So I’ve been thinking, I know what it is that “makes me sweat” – but I sometimes have a hard time piecing offering others advice on how to get to that “I love to workout” phase that I’m in. I think it’s partly because its not only just a good habit of mine but it’s become innate, it’s part of who I am, it’s part of my daily routine and I honestly do miss it when I either skip a workout or am *forced* to take a rest day. I’m weird, I know – but I just love a good sweat. I just do.
But I realize that’s not really the right answer when someone asks me for advice or simply “how do you do it??”
The reason I’m thinking this over? I received a blog comment recently from someone looking to get back into a solid fitness regime and asked me for some advice on where to start. For me, it’s easy to say – “pick something you love and do that” because I just so happen to have found TONS of workouts that I love to do that keep me interested and motivated and that are FUN to do.
But I realize there is so much more to it than just finding something you love. Factors like:
- Budget – is a gym membership affordable? Especially at a gym that includes group fitness classes (which I’m always way more drawn to than the cardio machines and weight room)
- Schedule – is working out in the morning or the evening better for you? If morning and the gym isn’t an option, do you have room to do some workouts at home? If so, you know who I’m going to recommend in a heartbeat – Cathe Friedrich of course!
- Environment preference – do you prefer the comfort of your own home or are group environments more your thing? For some, a mix of both is ideal as it gives you lots of options and flexibility (read: no excuses not to get ‘er done!)
- Physical fitness – are you recovering from an injury? Do you have weak or injured knees prone to injury? Than something like running might not be ideal (despite the great workout that it can be) but a spinning class may be more up your alley.
There are obviously way more factors than I listed here, but it’s a good start. The long and short of it truly comes down to preference – what can you realistically fit into your schedule that you will enjoy enough to come back for more? If you are truly a newbie, it might be better to hit a few group fitness classes at your gym to test-run what you like and what you don’t like. It’ll also be hugely helpful for things like figuring out proper form for weight lifting (if your class offers weight training classes like Group Power, which I heart!). If you’ve been working out for awhile but aren’t seeing results or are just bored with it. Try an at-home workout from Cathe (I promise, you will not be disappointed!!) or gather a few friends to keep eachother honest – start a running group like I did when I first started running if you’re interested in giving it a whirl. It makes it more of a social activity and less like the often-dreaded “workout” that it can be.
Clearly, I could go on and on and on. My point is – a good sweat should have an element of fun to it or why bother? I’ve made some great friends through my love of fitness which is just an added bonus in my book – a good sweat, a few good friends, and more energy/confidence/enthusiasm, not too shabby for the effort you put into it, if you ask me. 😉
So now I gotta know – what makes YOU sweat? What drew you to fitness to begin with? When was your ah-ha moment? Or, if you’re still figuring it all out, what are you struggling with? I’m all ears!
Great post Jess! My a-ha moment was turning 30 and being 40 lbs overweight. I would advise a newbie (albeit, depending on personal fit level) to start with a personal trainer. Once a base is built, they can move on to group X classes. I say that because my Group X classes are pretty intense and I can see a newbie getting discouraged with the level of difficulty.
When I get to the plateau’d moment, I have to take a step back and look at my nutrition and evaluate, am I overworking myself?
That’s where I’m at right now. Thanks for writing, very though-provoking post!
I have to agree with you that for some, starting with a group fitness class might seem daunting or intimidating unless you get the right instructor who is helpful vs. barking orders at you right out of the gate. I can honestly say that I’m not an order barker, have no fear. 😉
The personal trainer idea is a good one – except if budget is an issue, but there are some gyms that will offer that kind of service on a “trial” basis free of charge. In that case, I say go for it!
PS. Good for you on your aha moment! I bow to you 🙂
Hi Jessica, people shouldn’t forget considering what they are aiming at. Do you want to get in shape for the new bikini? Do you want to lose weight after giving birth? Do you want to get a better condition after too many hours in front of your PC and with un-healthy food in the lunch break? Or do you want to look fab at your next highschool reunion party? But most of all – I totally agree with you – it’s about fun. If you found the work out you love, you won’t have to force yourself to find time for it. I always HATED sports until I started running. Now I can’t think of anything better to get a clear head and fresh ideas after (or before) a long day with too many phone calls, emails, meetings and junk food. “Start running and don’t stop!” Hugs, J
Yay, Julia. Your first blog comment, love it. 🙂
You make excellent points – having a goal (or two or three) in mind will help when it comes to figuring out what makes you sweat and what you want to come as a result of that sweat.
