Finding My Fitness Style

For as long as I can remember, I have been active. 

In elementary school I played basketball, and in fifth grade began playing on a competitive travel team. I continued playing on this team until I was in the 10th grade (when I realized I’d rather spend weekends with friends, instead of at basketball tournaments).

When I started junior high, I also began playing volleyball. In 8th grade I was asked to start for the girls’ varsity basketball team. Throughout high school I played, and was quite successful, at both sports. I was blessed with some natural athletic ability, but also put in a lot of hard work both during the season and throughout the summers and off-seasons. 

I tell you all this, not to brag about my abilities, but to give you a picture of how my venture into exercise and fitness began. 

Enter college: I no longer played an organized sport, and felt lost. Gone were the daily, multiple hour practices and games to help me stay fit. I was left to my own devises when it came to exercising. I wasn’t quite sure how to attack this new challenge. 

It’s important that you know this is also around the time that my eating disorder began. I began restricting food and OVER exercising.

The college years were a mix of ups and downs with regards to exercise. Time was short, and since I was restricting a LOT of calories, I rarely had the energy to workout, even if I had the time. 

Upon graduation, I got a teaching job, moved, planned a wedding, and got married. Needless to say, free time was minimal, and fitness took a backseat. 

The year after we were married was when I really began drastically over-exercising. I’d never been a runner, but since I didn’t know how else to exercise (sadly, no team sports for 20-something year olds), and since I knew running burned a lot of calories (my main objective for exercising), I began running. I started small, but eventually worked up to running at least 5-6 miles a day (for me, that was a lot). 

I don’t 100% agree with this. You should run to be healthy!

Looking back, I have no idea how I was able to keep that up. I was SO under-nourished and under-fed. I guess I owe it to the fact that I’ve always been in relatively good shape. 

In the past 2 years, I think I’ve really begun to find my fitness style. 

After a period of absolutely NO exercise – in order to get my body to a healthier place, I was allowed to begin very low intensity exercise. 

I feel like I need to take a minute to discuss how I felt about this. While I love this community of healthy living blogs, they were, and at times still are, a place of comparison for me. I compared myself to others, with regards to exercise. While I was doing 30 minutes of yoga, I was reading about women who were running miles and doing strenuous strength workouts. I was doing what was healthy for me, and they were doing what was healthy for them. However, it’s sometimes hard to rationalize that fact. The comparison trap is a nasty, nasty place. 

I have since found that I am not a runner. I have never enjoyed running, for as long as I can remember. And when I was at the point of running miles a day, I didn’t enjoy it…I just DID it. 

I’ve discovered that I LOVE pilates and barre routines. They never fail to leave me feeling the burn far into the next day. I’ve also found that no/little equipment circuit routines are my jam. Quick, effective, and they get the job done. 

Now that I’m doing better in my recovery, I’ve started incorporating a day or 2 of some HIIT or tabata into my workouts, although, they don’t involve running. Think burpees, squat jumps, lunge jumps, mountain climbers, high knees, etc. 

I guess my point in writing this post is to share with you that I’m not a runner…and THAT’S OK

Running is NOT the end all, be all in the fitness world. I’ve stayed fit by doing exercises that I actually enjoy and look forward to. I still feel the burn. Oh boy, do I feel it! And usually MORE burn than I did purely running! I’ve got calves, a butt, a little ab and arm definition, and I like it!

Why do I exercise anyway? 

I do it to have a body that can serve me well in the daily activities that I WANT and NEED to do. I do it to have a little tone and definition. I do it to relieve stress. I do it to be HEALTHY – not skinny. I do it because I LIKE it. Not “force myself to like it” but, really and truly enjoy and look forward to my workouts. 

Sure, those old demons sneak it sometimes, telling me that I need to exercise to burn off calories, but that’s not why I want to exercise.

So, if you’re not a runner, THAT’S OK. We non-runners can unite! 

I definitely don’t want to offend those of you who are runners. In fact, I envy you and look up to you! I don’t know how you do it! Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be a runner too. But it’s going to be because I WANT to run, because I LIKE it, or because I’m feeling really up to the challenge. Not because I feel like it’s what I “should” do or “need” to do. 

So, Treat Yourself today, and exercise because you love it and to keep your body healthy. Treat Yourself to your favorite kind of workout. Thanks Becky for hosting the link-up!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

What’s your exercise style?

How did you discover your exercise style?

What are your favorite workouts? I’m always on the lookout for something new! 

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5 thoughts on “Finding My Fitness Style

  1. I think there’s all sorts of workout styles, and I’m glad you addressed it! I think people can be intimidated into not working out because they think they HAVE to run, or they HAVE to do this or that, when really, it’s all about what makes YOU happiest and helps YOUR body feel the burn and get the best workout possible! I’m definitely a runner, but just because I grew up growing sports that involved a ton of running, I’m terrible at yoga and pilates and Zumba type stuff 🙂 It’s pretty embarrassing actually!

    • I think you’re right. People avoid exercising at times because they feel intimidated about what they’re “supposed” to do. Really, just do what makes you feel good! I wish I was a runner! Pilates I do love, Zumba though, that’s a whole different story. I have no rhythm! 🙂

  2. AWESOME post, Sarah. My favorite part was “I was doing what was healthy for me, and they were doing what was healthy for them” << AMEN! I had always been a runner, but can admit I’ve compared myself to others at times… esp. when first upping my mileage for a marathon. The comparison trap can be a nasty thing, but also beautiful. Beautiful because if you come out on top, you feel as if you conquered the world 🙂

    • Thanks, Jessie! The comparison trap is definitely a slippery slope, but you’re right, when we conquer it, it sure is a great feeling! We’ve just gotta keep doing what’s best for US, and no one else.

  3. Pingback: Quesadilla Casserole – WIAW {2/19/14} |

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