I’ve always considered myself to be a very active person. I started to figure skate at the age of four, which I did competitively and continued to do my whole way through college. And while in college I decided to stop competing, but I still practiced 3-4 days a week and went to the gym while I could. So my whole life I haven't really had to worry about staying fit because I was skating so much and eating a relatively healthy diet.
But now that I’m a working adult, it's so much harder to get exercise in. Sometimes after a day of work I really just want to make myself some dinner and then not get up from the couch until I have to go to bed. And I am not a morning person at all, so there is no way that I would be able to wake up early in the morning to go before work. And I haven't been skating in probably about six months, and it's something that I really miss being able to do all the time.
So because of all of this, I put myself to the test and did 30 days of fitness, doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 30 days in a row. I did everything you can image: working with a personal trainer, boxing classes, a 30 minute HIIT workout, cycling classes, running a few miles, using weights, etc. It started out pretty easy. I was in good enough shape when I started that even though I was working out everyday I wasn't getting too sore, even after a really intense workout.
And it stayed relatively easy throughout the 30 days. I would say that the hardest part was actually towards the end. After working out so much my body started to get tired. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and do nothing, but I persevered and made sure I got my workout in. Of course I was worried about overuse injuries, but I made sure that I didn't work out the same part of my body two days in a row, or if I did, I made sure that one of the days was much lower in intensity. The best feeling though was that towards the end, even though I was getting tired, I could tell that my body was getting stronger. I could do exercises with a lot less effort and I could increase the amount of weight I was using.
Right after I finished the challenge, it felt weird to not work out every day. I actually found myself trying to plan out when I could work out every day, even though I didn't need to. And so since doing this challenge, I definitely have made working out more of a priority in my life. I find that working out makes me feel physically better and makes me feel healthy (mentally). I've come to realize that I like working out and that I like that challenge that it poses. In the two weeks since i've finished the challenge, i've worked out 4-5 times each week. This is something I plan on continuing to do long into the future.
So the last thing that I want to share with you all about my experience are a few of the things that I learned about myself from doing this challenge. And I hope after reading them that some of you might try this 30 day challenge yourself, or come up with your own.
1. Be open to new things - So I did do a few personal training sessions during my challenge. There were definitely a few exercises that I did not think I was going to like at all, and now I have implemented them into my own workout routines (hey there box jump burpees). I also had never done a cycling class before, and I decided to try one, and discovered I love it! Be open to trying new classes or trying out exercises that friends/trainers suggest--you might actually like them.
2. How to push myself -So it is important to know your limits, especially to make sure that you don't hurt yourself by working out. But sometimes your limits can actually end up limiting your potential. That's why it was so beneficial to work out with a personal trainer and even just a workout buddy. They push you to keep going even when you want to give up, and then you can realize how much potential you really have. So now I go by the rule of trying to do just 3 more reps or holding something for 5 more seconds than I think I can do, and I usually end up being able to do them.
3. Workouts are 50% mental - This goes off of my last point. We limit ourselves so much by thinking that we can't do something. And this hits so true to me when I work out. If i've never tried something and I watch someone else do it and I think it looks hard, I automatically think I can't do it, even if the exercise isn't actually that hard. But this point also applies when you're actually working out. So many people stop when they start to feel tired. It's just as exhausting mentally as it is physically to push yourself to keep going even though you are tired. That's the mental part. To keep yourself motivated to keep pushing yourself even though you feel like you're gonna die (or you can't feel your legs at all).
4. Goals are important - Growing up, with skating I always had goals. That was something that was not only important to me, but it was also important to my coach that all of her students had their goals written down. This is something that has stuck with me throughout life. I made a goal to workout for 30 days in a row, and I accomplished that goal. And now i've created other goals. I never really ran before this challenge, but now I have a goal to be able to make it to a certain number of blocks before having to stop. And eventually my goal will be to run a 5 or 10k. Goals are important because even you don't reach them, you can still make progress towards them. And progress is all we really need.
So I hope you guys enjoyed reading more about my challenge and what I learned! If any of you decided to do the 30-day fitness challenge or start your own challenge tell me all about it! I love hearing all about people's journeys, whether that's a fitness journey, mental journey, emotional journey, or even a cross-country journey.
Keep on keeping on.