Why I Chose Not to Give Up on Exercise
For as long as I can remember, the word “fitness” has triggered a feeling of dread in my soul. I know it sounds dramatic, but the feeling is dramatic. Perhaps I lack discipline, perhaps I dislike exercise more than the average woman. Regardless, consistent fitness has always been just out of my reach, and for years I have been saddled with guilt over its absence.
A year ago, I was introduced to an online pilates community called The Balanced Life. A friend invited me to participate in a month-long pilates challenge—a challenge requiring discipline, daily workouts and accountability. Something pushed me to accept, and I am so glad I did. It’s not that I transformed into a completely different person during the course of that month. I did gain strength, muscle tone and positive habits, but I also still occasionally missed workouts, and remained the same sometimes un-motivated, never-perfect lady. The greatest change born out of the challenge was mindset. For the first time in a long time, I was doing something good for my body and actually enjoying it. I wasn’t fixated on burning off x-number of calories, scoring a model figure, or exercising as often as my peers. I was simply choosing to respect my body and mind for 15 minutes each day. And after a while, I began to notice physical differences as well. I was more aware of my core and began to utilize and isolate that muscle group more intentionally. I was able to lift and move my patients at the hospital more easily and more safely. I even started to notice increased muscle tone! (This first happened while talking to a co-worker. As soon as I detected it, I excitedly made her “feel the triceps I didn’t know I had.”) I was making better nutritional decisions and practicing deep breathing and meditation. And magically, I found myself looking forward to my workouts and the sense of strength and calm they invoked.
Robin Long, the founder of The Balanced Life and one of the inspirations behind a re.styled life, is known for her simple yet liberating mantra, “Grace over guilt.” This concept was the key I needed to allow myself to try to consistently care for my body, without a crippling fear of failing. Because where we fail or feel less-than, there is an opportunity for grace and a fresh start.
Friends, do you struggle with consistency in your exercising? What tools do you use to stay disciplined? Let us know in the comments below!
Xo, holl & lil