The Evolvement Of My Exercise: Finding My Own Happiness in Fitness

by Lauren on October 29, 2012

Hey everyone!

Still safe and sound here in South Central PA.  Fortunately, we haven’t lost power just yet but the numbers are rising by the minute so time will only tell.  We are being told the worst will occur overnight and into tomorrow morning so I’m guessing I may wake up tomorrow to a nice cold and dark house.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe post to share with you tonight since I haven’t been able to salvage any kind of reasonable lighting for the past few days but I do want to share a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now.

I recently ran into an old friend at the gym who has just had a baby a few weeks ago.  Attempting to get back into her pre-baby body, she expressed to me that her life is just so different now that she has a completely different focus.  She once only cared about making sure to make her early morning workouts and now she is more concerned with waking up to spend every second with her little guy before she has to go back to work.

With my current position as a wellness coach, I’m often faced with older clients who are trying to rehab from a surgery or attempting to gain strength back from a condition they have suffered.  My heart breaks when they realize that they are no where near the place they used to be and lifting 10 pounds is all their bodies will allow.  It’s mostly the men, but I am told over and over again, “I used to be able to do much more,” or “I never thought I would get to this point.”

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well because I’ve had a major realization on some of my own health and fitness goals.  I am not the same person I was 5 years ago.  Heck, I’m not the same person I was just 1 year ago so with that, my mind, body and soul has changed.

7 years ago, I began my fitness journey doing nothing but Billy Blanks Tae Bo and the elliptical trainer.  5 years ago, I fell in love with running and did nothing but run for 2 years straight.  3 years ago, I joined a gym and started to get involved in strength classes such as body pump. 2 years ago, I realized I had a deep passion for not only taking RPM but teaching it as well.  1 year ago, I sought out the help of a personal trainer to help build muscle and focus on strengthening my body. Today, I’m trying to find a good balance of it all.

Being a part of the fitness industry, you see so many different workout crazes come and go.  I’m not advocating that one program is better than the other and I think too many people waste their time criticizing others for what they choose or what they choose not to do.

Here is the thing, exercise should be a selfish thing. You should do it for you and you alone.  One thing I tell my clients when we are coming up with workout plans is to look at their gym time as a time for themselves.  No matter what they decide to do that day, enjoy the thought that you are doing it because you know it makes your body and mind feel nourished and strong.

There are so many times when I see what others are doing in terms of fitness (ie. running marathons, training for triathlons, going hardcore into Crossfit) and think, I should probably be doing these things too.  But if I truly stepped back and thought about it, those things wouldn’t make me happy.  Right now, my goal is to be healthy, happy and fit and I’m going to continue to do the things that bring me to this place.

Teaching RPM makes me happy. 

Running 5K’s and fun races with friends makes me happy. 

Getting stronger with TRX and body strength training makes me happy. 

 

Drinking wine makes me happy. 

Okay not really fitness related, but you get the point.

All of these things make me happy and in turn, contribute to my overall health and fitness goals.  Right now in my life, I may not be training for a monumental race or signing up for any fitness competitions, but I’m doing the things my time and body allow and I’m ultimately happy with the way I look and feel.

Next year could be different.  I could be running more, I could be teaching more, or I could be doing none of these things and focusing on resting more.  Really, I’m not sure where I will be but I know I will always choose to do what I know is right for me and my body.

No matter where you are at in your fitness and health journey, I urge you all to take a step back and ask yourself, are you really happy doing what you are doing right now?  Is it best for you and your body alone?  Don’t ever let anyone tell you how you should look or feel and just trust that your own vision of health is the right one.

Question:

How have your fitness goals changed over the past 5 years?

What are some things you choose to do for exercise more because they make you happy than because you think you’ll get fit?

Don’t Forget:

I’m giving away 3 boxes of Health Warrior Chia bars so if you haven’t entered yet, make sure you leave a comment on this post by Thursday.

 

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{ 38 comments }

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

ha! My fitness life has definitely changed over the last five years. Five years ago I was really big on running, picked up strength training along the way, ran a few half’s (halves?!), and gave it all up almost a year ago. This past year has been the most mentally draining year of my life, but I’m glad I’ve gone through it all!