But having fun while doing it makes it that much easier to come back to the next day, and the day after, and the day after that! I love that mantra – start running and don’t stop! This from a first-time half-marathoner, too!
Great post! Although I am not sure I have ever had the “ah-ha” moment. I have always been a runner…my Dad started me running at the competitive level starting at 8 years old and I guess I just never stopped. Running has just always been a part of me….
Wow, Kelly. That is impressive! I was soooo not into sports or competitive running when I was young so it took getting to my college years for my love of fitness to REALLY sink in, in a big way.
I used to always run and workout purely to burn calories so I could be “skinny.” My focus has dramatically changed and my motivation is health. I want to keep my blood pressure levels healthy and avoid diabetes which runs in my dad’s side of the family. I don’t want to have any heart problems. I want to be energetic and active enough to keep up with everyone else!! 🙂
I’m so proud of you for flipping that switch and focusing on being healthy versus being “skinny.” There is such a distinction between those two and I’m so glad to see that you’ve found that balance you’ve been looking for!
Great post – now I just need pictures of your gym please 😉
I took gymnastics up until 5th grade then I started ballet and that was all she wrote until about 2 yrs ago (I’m old and it’s hard to find advanced adult classes). I started going to up the gym as it became harder to find more than 1 or 2 ballet classes a week. Walked on the dreadmill, then slowly added in running. My sister was doing The Firm tapes (yes tapes), so I tried those, then onto Jari Love, then the Queen of all kick-butt workouts – Cathe. I love lifting now, love doing step, kickboxing and running with the hubs.
I know, I know, I totally owe you that post Heather! I promise to get it done, maybe this weekend???
And PS. I didn’t know it had only been about two years since you got into fitness as much as you are today. You are rockin’ quite the hard body, I gotta say!! Go you! 🙂
I said that wrong actually – was rambling. It’s been 2 years now since I’ve danced at all. I started trying things like The Firm and the dreadmill about 6 yrs ago when I stopped performing and classes dwindled. My bad.
Like Em, my main motivation to exercise always used to get skinny/thin. Then when I was unable to workout because of injuries, I realized I needed it more for my mental sanity! I just feel better about all of my problems after working out, and that is honestly what motivates me to get movin’. Plus, I sleep SO much better! I ❤ my sleep. 🙂
TOTALLY agree- mental sanity is huge for me, too. Working out can be a GREAT stress reliever, or a way to work things out in your head if you’re struggling to make sense of something – oftentimes, a good sweat will make everything just a little bit clearer for me.
Of course, there is also something to be said for massages as a form of stress relief, but then, those cost a lot more money than a gym membership 😉
I first started working out as a means to lose weight but now feel like working out makes me feel better emotionally than it does physically.
I have an a-ha moment every morning when i get dressed and look at myself in the mirror. By the end of the day it goes away and there’s no motivation what so ever… any tips on how to get and stay motivated? I just feel so lazy, and my schedule doesn’t really help matters… and funny thing, i always enjoy working out while i’m actually doing it, but I’ve never been a fan of sweating! This my friend does not help the situation.
LOL Dan, you crack me up!! Not a fan of sweating? I swear – I hate it for the first five minutes, but once you get a REALLY good sweat going, you learn to love it. I promise I’m not lying. The trick, at least for me, has been to just STICK to a workout schedule for at least two weeks straight and after that, you are much more apt to keep it up. If you do it just here and there, you are much less likely because you don’t feel so wedded to the schedule you know? plus, once you start seeing results, you don’t want to stop either. 😉
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I finally went back to the gym last night. I had to get my membership in order, but then I did a little bit. I still haven’t found my fitness passion yet. I tried running on the treadmill, but I need new shoes, maybe. My arches hurt like there was too much pressure the first thirty seconds I went over 3.5. Notmy legs, hips, shins, knees, or even ankles–just the inner arches of my feet. Do you know of any shoes that might fix this? I did use this stairstepper-ish cybex machine for forty five minutes, along with hip abductor/adductor, two ab machines, and the row machine. Any continued advice would help. 😀
YAY! I’m so glad you made the first step back into the gym, I know it’s NOT easy to do after a bit of time away from it. Good for you! As for your arches, I highly recommend going to a sporting good store (like Dick’s or Sports Authority or something like that) and having them help fit you for the right kind of sneaker for your feet. If you have high or low arches you’ll need a specific sneaker for that, that’ll help with shock absorption. They’ll also help you figure out what kind of stability/motion control you’ll need. Once you find the “right” sneaker for you, you’d be amazed at what a difference it really does make! Good luck!