NOTE: The following is an excerpt from my NEW e-book, “The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Basics.” Now available on Amazon.
We think of physical fitness and getting fit as a very linear process: All we have to do is go to a gym (which we hate) and wear clothes that we feel uncomfortable in and sweat until we’re miserable while someone yells at us about how worthless we are and how we want to look good in our swimsuits this summer and all we can think about for that hour is how badly we want a cheeseburger…
Yes, it’s great to sweat sometimes. Yes, it’s good to move and be active. But in my experience, engaging in exercise you hate, just for the sake of exercise, is not very motivating. I hate bashing my head against a wall repeatedly, therefore I don’t do that. Ever.
The ultimate challenge when it comes to finding and encouraging your physical fitness is to find the type and style of exercise that you enjoy doing. If you like something, you’re much more likely to repeat it again. And to want to go back. It’s a way to encourage yourself to exercise. Rather than punish yourself for taking the first step towards health.
I have not had a gym membership in nearly seven years. Why? Because I HATE the gym! Nothing against running on a rat wheel watching tv soap operas you wish you could change the channel for and listening to beefcake people who want to “pump you up.” It’s just not for me.
I don’t like feeling as though people are staring at me in judgment as I struggle to lift my five pound weights. I don’t like being surrounded by mirrors that point out and reflect my every flaw that I already intimately know about and would prefer not to stare at. I don’t like the feeling of being at a meat market as everyone sizes up the competition and the potential dating field. So no, gyms are just not my idea of a good time. So what do I do instead? What’s the secret to my girlish figure?
I do what I want. And I encourage you to do the same.
Some days that means just a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood with my puppy. Some days that means I kayak on the lake, or go for a short run on the nature trail. Some days I try my hand at rock climbing or ride my bicycle to happy hour or hike or swim or play volleyball with friends. And of course, there’s the yoga too.
And guess what? Once I stopped beating myself up about not going to the gym, I’m now healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. Because I exercise regularly – just not always in the spandexed and iPod-ed way of the fashionable mirror-staring gym elite.
It’s me, taking charge of my own health, in a way that makes me happy. Not in the way that makes John or Jill or Jack or Sally or whoever else happy. Not the way some great fitness instructor told me I should workout to get whatever my desired results may be. No. I’ve found a way to exercise that makes my mind, body and heart happy, and that has made all the difference in the world. I encourage you to do the same. Ask yourself, what activity makes me feel better? Then do that.
Sure, keep an open mind. Definitely try new things, mix it up and put yourself out there. But remember, ultimately it’s your life, your workout and your results – so take responsibility for your own enjoyment and health!
To read more about how Yoga transformed my workout routine and overall health, and to start your journey towards a healthier mind, body and spirit, be sure to check out “The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Basics”. For just $5.99, this e-book will walk you gently through a series of basic yoga poses with humor, stories from my own practice, practical tips and over 2.5 hours worth of online video guides and content!