as you may already know, i am not much of an athlete. in fact, i stopped playing sports nearly 15 years ago because they just weren’t for me. however, i am quite the sports fan. baseball, football, basketball. in that order. as someone who is a sports fan and enjoys some kind of physical activity, i made the new year’s resolution last month that so many of us do: go to the gym more. get fit. get healthy. get in shape. for me the hope is that this journey through a physical transformation (however dramatic or not) will just simply increase my quality of life. i feel well, the doctor tells me i am healthy, but i know there is something a little more i can do.
one course my final semester of college was p.e. i hadn’t purposefully put it off until the end, but that’s just how the schedule fell. i had originally signed up for a walking class (yes, that is a class), but then thought to myself, “wait, can i not challenge myself? raise the bar just a tad? see what happens?” i did. i instead took jogging and am so glad i convinced myself to do so. by the end of the semester i was able to jog for 40 minutes straight, and it was wonderful! although that may not seem like a great span of time, it was so rewarding and refreshing to know that my body was capable of such a thing. that high propelled me into three straight years of races, some of which i still participate in today. although i do not classify myself as a runner, i do enjoy the freedom of getting out there and seeing where the sidewalk takes me.
as much as i like running, it can get quite monotonous if you are not careful to mix things up a bit. i found that after my third half-marathon i was a little burned out and needed a change. i wanted something where i was being encouraged by someone to push myself just a little bit harder, to go that extra mile and find out how strong my body is. enter orange theory fitness (otf). the answer to my fitness questions.
i had originally planned to go with la fitness so that i could attend classes with my friend jamie, but the earliest they started was at 5:00 A.M. with cycling classes, and i am not the biggest cycling fan. other classes were available starting around nine in the morning, but i’m a working woman in the corporate world, and this lady has places to be by nine. it turns out otf has classes starting as early as 5:15 A.M., and they aren’t just cycling. the otf classes are a rotation of treadmill, rowing machine, and weightlifting. the instructor has every minute of the hour planned out, so you never get lost in the exercises. one of the coolest things about otf is that you get to wear a heart rate monitor the entire time, so you know how hard your body is working and if you need to maybe step things up a notch.
there’s no fuss, no hassle. you get in, you get your sweat on, and you’re out the door for the rest of your day. i have seen a loss in weight and a definite gain in muscle, which is only going to make me healthier. if i can keep this up three days a week, i’m doing my body a great favor very early in my life.
as part of my get-fit resolution, i’m trying to be aware of what it is i am putting into my body when i eat. i have no aversion to those healthy fruits and vegetables and whole grains, but i’ll be damned if i’m the only one who admits that all the unhealthy stuff tastes amazing, too. i don’t keep myself from indulging in delicious potatoes or sweets, but i do so in moderation. everything in moderation. i have also started eating more, smaller meals throughout the day. eating every two or three hours is not uncommon for me. and if i am nourishing my body during the day, i am less likely to binge eat on something that is instant, and oftentimes, unhealthy. or at least i think that’s how it works for me…
right now i am starting small and telling myself that if i can make one smart eating decision a day, i’m in better shape than i was. so instead of drinking a soda, i’ll have a flavored tea. if i want potato chips, i’ll pour out a single portion in a bowl and throw the bag back in the pantry. because let me tell you, the damage i can do to a bag of potato chips on the sofa next to me is impressive.
i don’t punish myself with extra workouts if i feel like i have cheated by eating a dozen doughnuts in one sitting. i do, however, try to react and not let it happen again. i have slip-ups. i’m human, and if you told me you didn’t also have those moments of weakness, i wouldn’t believe you for a moment.
am i making all of these changes to feel better about myself? well, yes. most importantly, though, i am making these changes to make an investment in myself and my future. i want to be healthy and active throughout all my life, as long as my body will let me. and those changes and intentional habits need to start now so that i do not see them as a chore but simply as a new and different way of life.