I have been going to the gym for a few months now.
The only other time in the last 10 years I went to the gym this consistently was in the last three months leading up to my wedding. I’ve done home workouts since then, but nothing as intense as what I have been experiencing lately. Pushing my body physically has never been easy for me. I guess that is the point of working out.
It is not suppose to be easy, it is suppose to help you become strong.
After having my third baby last December, I was feeling pretty weak this year. My posture was crooked, my muscles were puny, my energy level was low most days, and I just didn’t feel good.
My husband and I agreed that a gym membership, a trainer to teach me how to use my body correctly, and a scheduled time that I could go workout would be beneficial for me. The first session was terrible. I could barely finish a set of anything. My run was sluggish. Every exercise I did felt like there was resistance, as if I was doing it all under water. Although it was challenging, I was motivated to come back and do it again even better.
That first session I also learned something interesting. My trainer, Becca, asked me to set some goals. I told her I just want to be leaner, stronger, and look better in my clothes. She encouraged me by sharing that I will always have a desire to look better. She reminded me that us ladies can be so critical of our looks, and she warned me that if my goals were simply aesthetics, I may be discouraged and disappointed with working out and that I would never feel “good enough” no matter how much more I could do or how strong I become.
She asked me to set goals that were measurable, such as 10 sit-ups or 10 push-ups and celebrate as I reach those goals. Then set new ones. She added that as I reached these goals I would also notice the physical change such as fitting in my clothes better. This perspective would keep me motivated and encouraged to workout along my journey.
I loved this perspective and I feel if more women set out to pursue their physical health in this way, they would be motivated to reach their goals too.
My regimen for workouts includes a good dose of weight lifting. I was worried about this at first. I feared that I was not capable of lifting very much weight. I have a set of 5 pound dumbbells at home that I would dread using because they felt heavy after just a few exercises. Having a trainer set my workouts was interesting because she would tell me to grab 10, 12, and 15 pounders for different things.
And I didn’t even realize what I was doing!
I would be halfway through a workout and then realize I am curling more weight than I ever have before. I am getting so strong! I didn’t know I was capable of lifting this kind of weight. And the muscle I am building is really great, because in order to maintain muscle, my metabolism will speed up using the fat in my body as fuel. I am burning fat and building muscles. It is a bit of longer process than a fad diet, however, after just a few months I am starting to notice that I fit better in my clothes!
When I realized how strong I was getting, I mentioned how excited I was to my trainer. She mentioned how many women are intimidated by lifting heavy weights because they don’t believe they can or they think the weights will bulk them up in ways they don’t want to be bulky. I can see the truth in this. I was intimidated…until I did it, until I realized I could do it.
I am getting to a point in my fitness where I am enjoying the workouts, even though they still hurt. I look forward to my gym sessions. I am building healthy habits that I have never had before.
I am sharing this with you because health is important. Making the choice to pursue my physical health and strive to be strong has impacted other parts of my life. I have more energy to be with my children during the day. I have more strength and confidence with intimacy with my husband. I feel sharper and stronger. I get more done in a day. My moods have been less irritable. And I know what I am doing is impacting my future.
I want to encourage you to pursue your health as well. If you already are, great! Keep going! If you are reading this and are sinking in your chair because you know you need to start exercising I want to encourage you to not feel overwhelmed, but I do urge you to get active.
This doesn’t mean you need to get a personal trainer. You can easily start with an at home regimen such as the 30 day shred or something similar. Or if a trainer fits in your budget and your husband agrees that an investment into your health like this is necessary than do it. Or if you have a gym down the street and can benefit from the opportunity to maximize your workouts, put it on the schedule.
Your health is important!
It affects every area of life God has called you to steward well. And you can do it! You can move your body, you can lift those weights, you can understand the workout lingo and find what works for you.
Set small attainable goals and celebrate each milestone along the way.
Don’t expect the fast physical change, instead know that change takes time, and that with every choice you make in the coming days will lead to greater change in the future, because of the good habits you form.
Start right now! You can do it!