Exercise for Me

Working out has never been a time of enjoyment for me. Despite growing up playing sports my entire life, I never enjoyed the necessary workouts out of practice time. Give me a purpose to run — like running after a ball or catching up to the other team — but telling me to just go out an run was not an option. I couldn’t find the motivation or enjoyment, and envied my brother’s for being able to run for days without breaking a sweat or showing any sign of exhaustion.

The older I got the more I forced myself to put in the extra time in the off season, which eventually earned me a spot on my varsity lacrosse team for three years. Then college started and there was no longer a reason for me to workout or forced practices where I was guaranteed to get some running in. I never considered myself super fit growing up, but I also wouldn’t have considered myself out of shape either — college changed that.

During my first two years of school I made the occasional trip to the gym, but I rarely ventured far from the elliptical. I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing, and I didn’t take the time to educate myself. Two and a half years of meal plans later, and the ever dreaded “Freshman 15” was a reality.

Which is what brought me to this blog right here. Halfway through my junior year I decided to completely change my eating and workout habits and make the lifestyle change that I had been longing to do. I successfully changed my diet and started going to the gym three days a week. I was doing cardio, lifting weights, and for the first time in a long time I felt good about myself and my self-confidence was growing.

Here we are a year later and I can happily say my eating habits have mostly stayed healthy — I am a sucker for a good burger and fries — but my workout habits have gone through quite the change. I no longer have access to a gym, which has forced to me to change how I stay active. I run now, by choice. I choose to put on my sneakers and go outside and run. While I certainly don’t like it, I have seen some improvement in my endurance and my distance, which has given me some motivation to continue. I also live next to a beautiful park, which makes it slightly easier.

But the reason I wanted to write this post is because at the start of this year I discovered Blogilates, which has changed my workout habits and the way I am approach my fitness. Cassey Ho, a pilates instructor, created Pop Pilates and started a YouTube channel to share her workouts. The workouts range in time from 5 minutes to a half hour and target different parts of your body. They require little equipment, and I am able to do them in my tiny Brooklyn apartment.

I have always wanted to tone my body and create more definition, and this is the first time I have actually seen those things happening. I had tried other workout routines and videos, but I had never been able to stick to something for as long as I have stuck to Pop Pilates. Right now I am following the beginner’s calendar, and it is the perfect way for me to map out my workouts and know exactly what I am supposed to do. While they are definitely not easy and I have had to take my fair share of breaks, they are not so difficult where I have been discouraged from continuing. A month and a half later, and I am still going.

It took me 21 years to find an exercise regimen that works for me and I feel good about. I can confidently and proudly say that I am working out now to make myself feel better and help myself. Other times I was working out because of what other people may have thought of me or the way I wanted to be perceived, but finding something that truly works for me has changed my perspective and attitude for the better.

Share in the comments if you have found any plans or inspiration that have changed your perspective on exercise or working out!

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