Subtitle: How I learned to stop hating exercise and just sweat it out.
I’m no skinny minny but I do love to work out. Actually what I really love is to shake what my mama gave me (which, thankfully, is plentiful). Luckily there are a ton of work-outs that require just that.
When I was in middle school we had recess. You know, back when your average public school had the funds to provide a well-rounded education. We also had music class, but I’m digressing. Anyway, cut to Jr. High School where gym became a mandatory class and a change of clothing was a prerequisite.
It’s no wonder, being raised by a woman who came of age in the fifties & sixties. She pressed through my curls with heat every Saturday and squoze me and my little sister in girdles by the time we were twelve. The years passed by and at some point she tried to reform her own mid-century habits by buying an exercise machine, which she stopped using because it “made her perspire”.
In our house of all women (excluding my dad who was a regular on the racquetball court) hard physical work was not expected. Unless you were washing a dish or scrubbing a tub, there was no reason to be performing rigorous, repetitive activities.
It wasn’t until long after I went away to college that I developed any interest in really committing to a regular routine. Surprisingly, even though I sustained on one order of fries, a cheeseburger and a pack of Marlboro lights a day, I didn’t gain a freshman fifteen. Even more surprising, in those days, I considered my keg stands to be athletic enough.
However, in my Junior year I packed on the pounds retro-actively. By senior year, my boyfriend got me a bike. Back then I just figured he wanted to give me a convenient way to get on and off campus. In hindsight, it may have been a helpful hint.
I didn’t know it at the time but that bike was the defining element of my Love/hate relationship with exercise. Loved making it to campus on my own schedule. Hated the exertion it required. Not to mention it was the 90′s, nobody wanted to sweat through their perm (relaxer).
Since college days I have tried a ton of different work-outs. Even the one where you don’t actually move. Yeah. It was as weird and ineffective as it sounds. I can come to you now with the %100 authentic announcement that I am a fully converted “exercise enthusiast”.
1. “No pain, no pain!!” I stopped associating exercise with pain. Unless you’re injured, exertion doesn’t hurt. It’s just difficult. How can I respect myself if I won’t do something just because it’s difficult?
2. “Aw! For me? I should have!” I realized that working out was a gift just for me. Once you stop doing it to compete with or please other people it becomes your own. I also realized that I not only deserved the results but the time that it took. It was MY time. It still is.
3. “I could be in a Puffy video!” I chose activities that I knew I would enjoy. I’ve always Loved music videos and choreography. Mainly, because I liked to imagine myself workin’ it out under some hot lights. So I took hip hop classes.
4. “It must be jelly cuz jam don’t shake like that!” I stopped worrying about how I would look while I was struttin’ my stuff. It’s like this, fat jiggles. It jiggles and jiggles until it gets smaller. When it’s smaller it jiggles less. The more you jiggle it, the smaller it gets. Weird, huh?
5. “Hair schmair, look at my derriere.” I stopped worrying about what my “do” was doing afterwards. Any daily hairstyle that can’t withstand a sweat and a shower is a bad hairstyle. Nothing is cute about being a weak-muscled blob with tightly-coiffed hair. (are you listening Gabby Douglas hair haters?)
6. “Just my size.” Big lesson for me; just because it stretches doesn’t mean you should go down a size. I bought myself work-out clothes that fit nicely. Nothing like a wardrobe of good sports bras and comfortably loose yoga pants to make you feel like a bona fide gym rat.
7. “Weight loss is a happy and gradual side affect.” I stopped worrying about how much weight I was losing. At first, I would obsessively check the mirror and the scale. Especially the day after a work out. As if what I’d done the day before would have completely negated years of junk food-fueled sedentary behavior.
8. “Baby you were born to run.” At 5’9″ and 1**lbs. I am built for physical labor. My mind, on the other hand, is designed for white collar decision-making. So my mind told my body “If these long legs aren’t makin’ money they sure as hell ain’t just takin’ up couch space. Get out there and clock some miles.” So they (I) did.
9. “You’re a sex kitten.” Yes, that’s what I said to me. Sex kittens don’t tire out after the first meow. You’ll be amazed at how much your stamina and flexibility increases. Better yet, your partner will thank you.
10. “If I’m gonna take over the world, I’m gonna need a lot of muscle.” The more I exercise the more I have the energy to seize every day. On the days when I don’t break a sweat my mental state is at a 2 on the 1-10 scale. Success, self-acceptance, happiness, take mental clarity. Exercise is a major proponent in ramping up your life so that you can envision and achieve everything your heart desires. When you take all of that into consideration, how can you NOT get up off your butt and move around?
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