Hi guys, it’s me. Obviously.
Anyway, coming to you today with episode three of the wellness series in partnership with Under Armour Women.
WATCH THE EPISODE:
How I got into fitness & exercise
For me, I only started working out during college. I had never really played competitive sports during high school, nor felt the need to go to the gym, as I was more of the creative type. However one day got curious about the gym a few of my friends went to, so I made a plan and joined without hesitation. Granted, it wasn’t just my curiosity that motivated me to join, it was also the will to lose weight.
Back then I was motivated for different reasons; however I’m still proud of myself for joining as it’s turned out to be one of the best things I could have ever done. After officially nearly 8 years of working out non stop since joining that that gym in 2009, I can proudly say that having exercise in my life has changed it for the better.
How my routine has changed over the years:
It’s crazy how much my fitness routine has changed over the past few years, but admittedly I have to confess that exercise has almost always been something I loved ever since joining the gym back in 2009. Often I don’t think of exercise as something I HAVE to do, but only that I want to do it because I LOVE it. It’s simply a part of my everyday lifestyle: Moving my body, appreciating my ability to perform, finding confidence through mental strength, living through trauma, expressing emotions and above all figuring out what works best for me throughout the different stages of my life.
And I know some of you feel the same way. HOWEVER I also understand that exercise for some people will never be intuitive or something they look forward to, but sometimes I think that’s because we’re taught to workout for one reason and one reason only: to lose weight, which is where most people can find themselves feeling easily defeated. Some many even see it as a punishment.
I’ve felt that way too…
But when I stopped thinking about workouts as something I HAD to to and something I wanted to do, my perspective changed. I noticed that even after rolling out of bed at 6am and making it to a class, the feeling afterwards was unbeatable. It no longer became about weight loss or punishment. Instead, I craved the positive, energetic emotions flooding through my body as I worked through squats or rode my bike as fast as I could during the summer nights. I felt my heart release it’s grief as I powered through chaturanga and downward dogs.
Over the years, my motivations for exercise grew to be much more they were when I first walked into the gym during college.
So I suppose in a way I have taught myself how to love exercise. I need it in my life because it’s the best therapy out there; a therapy taking place in my own mind that better than any antidepressant or anxiety medication I could be on (just me personally). It improves who I am. It makes me want to be a better person. And most of all, it challenges me BOTH mentally and physically.
My workout routine has changed over the years from yoga to cycling to running to lifting. And guess what? I don’t have to LOVE running all the time or getting my ass kicked at my favorite Crosstown Chicago gym 24/7. What motivates me is doing what I LOVE in the moment and realizing that taking care of myself is important, which sometimes includes simply going for a walk.
Look, you’re never going to feel motivated if you look at exercise as something you absolutely have to do. That’s why it’s so important to find what you love! And celebrate that. It’s okay to be a runner. It’s okay to love Crossfit. It’s okay to be a yogi. YOU DO YOU!
My advice: There is no right or wrong way of exercising. Start doing what feels good to you over what you “should” do. We’re all going to have setbacks in life — tragedies, injuries, and reasons to quit or stop; there’s always going to be an excuse if we look for it.
For me, exercise is all about self love. It’s saying to yourself: I love you; I appreciate what you do for me; I want to challenge you; I want to change you.
Here are reasons to exercise (other than weight loss!):
1.) Confidence in yourself and your abilities outside of the gym
2.) More energy
3.) A sense of appreciation
4.) Feel good endorphins
5.) Creativity improvement
6.) Decreased anxiety & depression
7.) Overall health improvement
8.) Mental strength
9.) It teaches you how to set goals
10.) You learn how to impress yourself
Anyway, I hope you loved this episode, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
So tell me, what motivates you?
How have your fitness and exercise habits changed?
What’s your fitness routine like? Do you love to workout or is it challenging for you to find motivation?
I’m all ears and love hearing from you all! Hope you have a wonderful day. xoxo.
This post is in partnership with Under Armour Women, a partnership I adore. Thanks for supporting AK.
Photography by: Jules Kennedy
LOVING your workout style! Is the gray hooded tank UA, and is it still online?
Thanks Angela! I couldn’t find the exact one online, but this one and this one are awesome / similar!
After dancing my whole life, I struggled to find an exercise routine that I actually enjoyed and it quickly caught up to me. But recently I started going to Pure Barre classes and I am in love! My body is feeling great and I finally found a way to workout my old dance muscles again! Finding the right exercise is tough but so worth the trial and error! love the honesty in this whole post!
So glad you found something new that you love! It’s incredibly important (even through some trial and error!)