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

And it will all be so worth it! :) <3

Valerie October 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Mine are always changing. I was a college sprinter in college to 5k runner (loved the t shirts) to fitness competitor. Now I think I’m going back to 5k races I really enjoyed those and they are so fun. Next goal is a Marathon:)

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I love 5k’s too! Mainly for the T-shirts. :)

Olivia Hill @ life as liv October 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Oh man, this post is so refreshing! I often feel anxiety, thinking that what I’m doing fitness and exercise-wise just isn’t enough, or hardcore enough in comparison to what a lot of other bloggers do. It’s so important to be reminded to take a step back and look at what actually makes YOU happy. The comparisons will only make you unhappy.

Hope you continue doing what you love and excelling at it!

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Olivia! And you as well! Always do what you love and you’ll never be wrong. :)

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

My exercise has definitely evolved over the years, especially as I’ve learned MORE about fitness and been able to really round out my workouts. But while running the other day I was hit with the reminder that I don’t just workout to stay in shape, I work out because I LOVE it!

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

And that is truly the best feeling!

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Amen girl! I love this post. My fitness journey has definitely evolved and changed over the years as well. It’s interesting how your priorities and interests change and how it can impact your workouts/exercise regimen.

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

So so true! It’s unrealistic to think that you’re regimens will stay constant over the span of your life.

Miranda @ Biting Life October 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Love this post! Sometimes it’s really hard to lose yourself in what everybody else is doing. Focusing on yourself and what makes YOU happy is really important (even if, like drinking wine, it’s not all 100% healthy).

I don’t think that you should use this as an excuse to throw yourself off the deep end (like saying that no exercise whatsoever and only eating cheetos from now on is what makes YOU happy), but not getting caught up in comparing yourself to others is the point of what you’re saying, I think.

Especially in “healthly living blogger land” it’s super easy to become obsessed with judging yourself based on what you see everybody else doing. But as long as you’re doing things you love and you’re doing things that are healthy, that’s all that matters.

Lauren October 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Yep girl, that is exactly what I meant! :)

Joanna October 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

This post is great! It definitely is a good primer to explain how I feel about my running. I’m running a 1/2 marathon in December and training for that. BUT, I don’t have a time goal. And I never time myself when I run. I feel weird when I read all the blogs out there where they have their garmin or whatever and post there exact stats and pace per mile. I’ve come to understand that that’s just not me. I’m just out there to move from point a to point b. Completing 13.1 miles is enough for me and I don’t worry about the clock :)

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

Congratulations on your upcoming race and GOOD FOR YOU for doing this for yourself and not feeling pressured to compete against pressures from others. I had the same mentality on my first 1/2 and I did better than I ever expected. :)

Anne October 30, 2012 at 7:23 am

The only reason my fitness life has changed is due to injury. It did make me realize why I love the consistency of running so much, it took the place dance used to take in my life. That thing you do day in day out that sometimes ya don’t want to but as soon as you take a step back, you wouldn’t trade for the world!

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

It’s so true. Once you don’t have it, you realize how much you miss it.

Tina @ Best Body Fitness October 30, 2012 at 7:25 am

Great, great post! I find that I have changed in so many ways too and it’s okay! I used to be way more into strength. Now I love to run and do that more. It’s okay because it makes me happy. Sure, more strength training leaned me out more…but it doesn’t fulfill me the same so now I use it to keep my body strong and balanced instead of a focus ot look a certain way like I did before. Love this post!

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

I definitely love strength so much more now but I’ll always have a heart for running. I definitely think doing what makes you the most happy is the key to LASTING fitness. Thanks Tina! :) <3

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake October 30, 2012 at 8:10 am

Great post Lauren! Oh my, 5 years ago my fitness routine was pretty much nonexistent! I was actually just thinking about this topic the other day… I joined my gym right around this time about 2 years ago. It’s crazy to think how much has changed for me since then!

Ashley October 30, 2012 at 8:15 am

I love this post. It makes me feel so much better about myself. I LOVE strength training and TRX but LOATHE running and most cardio. Reading healthy living blogs always makes me worry that I’m not doing enough or I’m not as good as those who run marathons, etc. But, I’m underweight and know that for me, running isn’t going to do me any good. I’ll stick to my walks, hikes, strength training DVDs, and sessions with my personal trainer. It’s what makes me happy and healthy and that’s all that matters!

Thanks Lauren! And P.S. wine makes me happy, too ;-)

Rodzilla October 30, 2012 at 8:54 am

Really liked this post, and completely agree. It’s easy to lose focus on overall health when pursuing fitness related goals, this is a great reminder.

