Marnin’ everyone! 🙂 I’m happy to announce that yesterday was a MUCH better day at the office, thank goodness…it was touch-and-go there for a bit, but I think I might be feeling better about it all now!
It could also have been due to some amazing eats in my world yesterday too though 🙂 I started off with a chorizo burrito from the burrito lady that comes to our office:
Spicy chorizo with spicy salsa? YES PLEASE. That sucker kept me full for almost 6 straight hours too! For lunch Nate was super sweet and brought me my favorite frozen meal: Lean Cuisine’s Butternut Squash Ravioli:
I had a great walk on my lunch break and made sure to come back nice and sweaty. It’s good for office moral, you know 😉 Dinner was courtesy of Jason & Steph tonight for community group, and the first thing I saw upon entering the house was this:
The Joyful Kitchen VI: Joy in Exercise
This is my second to last week of the Joyful Kitchen Series, and based on a subject that is continually evolving in my life: exercise. To give a little background, growing up I would much rather have read the day away than go outside and play. My parents signed me up for basketball and soccer, but all I really wanted to do was curl up with my latest and greatest Babysitters Club book and dream I lived in Connecticut (weird, I know). When I went to middle school, I decided to go out for competitive athletics…in those days they just lumped all the “athletes” together and you would either be on the ‘A’ team, the ‘B’ team, or just ‘train’ for another sport down the road. I was extremely surprised that, when I went out for volleyball, I made the ‘A’ team! And not just made it, STARTED on it! From that point on I was hooked on athletics.
I played Junior Olympic/club volleyball from 7th-12th grade and played in school as well. I also played golf, and still love both sports to this day. And y’all? I was GOOD! I didn’t love the workouts, but I loved the competition, the spirit, the teamwork, and WINNING. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m extremely competitive 🙂 In high school I burned out on volleyball though, and through that decided not to continue playing in college. However, in college, when I wasn’t playing a sport, I decided I needed to do something to stay in shape. And that is where my love affair with exercise began.
I ran, I lifted weights, I rode my bike, I swam, I stretched, and I played intramurals. It was SO EASY…I had free (to me…thanks Mom & Dad!) access to the rec center, which was amazing, and I was there every single day. Many of the friends I made were from the rec center! Working out was easy, it was accessible, and it was fun. And then I graduated from college.
Since then it has been a struggle to find TIME to exercise, to keep up with my strict exercise routine from college, and at times to even exercise at all. However, along the way, I’ve figured some things out that have helped me and are continuing to help me have more exercise in my life:
- Be nice to yourself. As with food, there have been a lot of times that I have guilted myself into exercising or not exercising. That makes it NO FUN at all, and in the process I said some really mean things to myself; things I would never EVER say to another human being! So why did I do that? Exercise had become my justification for eating, and if I didn’t do it I would swear I wouldn’t eat…but then I would because, you know, I’m a human and need to live. And then I would feel horrible and beat myself up for not taking the time to workout. All that to say: be nice to yourself. One day away from the gym won’t make you fat, doesn’t mean you’re stupid, and doesn’t mean you’re lazy. Get over it and move on!
- Give yourself a break. From the title, this kind of sounds like #1, but I mean it literally: take some rest days! Physiologically your muscles NEED time off to recoup, heal, and grow stronger. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by working out every single day, but what you’re actually doing is making yourself weaker and hurting your chances of sticking to that regimen in the long run. I try to take 1-2 rest days a week, and on those days will stretch, sleep, and do some light walking. That’s it and that’s all.
- Be thankful. What can you do physically? Can you walk? Run? Lift weights? Do advanced yoga poses? The sad reality is that there are a lot of people who would KILL to have the physical capabilities you have…be thankful for the BLESSING of having a functioning body.
- Mix it up. For 4 years straight I would run 7-8 miles a day, lift full-body weights for an hour, and then do 30 minutes of ab work. Every day. And it was the exact same thing EVERY DAY. I hit plateau after plateau after plateau, and all the while just kept thinking that if only I could do one more hammer curl, run one more mile, whatever, then I would get past the plateau and start growing again. Now I know that if I had just done something to keep my body guessing (i.e. swim for an hour or take a yoga class) I probably would have seen much faster and HAPPIER results. Changing your workouts keep your muscles growing (not necessarily in size, but in capability) and it makes YOUR LIFE a lot more exciting! Make it a point to try something new once a week 🙂
- Find something you love to do. For a while for me that was running. Then it was walking. Then it was spin. Then it was weight training. And now we’re back to walking again. The point is though, if I’m not doing something I really enjoy, I don’t do it, simple as that. It’s not from laziness, but rather from wanting to live my fullest and best life possible…and there’s no way I can do that by running marathons when that’s the last thing I want to do. You can change it up when it comes to anything, so pick something you enjoy and go with it! You deserve that.
- STREEEEEEEETCH. For real, you have to stretch. I don’t want to hear the groaning, “But I don’t need to stretch!” ” It takes too long…” “It hurts…” YOU NEED TO DO IT. I hated stretching and never ever stretched…and then it got to the point in this past year where, because of the muscular imbalance in the muscles surrounding my knee, stretching was the only thing I could do. And y’all, that CHANGED MY EXERCISE LIFE FOREVER. Turns out all you gotta do is actually DO it and it stops hurting, stops seeming useless, and starts helping your body. Take a yoga class, sit in a park and do it, have a partner help stretch you out at the gym. JUST DO IT. You’ll thank me 🙂
By no means are these supposed to guarantee that every workout you have is going to be face-rocking…in fact, I will guarantee that there will be days you hate working out and want to do anything but. Go ahead…don’t work out. I’m giving you permission. But just know that the next day you’ll feel better and be able to come back stronger than ever. And the joy part? The fact that your body is moving in a way that honors you is all the joy you need. Do what you love and love what you do 🙂