I’m pretty sure a healthy amount of exercise is the ONLY thing that keeps my worrying an anxiety at bay. If I don’t want to do it or I’m being grumpy about working out, I always remind myself, “I’ve never regretted a workout.” It’s my personal mantra about getting my butt off the couch 🙂
Such a good mantra!!
I started exercising back in high school to Kathy Smith’s VHS step workouts. My mom had joined Weight Watchers and I supported her with working out with her.
When I went to college, I tried to sign up for PE class so I would be accountable (and my parents were paying for that 1.0 unit class!).
After college, I stopped exercising and just worked, worked, worked. I felt crappy and tired all the time. So I tried to join various gyms but the were never for me (I hated being indoors all the time).
Then I started running. It was ok but I hated it b/c I was always the last one but I did it. I remember my first 5K took me over an hour to finish.
Then boot camps became popular in my area-which was great! I get to workout for an hour outside and get to do a variety of workouts. This is where I became a morning workout person. I would go to my 6 am boot camp class before work and be done with it for the day. During the summers, I would sometimes do the morning AND evening classes (overachiever here).
Then I started doing workouts at home to save money.
Now I am going to Orangetheory which I LOVE and it is not a gym.
Somehow exercise has stuck with me throughout the years. I LOVE it and I do get grumpy if I do not work out for a few days (just ask hubby). Now, as I get older (hello 40s), I try to stay active. Whether that is an indoor workout, hiking, walking, yoga, or playing with the cats.
Thanks so much for sharing your fitness journey, Amy! I can totally relate to whole gym thing (and being stuck inside) – classes and getting outside have worked much better for me, too! Orangetheory is awesome. Keep it up!
After injuring my back twice I had to realize that heavy heavy lifting wasn’t for me despite how much I wanted it to be. I shifted to body weight plyometric activity and never felt better!
Injuries are so tough! But it’s amazing when we can bounce back and find exercises that really work for our bodies. So important!
Love this post! Exercise is such a huge part of my life, but I am currently in the process of revamping it. I realized that I was pushing myself too hard sometimes simply because it was what I had always done, but I wasn’t tuning in as to whether this is what my body actually wanted. It was like I loved the endorphins, but I didn’t always enjoy the process of getting them. Now, I’ve been trying out different workout classes around NYC, focusing on things that sound good versus what I feel I “should” do. Sometimes that means barre instead of lifting, or Pilates instead of HIIT, but as long as my body is happy, I’ll keep challenging that residual mindset of following a rigid workout plan.
Completely agree! I’ve found it’s so important (and much easier) to move your body in a way that sounds good and that you’ll actually WANT to do. Then it becomes a fun challenge and something you enjoy having in your weekly routine!
Like you I crave the positive energetic emotions I feel during and after a workout. My gym going started in earnest following an injury at age 55 and after 2 years of self directed gym workouts I now use a personal trainer 2 – 3 times a week. I focus on fitness and strength and not my weight and love it.
Amazing! The emotions are such an important part. Thanks for sharing Suzie!
I love circuit style workouts and throw in a kick boxing class each week too (the best form of stress relief I have found). Early morning classes are my favorite. As I get more in touch witb my body, I realized I was overdoing it with a lot of HIIT and not enough sleep. Lately I have been working in more strength only workouts and going to the gym after work. Accepting that not every workout needs to be maximum effort and sometimes taking a walk or an extra hour if sleep will be better for my health is helping me fall in love with exercise all over again!
SO true on the sleep, Beth! Completely agree – I’ve found that it has been easier for me to recognize when my body needs a break, which ends up making my workouts that much stronger. Thanks so much for your note!
Like you, exercising makes me feel good and I look forward to my gym time, it’s the time solely for me. While I was on the swim team one year in high school, besides that I didn’t exercise much apart from walking to school and walking around school. I honestly was out of shape, but didn’t do anything about it until college. About a year after meeting my fiance, he got into weight lifting and we started weight lifting 2-3 times a week together. I was that girl that was scared to go to the weight section alone and it helped that we learned deadlifts and squats together. The transformation in my body and muscle gain I saw was amazing. It even improved my swimming as I also would go to open swim a couple times a week. I really got into yoga after college and decided I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I went through the teacher training 3 years ago and it was great, except that I put my weight lifting on hold. I realized weight lifting will always be my first love and I am happy to say I am focusing on that now while still enjoying yoga 2-3 times a week. It feel great to get my strength back and be lifting heavy as my body responds well to it.
I love your wellness series you have created. Keep up the amazing work.
Hi Alicia! Thanks so much for sharing your story here – I LOVE hearing other people’s journeys with exercise (they are all so unique!) I’m glad you’ve found exercises that you love and are a passionate about (and I can relate to the weightlifting and yoga!) So important. Thanks again!
love this article. Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Thanks Monique