What Exercising for 30 minutes a Day Has Taught Me
In January I made a goal to lose 20 pounds. Not because I thought I “needed” to but because I had never made such a big, audacious fitness goal for myself. I wanted to focus on something tangible and I wanted to see if I could get into really good shape through exercising and eating well. Like, really good shape.
It was honestly hard to even say it out loud at first. Mostly because I felt a fear of being judged. Of being told I didn’t “need” to lose weight. Of being told that weight-based fitness goals were harmful or that I was vain to use a weight as a metric for my goals. I know some people struggle with the topic of weight and I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t respect that, because I definitely do. I just wanted to try a new challenge for myself and my exercising routine – to each their own. But still, whatever the reason, I felt a fear of judgement.
My Fitness History
A brief back story on my fitness journey. I have always been active. I played sports as a kid – ballet, soccer, T ball for a hot second, and track and field. I played soccer and ran track all through high school and I have always loved hiking and running as hobbies. This is all to say that I am relatively fit and definitely active. Last year, I decided to take a break from my rec-soccer league to try focusing more on my personal fitness. So for about half of 2019 I tried yoga, the gym, HIIT classes, etc. And I really enjoyed it. So when 2020 was about to begin I was still moving regularly but I wanted to challenge myself even more. So I set this goal of 20 pounds.
So I had this goal in my head and I felt a bit of embarrassment around it. I tried to figure out why and something that kept coming up for me was the fact that it wasn’t really about the exact number. I definitely did not want to stop eating pizza and count every calorie – mostly because I love food and that felt like overkill. And I DEFINITELY didn’t want to lose my muscle and only do cardio in an effort to burn calories. But I did want to challenge myself to do something I had never done before and I wanted to feel good about my bodies abilities and how it looked. More muscle, intense movement, healthier food, a greater understanding of nutrition, and functional strength. So I had to come up with a plan to make sure I was accomplishing my goal MY way.
Five to Thrive
As I am sure you know, I am a HUGE Rachel Hollis fan. I love her outlook on life, her speaking, everything! Rachel Hollis is an author, speaker, and overall awesome lady who has a kind of “recipe” for your best life that she calls the “five to thrive“. You can take a look at all five, but I just want to focus on one of them in this post. Her theory is that if you move for 30 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY you are setting yourself up for a healthier life. This idea that even a 30 minute walk or stretching for 30 minutes still counts as your movement was really appealing to me. “I already move regularly” I thought, “this won’t be that hard.”
So that was the plan I put in place. 30 minutes of daily movement, along with focusing on fresh, nutritious foods and intermittent fasting. I started all of these habits on January first. And of course there have been days where I eat an entire pizza. And other days where my movement is literally just walking around the block. But overall, I have kept the promises I made myself and moved for 30 minutes every day, done my intermittent fasting (which feels natural to me – everyone is different!), and focused on foods that feel good. And then, a few weeks ago, I realized that the number on my scale had not moved. At all.
After 14 weeks, the number on my scale had not moved at all. And of course I had feelings about this. I was of course bummed out that almost 4 months had gone by with no progress towards my goal for the end of the year. I have been doing daily HIIT workouts, weight workouts, and runs, plus hikes/walks/yoga. It feels good to move every day – especially through this pandemic. I know not everyone feels this way, but the daily movement has been a real joy in my life lately.
And get this: I do feel fitter. Workouts that used to be dead difficult I can now push through with confidence. My reps have increased. My runs are faster. I can see toned muscle where once I couldn’t. And I am also proud of myself and my new healthy habits.
Favourite Ways to Move
A few of my favourite ways to move for the past few months include yoga, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) videos, body weight workouts, running, and hiking. Here are a few great tips & resources that have helped me along the way…
> Shreddy is an app – which I do not have but I have heard is great! But it also has an instagram account that posts awesome workouts to follow along with!
> Leansquad is an amazing Youtube channel with so many amazing HIIT workouts – bodyweight focused that KILL me. I have definitely become a lot stronger using their videos.
> Zanna van Dijk is a fitness & sustainable living influencer who has been creating some amazing workouts through quarantine.
> Buy a USED watch that tracks your fitness! Josh bought me a POLAR watch from Varage Sale a couple years ago and it is perfect for what I need to track my distance and calories burned on my runs. It is simple, doesn’t do much other than track steps etc. If distance and steps are something that get you motivated to workout I definitely recommend finding a simple, used fitness tracker online.
> Buy a couple pieces of great home equipment. I love the gym but it wasn’t great for my bank account and of course I can’t go while social distancing. So buying two weights, a yoga mat, and a resistance band over the past few months have REALLY helped my home workouts! Overall I have spent around $90 and I have everything I need.
What Exercising for 30 Minutes a Day Has Taught Me
Early last week I woke up, hopped on the scale, and I had lost 3 pounds since the last time I checked (maybe two weeks ago). I have to say, I felt proud. I felt strong and and motivated to give my morning workout my all. “FINALLY” I thought, “this is working”. And then just yesterday I checked again and I had gained 2 pounds back. And my heart fell a bit, not going to lie. But I still did my morning workout and I still felt strong, and I realized a few things. One is that this goal I made, it is not something I want to put a timeline on. It can just be a motivator to encourage me to exercise and challenge myself.
But here is the big takeaway from the past 4 months. Sometimes your original goal is not your result. Weight fluctuates with seasons of our life and it doesn’t give us value. The actual result of me working towards a number on a scale, has (in just 16 weeks) given me a healthy daily habit, a new level of fitness and strength, and a greater appreciation for my body. The number is something I can use as a motivator. But the goal, the goal was to improve my health. Improve my fitness. And by creating this daily exercising habit (that now feels ingrained in me) I have already accomplished that. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.
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