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

So true. I always tell people to reassess their health goals and determine what is really is they want to achieve.

Addison October 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

I started exercising about 7-8 years ago with all Billy Blanks Tae Bo too! I loved it for a long time and then about three years ago got heavy into running. Did that pretty much solely for a couple years but in the last year I’ve learned a ton about strength training and am a huge fan of doing HIIT + strength training.

Thanks for such a great reminder–I needed to hear this this week.

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thanks for sharing Addison! :)

Danielle @ clean food creative fitness October 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

Great post learn! I always tell my clients to find something they love doing because then the motivation to do it will just be natural!

Danielle @ clean food creative fitness October 30, 2012 at 9:24 am

Totally meant to write Lauren!!! lol I need to get better at spell checking ;)

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 9:57 am

No worries. :)

Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual October 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

My fitness goals have absolutely changed over the last few years. Having recently lost a lot of weight, I started out wanting to exercise to be “skinny.” That was my sole motivation. As time went on, I came to love running and weight training and realized that I want to be HEALTHY and STRONG. Now, my fitness routine is for me. I love running. I love races(even though I run the slow) and I love being in the weight room. It has nothing to do with a number on the scale anymore and everything to do with how it makes me feel. :) Great post!

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 9:57 am

I think you truly know what your fitness potential is when you realize that you stop doing it for appearance and start doing it because it makes you feel good! Good for you lady! ;)

Karen October 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

Great post Lauren!! I tend to focus my fitness efforts on activities that truly make me happy and for me that’s running and strength training. Right now I’m trying Insanity and I’m really enjoying it!

Lauren October 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

I loved Insanity! It’s a great way to mix things up and gives both strength and cardio.

Trivedi Effect October 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I agree you should exercise in a way that pleases you personally. Great read. Thanks.

Carli October 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Doing things that you love is so important in fitness. My goals have changed to accomodate physical limitations, monetary issues, etc. Because of all those things it’s even more important to do what I enjoy. Otherwise I’ll be focused on the can nots. And that’s no fun for anyone. :-)

Emilie @ Hungry Delights October 31, 2012 at 2:35 am

My fitness and health goals have changed dramatically in the last 2 years. Firstly, I graduated and moved town and I think the positive environment just made me happier/less stressed etc I got engaged and wanted to be as healthy/fit as possible for when I get married. I also started reading healthy living blogs (like your own) and I think that they have been such a fantastic motivator! I went from doing no exercise whatsoever to being as fit and strong as I have ever been and it is so much fun! It is so awesome to read your fitness evolution too :)
xo Emilie @ Hungry Delights

Liz November 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Powerful post, thanks for sharing your journey! The comparison trap is something that I struggle with too sometimes; I “should” be doing crossfit or triathlons or running more or less and doing yoga more or whatever the case may be.

I am glad you mentioned “rest” as being a legitimate fitness-related goal, which I think may of us struggle with sometimes. I was a philanthropy conference this morning (it’s related, I promise) and a panelist was asked “what’s the most impactful thing you have done this year?” and she talked about a 10 day silent vipassana meditation retreat she went on with her husband in India. This woman has had huge impact with her philanthropy, but sometimes we need to focus inward and slow down to take care of ourselves.

Again, thanks for sharing!

Lauren November 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Thanks Liz. And thanks for sharing that as well. A Philanthropy conference sounds like such a great event. I imagine there would have been some pretty powerful speakers.

Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit November 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Love the post and I can really relate to it. Not too long ago I wrote a post about how I *gasp* don’t like yoga and am going to stop trying to force myself to like it or practice it. I’m going to do what exercises and activities make me happy and that I find enjoyable. Just like it has over time, I’m sure my preferences and likes will change again in the future. But, for now, I’m giving myself permission to stop doing (or feeling guilty about not doing) yoga. Maybe in 5 years I’ll be in love with yoga and you’ll have to pry me off of my yoga mat. That day is not now. And, the less time I spend doing exercises I don’t enjoy, the more time (and time is precious) I have to do the things I do enjoy. :)

Lauren November 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Good for you Ali! I’m not the biggest fan of yoga either and I tried so hard not to force myself to like it just because it was trendy. I hate when people follow a program or do some sort of workout craze just because everyone else is doing it. Do YOU no matter what that is, as long as it makes you happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.

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