Thursday, March 2, 2017

5 Ways Fitness Changed Me

Those who know me probably know that I'm a bit of a gym rat. You can pretty much count on me being in the gym 4 days a week and doing my own thing on the other days. I wasn't always so committed though. In fact, I used to hate any kind of workout, but that changed several years ago. Once I started working out consistently there were a lot of things that changed actually...

It boosted my confidence.

I was the young teenager who walked around sucking in her stomach to look skinnier. It didn't take me long to realize I didn't have a "thigh gap", and that many of my friends were much smaller than I was. The older I got, the bigger I got and I didn't like it. 

Once I started working out consistently, my focus changed drastically. I knew how hard I worked. I realized what my body type was. I quit trying to "suck it in" all of the time and became much more confident in the way God had made me instead of always wanting to look like someone else.

(Weighted Squat Competition: 60lbs in 3 minutes - I got 105!) 

I found something I was good at.

I was never a super smart student. I could play sports, but was never the "first pick". I took piano and flute lessons for years and was decent, but that was about it. I was fine with those things.

One of the reasons I hated working out was because it only took a few seconds of the workout for me be panting with my heart-rate through the roof. I hated that feeling. Running to the end of the street felt like 5 miles. 

I kept at it and slowly but surely got stronger. My sister and I competed. I lifted a little heavier, ran a little further, and panted a little less. Well maybe not, but I didn't feel like I was dying at the very beginning anymore. 

When my gym had competitions, I started to place near the top. I still didn't have the fastest mile, the longest plank, or the most weighted squats, but I was up there!

(3 Minute Row: I was working towards 800 and got a PR of 786 that day!)

I learned to go further.

I'm the queen of stopping short when I get tired. Lindsey (my sister) actually used to get onto me for this. If I was super tired I would stop with 5 second to go. It's a bad habit I've worked on breaking. 

When others were around I could somehow push a little further (just a bit competitive). I also make small goals in my head. I set out to row 230 meters per minute, but go over that. I decide to run 3 miles, but I'm so close that I might as well turn it into 4. I'll use 25lb dumbbells for the first 3 sets of chest presses, find that I'm not dying yet, so I keep using them! 

Working out has taught me to push myself - more like push my mind - to go further than I think I can go. Because you're usually MUCH more capable than you think you are.

(Thanksgiving 2015 10k: Longest race I'd run...huge accomplishment for me!)

It's taught me self-discipline. 

In 2014 I had a surgery that cut my workouts for two months. At the beginning of last year I had mono and that also cut my workouts for two months. I might have complained about working out before, but once you're in the habit of working out, a break like that is pretty much the worst. I knew two things would happen: I would get used to not working out and I wouldn't want to start back up, and I would be starting from the beginning when I did get back into it. 

Sure enough, both times that happened. I hated getting back into my workouts. I felt lazy and unmotivated. Running was too hard. The weights were too heavy. I was panting again. I cried a few times, and got frustrated many more times. I was going to have to reform the habit. And I did. 

Working out consistently doesn't just help with self-discipline in the gym, it helps in so many other areas in life. It helps in my business. It's taught me to sit at my computer and finish things I don't want to keep working towards a goal when I just want to quit. It helps when life is less than ideal. It's taught me to do the hard things.

(Fun fact: I actually love box jumps)

It's made me happier.

I don't know all of the science behind it, but I know there has been a lot of research about physical activity making people happier. I also know that when I'm in a funk, or have had a rough morning with work, a good workout helps to clear my mind. It helps me gain some perspective and it changes my outlook on the day. I really do feel happier after I'm done. 

Are you convinced of the greatness of a fit lifestyle yet? You don't have to do some crazy hardcore thing to see these changes. Grab a friend and start moving. You won't regret it!

I hit some big PRs in 2016! The two biggest ones were rowing 808 meters in 3 minutes and running my fastest 5k (24minutes)! 


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