Me against the (Exercise) Machine

Within the last 7 years or so, I learned some things about me and exercise. One, I love it. Two, I hate it. There have been many years where I have been addicted to exercise, where I once convince a sales person to give me 3 months of free gym use.

And on the flip side, I have also completely banned it for nearly a year while working at a gym. It has been a roller coaster of finding out the perfect balance (see also my post on running). Here is what I’ve come up with.

If I am going to include working out as part of my daily life then it has to be:

  • convenient
  • simple
  • affordable
  • loving

Convenience is important because, with years of ‘scientific’ research, I have discovered if I can’t walk to the gym- I am not going. It is that simple. I have tried dance classes, swimming pools, looked up great fun activities, but most of the time I ended up dreading the drive, the subway ride, or the extra time it took to get to the class. I would rather just stay still. A gym that is in the neighborhood has always worked the best for me.

Simple workouts equal simple moments of happiness. I am easy breezy when it comes to exercise. As long as I have my headphones on and my music playing, I am so happy. I don’t care for special squats or bench pressing. I like my elliptical.

Occasionally I pick up some free weights and follow the direction on my boyfriend who happens to be a certified personal trainer. But that really is the extent of it. I know that there are plenty of moves to tone the body and maybe I will be interested enough to try them out someday, but today I am happy with my simple workouts. It is just less stressful.

How I feel after a good loving workout

Affordable is definitely a requirement for me. There are days that I would rather go for a walk instead of go to the gym. With an affordable membership, I don’t feel like I need to get my money’s worth. I am not worried about making the gym every day or making the best out of the membership. Instead, when I want to go for a leisurely walk, I say “heck yeah, let’s watch the sun set while walking along the beach”. It makes my daily exercise a lot friendlier and happier.

Overall it has to be Loving. Have you been on Pinterest lately? How many photos are there of a super toned woman with “motivational phrases” of DO THIS 3x A DAY, THE HARDER THE WORKOUT THE BETTER YOU FEEL, or YOU BETTER NOT STOP OR ELSE…? Or else what, I sit and wonder?

It is like drill sergeants screaming at you to work out. I don’t know about you but that would just motivate me to hate myself more than help. For me, I found that my comfortable and loving workout plan is  3-4 times a week for usually 45 minutes. Rigorous training just doesn’t work for me anymore.

via Pinterest

I truly believe that if you want to find an exercise regimen that you can follow for long-term,  learn what works for you and not against you. If you prefer classes, find a gym that has plenty of group workouts. If you like dancing, attend a variety of dance classes. If your attention span stops after 20 minutes, then stop after 20 minutes.

You can create whatever you like as your workout routine! The best advice I ever followed was I stopped reading into what I should be doing and start doing what actually makes my body feel good. I love the endorphins, the health benefits, and stress releases that come from my workouts now. It gets the ball rolling to take care of myself in other ways as well. Try treating your body with love while working out, you may be surprised what it does in return.

What are some of your healthy workout activities?