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Finding Joy in Exercise

Now I can say I genuinely enjoy fitness...however, that was not always the case! These 5 questions + answers elaborate on how I found joy in exercise and how you can too!

1. What did your exercise routine look like before you found your groove?

  • In high school, I played volleyball all four years, played soccer freshman and sophomore year, and ran track junior and senior year. I spent hours on the court, on the field, and on the track. I was well acquainted with completing workouts designed specifically for me and my teammates. Yet, I rarely put much thought into them. These workouts were just a box to be checked so I could go back to the fun stuff -- playing my favorite sports with my teammates. Flashforward and I spent 4 years playing volleyball at Wheaton College. Yet again, I spent countless hours in the gym playing, and in the winter, spring, and summer, I spent hours training. I completed the workouts that were designed for me. However, I still didn't really know much about what went into getting an adequate workout. After I finished my first collegiate season I had a month or two break where I didn't have any workouts designed for me. I assumed in order to get a good workout in, I had to spend 2 hours in the gym (because that's how long practices were. Seems reasonable, right?!) Wrong! I quickly learned that 2 hours of working out, was not necessary to stay in shape.

2. How did you find workouts you enjoyed?

  • Being an athlete, I had the opportunity to try many different workout styles. From running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), lifting, plyometric workouts, yoga, circuit training, cycling, to swimming...I felt like I tried it all. I genuinely enjoyed being active but often found my workouts less than enjoyable. However, what I didn't realize, was the joy I found in having a choice. As an athlete, I was told what to do, for how long, when to start, when to stop, and I was expected to compete (or be better) than the girl next to me. After spending years of forced workouts, I didn't really know what I enjoyed. I felt if I hated it (aka my face was tomato red, I gasped for air, and my legs were shaking), that meant it was a good workout and that was what I should be doing. Wrong, again. After graduating from college, I struggled to find my groove. I loved going to studio workout classes, but as a newlywed fresh out of college, the boutique studios weren't exactly in the budget. So the gym it was. Sure, I knew my way around the gym, but I felt aimless. I would do a little cardio on the stair stepper, and then meander over to the weights and focus on legs and booty, arms, chest, & back, or abs and cardio. I'd think of moves on the spot and do them, or I'd YouTube/Pinterest workouts. Although I pushed myself (and had some hard workouts!), I lacked results. After following a girl (now, one of my friends) on Instagram for months and watching her get results, I decided to try the home workouts she was doing. Her results were impressive, and sometimes she only worked out for 20-30 minutes! I wanted that, too. These three things (being able to choose my workouts, trial and error, and discovering home-workouts) were how I found workouts I enjoyed.

3. What is your current fitness routine?

  • A little over a year ago, I decided to give the home workouts the girl I was following on Instagram did a try. Worst-case scenario I could cancel my membership and go back to what I was doing before. However, once I started I never turned back! I learned quickly I did not need to spend an hour or an hour and a half at the gym, or hate my workout in order to get results!

  • My home workouts are through Beachbody and I absolutely love them. At first, I was nervous I wouldn't get results, or that I'd miss the gym. However, it is the complete opposite. I received better results (even better than when I was an athlete!) and enjoy the simplicity of working out from home (and the perk of saving money by not needing a gym membership). The workouts I do are anywhere from 20-minutes to an hour. I invested in some weights, resistant loops, and core sliders. My annual membership to Beachbody (that Hank also uses!) is cheaper than some monthly boutique workout studio fees for one person!

  • Beachbody has 700+ virtual workouts. There is a myriad of workout styles, workout lengths, and different trainers, so you can find one that suits you. Each program is designed to tone (or shred) your whole body, making sure you get results.

  • I found I really enjoy combining HIIT programs with lifting programs. My workouts are different every day, and I can simply click play. I know my time exercising will be well-spent and efficient. No more wandering around the gym, or spending time Googling workouts! Since starting home workouts, my form is significantly better as the trainers are constantly guiding, and I started seeing far more definition throughout my whole body.

4. Why is it important to find a workout routine you enjoy?

  • Finding a workout routine you enjoy is key to working out consistently...and consistency is the key to results! You don't have to hate your workout, or spend hours in the gym to get results.

  • Exercise is a celebration of what our bodies can do. It is a time where we can focus solely on our bodies, refreshing our minds, and fueling ourselves towards lifelong health. Exercise should never be a punishment for what you ate, or for what you did or didn't do. Having the ability to move our body is a gift! So whether it's big gyms, boutique studios, home-workouts, running, yoga, or something else...finding what you enjoy doing will be the key to consistency. And again, consistency is the key to results.

  • For me, I want to enjoy my workout 3-4 days, and then I want 1-2 days where it just feels pretty awful. In those "awful" workouts, I am out of my comfort zone. Outside of my comfort zone, I can increase my mental toughness. An increased mental toughness has a positive ripple effect in all areas of my life. When things get hard, I know I am capable. I am confident in my ability to take on whatever life throws at me...and you can be too!

5. What would you recommend to people who want to start exercising more? Or to someone who feels stuck?

  • Start small! If you dont workout currently, don't suddenly commit to working out 6 days a week. Start with something that feels manageable, like 2-3 days a week. Ease your way into it. This will breed confidence in your ability to stay commited!

  • Be willing to pivot. If you hate exercise, try going for walks, or doing a workout that is fun! Get a friend to join you and try something new -- like zumba, or yoga! Be willing to try different styles of workouts.

  • Say yes. Focus on simply showing up, and completing your workout. Don't worry if it was "pretty" or if you were "good" at it. All that matters is showing up, and trying your hardest! Starting is often the hardest part, so commit to the first five-ten minutes of your workout, and I bet you will complete the whole thing.

  • Stop focusing on what you want to change about your body, and stop using exercise soley to scupt your "ideal body." Instead, focus on enjoying your workout, and the joy in knowing you are taking care of the body you will have for the rest of your life! Let exercise be your outlet. Use exercise to release those happy endorphins, to help you be more productive, and to level out your emotions by calming any anger or anxiety!

  • Believe you are capable of change. Even if you haven't ever been able to stick to exercise in this past, this time can be different. Address what caused you to struggle in the past. When you address those barriers, come up with solutions, and start small, success will come!


If you are interested in joining my fitness crew (a group of women who do Beachbody workouts), receiving daily encouragement, simple recipes, meal plans, and other great resources visit my contact page and let's chat!


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