cup of ketchup for a cheeseburger and ¼ cup for French fries—something I would do regularly), then you can do fucking anything! We’re all pretty strong individuals and we tend to forget that. It’s time to bring that strong, confident, hot ass bitch in you out—she (or he) has a lot of joy to bring into your world. Make it happen.