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).
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.
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!