At the Fit Farm blog, we typically write how-to guides on exercise, nutrition, and motivation. But today, I want to share my own personal love/hate relationship with fitness. I hope that it gives you the courage to share yours too. Because honestly, sometimes it just helps to hear about the experiences of others to put things in perspective and get motivated.
I’ve never been a skinny gal. As a kid, I had a chubby phase that extended itself well into a 10-year stretch. My mother meant well. She wanted to provide everything for me that my heart desired. Unfortunately, my heart desired Little Debbie cakes and Doritos (which are still a favorite to this day—why am I like this?) To combat my poor food selections, mom enrolled me in every class offered at a local dance studio. Tap dancing, ballet, jazz dancing, gymnastics; I took it all. I rode my bike all over my neighborhood every day, because back then kids actually played outside. But, nothing seemed to work. Unlike all the string bean girls in my dance classes and at school, my frame was just larger.
In high school, I finally found something that I loved: running. It was the one thing that gave me the slightest boost in confidence, because, as many of you know, kids can be cruel. And, as a decently unpopular kid ridicule wasn’t hard to come by. The first mile I ever ran, I completed it in just over 7 minutes. For reference, the average time for an in-shape runner is 7-10 minutes, which means the average for an out-of-shape 13-year-old has to be longer than that, right? (Let me have this one.)
As with all good things, the effectiveness of running came to an end. It turns out that aging joints really hate running. No, they loathe it. It wasn’t long before I had to stop running because of an injury. And then, I tried to run through the injury (I know, right? Idiot.) Temporarily benched and completely bummed, I chose to bask in a pity party for one. I slummed it hard, made best friends with my couch, and rekindled my friendship with Doritos.
It’s really hard to describe, but basically, I was stuck in a cloud of dissatisfaction that seemed to always hover. Of course, the worse you feel, the less motivation you have, the bigger the cloud gets. You know you should do something but your mind can’t possibly focus on what, nor can it drive your body to do it. I bought bigger clothes. I filled my life with plenty of fruitless distractions. Let’s face it, hiding the problem within you is easier than facing it head on.
The pity party ended abruptly when I landed an interview for my dream job. I headed to the closet to grab the quintessential interview pants. It’s a no go. Backup pairs, nope and nope. And the last resort ‘big pair’ that we all hold onto and store in the back of the closet for a rainy day? Oh yes, my friends, even those were unbearably tight. The fire was lit that day as I sat through that interview, barely able to breathe in those ridiculous, stupid, back-of-the-closet pants.
Over a year had passed since I last worked out. I hit the treadmill, said so long to the junk food, and set out on the path to better health. After a few months, my heart rate was stabilizing during strenuous cardio, but the weight was stubborn. I had hit a plateau. I finally sought the advice of a personal trainer who recommended the incorporation of weights into my routine. I had always thought weights were for dudes. Turns out, they’re for everyone. That one simple revision to my exercise program made all the difference. The pounds hit the road. The interview pants fit once again.
Interestingly enough, the running injury that started my downward spiral was due to incorrect form. Thanks to the advice of a professional trainer, I learned what to look for, how to adjust, and how to handle injuries properly. They even introduced me to exercises I never even thought to try that are still a part of my routine today. My joints still aren’t too thrilled with running, but I wouldn’t be the happier, healthier individual I am without their expertise.
Now I want to hear from you. What has been your experience? What particular struggles are you looking to overcome? Let’s talk it out! We can help each other and the rest of our fitness family in the process because we’re stronger together. You can find me here. Thank you for listening.