Preamble: Desires, motives and struggles related to physical activity and appearance are diverse and personal. I choose to share my journey here because selfishly, it helps me process it. I also share it to perhaps prompt reflection on what your own journey might look like. As always with my writings, I encourage you to consider what resonates with you and leave the rest.
The past few years were rough when it came to movement and exercise. Dealing with anxiety, vertigo and panic attacks, it was a challenge to even walk around the block.
This year, with anxiety and vertigo finally at bay, I felt called back to adventure and the outdoors. I also felt called to pay attention to my body. It felt weak and hesitant and I wanted to change that.
I want to change that.
In September I started a journey into fitness and active living by exploring a regular practice of movement and exercise. Yesterday marked the end of Week 6. I felt it was time to take stock and share some of that journey here.
For your reading pleasure and entertainment, I explore my motives, goals, solution, successes and challenges encountered so far.
Motive: feel solid and confident
I want to feel strong when I open a heavy door for someone instead of struggling to keep it open long enough for them to walk through. I want to walk up three flights of stairs without feeling winded. I want to feel nimble and agile instead of stiff and sluggish.
I want to feel less hesitant at trying physical activities like long hikes or bike rides, less afraid that my body won't be able to handle it.
I want to take care of my body as I grow older, set myself up for a better chance at enjoying life later.
I'm in it for strength and confidence.
This is my “why.”
Goals: a sustainable practice, strength and stamina
I have two goals:
1. Integrate movement into my life in a way that is sustainable and practical. It must nestle into my lifestyle and schedule without feeling complicated or overwhelming.
2. Build muscle strength and stamina.
These are my “whats.”
Solution: Home-based workouts, focused weight training and accountability
To meet my goals I knew that:
- my best bet would be to find workouts that I can stream online. Having to leave the house is a MAJOR deterrent and not sustainable for me. I've tried it before, it just. doesn't. work.
- I wanted to include workouts that offered weight training. Although walking and hiking are good exercise, I want to target muscle groups too. Strength, solid, YES.
- I would need a bit of help through either a fitness coach or accountability group, preferably online.
The first thing I did was join an accountability group led by coach Carmen Torbus. I'd been stalking her business page on Facebook for a while and felt she could help me (she's wonderful, by the way!).
Through Carmen, I chose the Beachbody On Demand (BOD) workout streaming service. BOD is a subscription-based service, once I pay for the year I can stream any workout video they offer from the comfort of my own home. Because it's account based I can stream workouts while I'm on the road if I feel like it. They offer other fitness-related resources that I may or may not tap into later, like meal plans and workout calendars.
I'll be honest, I sometimes cringe at the name "Beachbody" because it implies that only a specific type of body is fit for the beach. All bodies are fit for the beach.
I'd also be a hypocrite if I said I wasn't looking forward to sporting my bikini with defined abs and a chiseled back/shoulder combo.
One of my many inner dichotomies...
I'm sure there are plenty of free workout videos out there and I could have easily chosen to do them too. What led me to BOD is my joining Carmen, who just happens to be a BOD coach. BOD also happens to meet my needs right now.
I set a specific weekly goal: three BOD workouts plus one walk or hike of at least 30 minutes.
This is my "how."
What's working well (so far)
The following six things are working particularly well at keeping me on track.
1. Being part of an accountability group
Carmen and my fellow group members have been a key factor in my meeting my weekly goals. Seeing others work hard and meet their goals motivates me to do the same. Witnessing their struggles lets me know that I'm not alone in mine. As a group we create health not only for ourselves individually, but for the collective.