Workouts: To do, or not to do..that is the question.
Regular (not excessive) exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. As many of you know, I am an avid crossfitter, and I love outdoor sports such as hiking, Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, paddle boarding…and so many more! All of these are things I make time to do, and look forward to doing—because I so enjoy them! These activities challenge me, both physically and mentally, energize me, and even relax me (excellent stress relief.)
Now, you send me to a regular gym, where I’m put on a routine, doing “cardio” and “strength.” I am bored to death and looking for more. I love the high intensity and constantly varied nature of Crossfit. My entire body is worked, it’s never the same thing, and I don’t have to spend hours in the gym or on machines. Again, that’s just me. And, what a regular exercise program is to you, is what you like doing. If it’s a chore to you, you get bored with it and quit. You hate it and dread it, well, chances are that you will not even get started, or if you do, you will stop.
Then, you realize you need movement, and you’re back on the cycle of start-quit-start-quit. When working with clients, many think they are going to be required to go the to gym, which they have zero desire to do. Because it’s viewed as a task, or they truly detest and dread it, they will put it off and find excuses, as I’m sure many of you do. First, I tell them that the excuse train has left the station. Then I ask them, like you should ask yourself, “What activities make you feel good, that you look forward to doing?”
For some it’s simply walking, yoga, gym training, Crossfit (or high intensity training,) dancing (yes, that’s movement!) For others, they have no idea! If that’s you, get out and try some new things! Might you feel goofy or uncomfortable trying something new? Sure! Who cares! You should have seen me when I began skate skiing!
Okay, truth be told, 7 years later I’m still not good! But I have fun, even when one of my favorite instructors made fun of me for “looking like a chicken with a broken wing!” I just laugh at myself now. I don’t care how old you are—you are never too old to find an activity you love—whether you’re good at it or not! I have a former client with whom I cross-country ski. She didn’t even start until she was 58 years old! She’s now 65 and we enjoy just getting out there and having fun. She is even overcoming things like downhills that terrified her. She’s doing them! That is what it’s about, my friends.
Now, I admit, not being an early morning person, when I have to get up super early to do a race or start hiking before the summer sun gets too strong, I curse that alarm when it goes off and literally say out loud, “Who the hell’s idea was this?!” Yes, it’s always mine! And, I get up, out, and once I start am so in my happy zone. But you see the difference, right? I love doing it, so I might whine a bit at first, but I make time for it. If I dreaded it, hated it, I’d say, “screw it,” and find something else to do. For some, it’s grab a bag of chips and hit the couch, right? That’s what we don’t want. So, you make a list of things you like or want to try, and when you feel fabulous afterward, you will have a much better chance of creating that time in your schedule for you on a consistent basis.
Another thing I’ve had coming up lately is people asking me what gym they should go to, should they Crossfit, or go to a regular gym. I tell them that only they can make that decision. For me, fitness being a huge part of my life, I feel that choosing a gym is like buying a house or a car. I’m going to spend time in it, I want to feel great while there, and look forward to going back. My sanctuary, if you will. No one can feel what you feel. If you have choices where you are, visit all of them! I guarantee you will get a feel after a workout or 2 (and most places give a first workout for free!) of whether it feels “right.” In some small areas there is but one choice. But, you also can add home-based workout programs to give you another choice, as they can be cost-effective and effective.
For those who want to start working out but have fear of doing it in public, this is a fantastic option, and one with so many options! I’ve done many of them myself in the past! In places where you have choices of gyms, don’t sign a contract unless you absolutely feel it’s right! And, not just because your friends are all there. Make sure it’s somewhere where you feel better when you leave than when you walked in the door! If you are already going somewhere that leaves you questioning why you’re there, try something or somewhere different. I recently made a change back to my original Crossfit after 2 ½ years being gone, trying two other gyms. I’m happier and my body is responding as such. The goal is for your mind and body to be working together, in harmony.
As for Crossfit or a “regular gym,” I always recommend someone at least try Crossfit, because they are usually scared of it or think they aren’t in shape enough for it. It’s challenging, yes, but I love that it is modifiable for pretty much everyone and everything! I have worked through injuries and Lyme-caused issues for over 5 ½ years now. But, it’s not for everyone! Some feel better in a traditional gym environment, and that’s great too!