Take care of yourself, you’re worth it.

There is no shortage of advice on physical fitness. There are accounts devoted to specific programs and showing the progress photos of individuals of various body types and lifestyles. We are bombarded with it – whether we want to be or not.

I used to fall in with the people who are constantly irritated with this kind of posting. Even to the point of it pushing me away from exercise because I did not want to be associated with this “bragging” behavior and I didn’t feel I could truly achieve their level of fitness anyway. I’m busy. I’m working hard already. Why add more stress?

What I have learned in the last 100 days of consistently choosing to work out is that it is as much mental as it is physical. We’ve heard this before. I’d heard it a ton. But it finally clicked after two babies and whole bunch of health issues.

From my “gym” in my messy nursery (see picture) – I figured out how to stick to and love the process of working out. I figured out how to access my mental strength for the benefit of the physical. I learned the power of progress vs. the expectation of a finish line.

My mom is a fitness instructor, and she knows her stuff. Growing up I had the privilege of watching her choose her all around health by committing over and over to learn and teach her aerobics workouts. She would always invite me to attend her classes or try them at home as she learned them. I did here and there,  but never consistently. As I grew up I became less and less inclined to invest in my physical fitness. I found a lot of really good excuses – often having to do with time and energy and the fact that I moved around enough because of our mandatory phy ed class and my involvement in the musical and softball.

Through highschool, that was fine. In some senses, my excuses were true and valid. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was teaching myself bad mental habits. My self talk regarding fitness was largely negative or having to do with mandatory obligations, rather than my choice to care for my body.

College went as it typically does for freshmen. I ate a lot, and not healthily. Slept weird hours. Went through crazy ups and downs of stress and excitement. By the end of that year, my body was completely out of whack and my brain was no better.

Enter the downward spiral and deterioration of my overall health.

It wasn’t until I had my first baby that I really began to think about my physical health and make conscious choices regarding it. I found an online workout program that I enjoyed doing called Core De Force, (MMA fighting – who woulda thought!?), and I stuck to it. Two rounds of thirty days.

After my second pregnancy I was determined to continue on my journey towards health and strength. I knew that postpartum would be a reality check for me, as it was with my first, so I tried to be prepared.

Long story short, I made it through that initial postpartum stage through the help of many things – but working out was crucial.

I’m 7 months postpartum now, and I am in better shape than I have ever been in my life.

What I have finally figured out is that my mind has just as much power (if not more) than my body when it comes to working out. The way that I talk to and about myself makes all the difference when it comes to my fitness journey.

Here’s the deal. For me, I have contemplated becoming a coach because I love Beachbody workouts and I love their products, but I have concluded that right now – this would not be good for me, or for you.

I have been able to stick to my workouts and my clean eating not because of a program, but because there was a shift in my mentality. I had to stop doing it for anyone but myself. I don’t post about it often because I don’t want it to become an addiction to affirmation because it isn’t about you, it’s about me.

Working out has become a routine for me, and it is deeply personal. It is my main source of self care. As an Enneagram type 2, (more on that in this previous post) self care is hard. Finding outlets that are not in some way about someone else is challenging, especially as a mom. Working out is the one routine I have found that is truly about me and there are no strings attached elsewhere. In the long run, it helps my family for me to be stronger – but the actual act of working out is for me.

So, why write this public post if my fitness journey is so personal?

I was realizing that while I used to hate workout posts, I would have appreciated the encouragement of someone in the same boat. I would have appreciated the reminder that working out is for the individual and no specific coach, program, or gym is going to fit everyone. I would have liked to read about a busy person who didn’t have it all together but found a way to enjoy the process of working out and to see results without it over taking everything else.

Gaining a healthy perspective of my body, and in turn my mind and heart is the best result I have gained so far (the abs and endurance aren’t bad either) in this process.

I’m here to just say, you need to do you. You need to find what works for you. Whether you hate the concept of working out, or you coach fitness classes at your local gym – you need to constantly be committing to YOURSELF on this journey towards all around health. Unfortunately, another person’s process and progress will not align to yours. Everyone is different. The combination of our physical differences and our mental differences makes any formula nearly impossible. Yes, there is stuff out there proven to work – but you have to do the work to find what works for YOU.

You need to be adjusting and readjusting as your life shifts from one stage to the next.

If the accountability of a personal coach encouraging your at home workouts is what you need – Beachbody may be a fit. If  group fitness seems like the best way to motivate you – look into local  classes/gyms and take that first step. If you love fitness, and helping others motivates you – maybe coaching or teaching a class is what you need to keep you on track.

We all need a kick in the butt every once in awhile. Maybe this is yours.

Take care of yourself, you’re worth it.