Getting in shape is a struggle that I constantly battle with. I know how important it is to eat healthy, exercise, and stay in what is often referred to as “good shape”. The problem for me is that I struggle with it for so many reasons. This week, I’m going to share my struggle with exercise. Fair warning, this will be vulnerable and brutal, just to let you know.
Where do I start? My issues with exercise started when I was young. As a kid born with a heart condition, the idea of exercising too much scared the shit out of me. Even though I had fixed a lot of my heart issues, things persisted for many years. I was never really “fat”, growing up. The opposite was true for most of my life. We used to joke that I could eat almost anything and it wouldn’t make me gain weight. Looking back on it, the joke may not have been so helpful, or healthy.
My Martial Arts Journey
I started taking Martial Arts classes when I was around 13 years old. This gave me a safe space to get some kind of exercise in, but it wasn’t like playing basketball, or other sports. This, along with other things made me a target for bullies and being called certain names beginning with the letters “F” and “H” but I digress.
As I started to take the Martial Arts classes, my stamina built up, I felt healthier, and the environment was such that it fostered a healthy look at fitness/exercise. We were encouraged to push ourselves each class but to also listen to what our bodies were telling us. This was helpful!
As I progressed through the martial arts classes, I found myself becoming stronger, more confident, and simply more of myself. That was my goal. I wanted to do something that felt fun, but also kept me healthy and fit. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to step back right before I got my black belt. I will always regret it even though I can go back at any time. Some day, I will.
My Struggle with Exercise Gets Worse
Things started to change a bit when I went away to college in 2002. During my freshman year when everyone was gaining the “Freshman 15”, I ended up losing that weight. I was walking more and the food was HORRIBLE! Since I was working on campus, most of my jobs were sedentary. Even though I didn’t have a car and walked to class and even into town, my weight started to go up. It wasn’t a crazy amount but since I didn’t exercise at all by that point, it was a bit noticeable. I still mentally refused to do any type of extra exercise. Talk about a bad pattern. That had to change at some point. Eventually, it did for a little while.
Post College Exercise
Once I graduated and moved out on my own, I started going to the local Planet Fitness a few times a week. Eventually, I started to enjoy it. I even started to get back into some semblance of good shape. Not that my eating had changed much, let’s be honest. Going to the gym didn’t last long, especially after I moved home and while I did join a few gyms in that time, I never really stuck with it.
Fast forward to now and I try to go to the gym at least 4 times a week. It’s not easy but I know it’s best for me. The next part of the puzzle is to start adding not just cardio, but strength training. The second part is another struggle I’m working through. Add that to speeding up my cardio and we have a recipe for potential success!
Is the struggle with exercise over?
The struggles are not over. I’m still working on getting my head away from the struggle. Now it’s less of the health and more of needing to get out of my own way. I believe that once I get through my own issues maybe with some therapy, I can continue to work on becoming someone who enjoys exercise and doesn’t see it as a chore or a struggle. I still have work to do.
I wrote an article a while back about being a holistic hot mess. It fits well with this week’s topic because this entry was a bit of a hot mess. I hope this inspired you. I wanted to share parts of myself that I don’t usually share on the blog. So there you have it, my struggle with exercise. Until next week, be well and namaste!