When it comes to the fitness/exercise industry, we can easily become intimidated, confused, or otherwise you literally have no idea where to start.
Let’s face it . . . we’ve all been there!
I was a competitive gymnast for years and competed track and field in high school. When all of that ended it was hard stepping out of my comfort zone of having sports to back me up and keep my body moving. I was insanely intimidated and had no idea where to even start. Not to mention, I wasn’t that interested to exercise outside of sports.
That was until I learned the hard way that moving my body was important.
I realized, when my gymnastics and track days were over, that a sedentary lifestyle wasn’t serving me anymore. Not moving my body and being physically active only pronounced the aches and pains and after effects from years of pounding on my joints, pushing my body to extreme limits, and numerous injuries.
This is why I'm determined to spread the word that finding movement you love is important for your health and quality of life.
When you do activities you enjoy, it doesn't feel like exercise or "work."
So, here’s the thing: People tend to associate exercise with “work,” by doing activities that only leave you feeling exhausted and maxed out. When you hear the word exercise, are the first few things that pop into your head things like running a half marathon, CrossFit, and weight lifting? That's usually me too.
When we’re intimidated, most likely we’re going to avoid the thing that’s intimidating us - in this case, it’s exercise. But, what if we shifted our mindset to see fitness or exercise as movement.
Doesn’t it have a nice ring to it?
Already the threat is lower, making it more approachable.
This is how I like to view any type of fitness or exercise routine - as movement.
WHAT IS MOVEMENT? Who is it for?
It's super important for you to understand that you are a bio-individual who has unique needs that only you can satisfy. Basically that means do what you enjoy, not what others think you should enjoy.
Movement can be any form of physical activity that allows you to express yourself in a way that is a positive reflection of your inner athlete (I like to refer to your soul as your inner athlete ;P). Which means, movement is for ev-ery-one!
Why do we do it? Do we need it?
Tons of research suggests that movement is one of the top players for managing stress, anxiety, depression and, according to the CDC, people who engage in regular physical activity "helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases."
Moving your body at least 30 minutes each day in addition to eating nourishing foods will provide you with amazing benefits. And yes, that includes Yoga too. The best part about movement is the variety. Variety is key, and different types of movement will give you different results, but when you do something you absolutely love the results will be amplified!
When I first started "exercising" I didn't know the first thing about it. I was a gymnast. 'Exercise? Physical activity? Going to the gym? What the heck is that?! I can do conditioning (which is all I knew at the time) and flips. The gymnastics gym? Oh. You mean a real gym with treadmills and stair masters and weights. Yea, scratch that.' Serious thought process.
WHY is it hard to stick to?
The problem that most of us have with sticking to a movement routine is two-fold:
we haven’t set a realistic goal that works for us OR
we haven’t found the type of movement we truly enjoy.
With that said, here are my best tips for how to find movement you love:
Start with what you know - don’t try so hard to be someone you’re not, just because other fitness people are doing it doesn’t mean you have to.
Add variety - this is super key to boosting your confidence with movement! Variety allows us to explore and test our bodies in new ways so we can find what truly lights us up from this inside out.
Be consistent - set realistic goals that you’ll actually stick to so you don’t become overwhelmed and be consistent with the time you spend to move your body.
Do what makes you feel good - if Crossfit scares the daylights out of you, then DON’T DO IT! It’s that simple ;).
Find an accountability partner - whether it’s a trainer, a coach, a mentor, a friend, a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/dog, whoever it is, having someone to support you will keep you committed to your goals.
Listen to your body - your body has intuitive thoughts. Pay attention so you can avoid burnout, overwhelm, or worse, injury.
REST! - I hope this is self-explanatory :P
Stay positive - being positive doesn’t mean you can’t have bad or off days, but in order to find movement you love you have to be open to change, discomfort, and the fact that its totally normal to not be the perfect insta-famous fitness model.
Stop Comparing - here is one of my basic principles, ‘Comparison fuels doubt - it is the thief of confidence.’ Your journey is different from everyone else, because it’s YOURS.
Buddy-Up - aside from an accountability partner, having a friend or someone to be active with is a great way to add value and fun to your movements. Nothing like a little friendly competition to boost your performance :D
The challenge: finding the type of movement you enjoy and building it into your life in a way that works best for you.
Having a variety of different movement styles opens the door for so many opportunities to find something you absolutely love. It certainly doesn't have to be running a half marathon once in a while, but it most certainly should be things you are interested in trying.
Movement is a great way to nourish our bodies and improve our health naturally so we can live a higher quality life. Not only is movement an optimal solution to our mental and physical health, it gives us the opportunity to express ourselves creatively and out of love for the body we've been given, rather than punishing it to get the body we want our of fear.
It also bridges the gap between body and mind, re-establishing the strong relationship between the two for optimal health and performance. Once you find the type of movement that you love and start to notice all the benefits, you will eventually thank your body for it!