It happens to many runners: you start running, you push your body faster, you go farther, you dream about PRs and distance goals, you watch your intake meticulously, and suddenly you see possibilities you never had the courage to dream before. Then BOOM! Something stops you in your tracks. Perhaps you get hurt. Or you get busy. Or you burn out. And as quickly as you gained mileage, fitness, and confidence, it all disappears.
This past winter I heard an acquaintance whisper, “Wow, she really let herself go,” as she walked away from me after a friendly exchange near the plus-size clothing section at Kohl’s. Our quick exchange was filled with hugs, smiles, and an introduction to her boyfriend. It was a turning point for me. Only moments before I had a little breakdown in the fitting room as a pair of sized 16 jeans lay on the floor, unable to get over my bum. It took several minutes to stop my tears and pull myself away from the corner where I sat, cringing away from my reflection.
Before I dive into my past health journey, I’d like to begin by stating my honest feeling about body image, weight, and self-esteem:
The number on my scale is how much I weigh. That number matters in terms of health reasons, but beyond that it is simply a number. That number does not represent my happiness, my joy, how pretty I am, how fun I am, how others view me, or what my God thinks of me. That number does not justify my personality or my identity.
I love who I am as a person. When I look at my life, I am beyond grateful for all my blessings: my husband, my faith, my family, my pup, my home, my career, my tribes, and so much more. I believe I am a good person who cares not only about her loved ones but also those in my world I have never met. I look at Life with a positive attitude and thank the Lord for every second He allows me to experience it.
A key component of Uncorking Peonies will be covering topics concerning my health. Moving forward, I plan to cover topics on taking control of my nutrition, exploring exercises I can sustain and perform regularly, and researching how to help my body feel (and look) its best. I’m referring to this newest approach in my health journey as “the re-claiming of my badash attitude.” I want to love myself, inside and out, as much as I love every other aspect of my life, and the journey to this goal begins today.
I hate to admit it but it has been some time since I’ve regularly hit the gym. I play volleyball twice a week and go to a spin class about once a month, but it has been a few months since I’ve actively gone to the gym to workout. The lack of sweat has become apparent now that the holidays are far behind me, and I’m starting to become uncomfortable in my clothes and self-esteem levels.
Instead of getting down and out, though, I have a cheerful solution: get back into the game!
I have gone through phases in my past of being identified as a “gym rat.” I could be found at the YMCA every morning lifting weights and every evening doing cardio exercises. I was in my prime shape during this time, but truly didn’t have much of a life outside the gym. With marriage and wife-duties looming ahead, my goal is not only get back into shape for the wedding but also find a balance in doing so.
Thankfully, G is invested in working out as well and we thoroughly enjoy hitting the gym together. At the beginning of our relationship, he even joined my gym so we could exercise together every morning — and we did! It was great to have an accountability partner who not only knew weights and correct form during strength training but was also complimentary of my progress. We worked to better ourselves while bettering one another and it was the perfect foundation for our relationship.
After the proposal and jump into wedding planning, though, the gym took second seat. Then new work responsibilities arose and the gym took third seat. Then the holidays arrived and the gym took fourth seat. And on and on and on…
There are a ton of excuses I could utilize, but the dirty truth is I became comfortable in the laziness of a busy life.
The time has come where excuses no longer hold though. I have a good grip on our wedding plans, work and other social responsibilities have decreased significantly, and the holidays are far past me. It is a new year and time to reclaim my fitness.
I am all for jumping into things head first when it comes to fitness. If I am not completely invested then I am more likely to quit. So, my game plan is to begin going to the gym in the mornings and only allow for one rest day on Sundays. I am going to focus on strength training for awhile until the weather breaks and I can begin running outside again for cardio. (Though there will be some cardio each morning to warm up my muscles.) Until the end of March I still have volleyball twice a week in the evenings, and that will suffice for now. Let’s hope Michigan warms up by then!
So without further ado, here is my workout program over the next four weeks:
You can find a printable version here.
To warm up, I plan to run, bike, or use the elliptical for five minutes prior to each session and also end by increasing my heart rate with a brisk five to ten minute run as well. In four weeks I will switch up my routine so my body continues to improve, so stay tuned.
G is joining me again as well, though his workout plan is quite a bit heftier than mine. So wish us luck!
Unsure what a specific exercise is on this plan? Please feel free to ask! I’ll do my best to give you some direction on how to find correct form and prevent injuring yourself.