my favorite ways to work out

I’ve pretty much always been active, ever since I was a girl. I started playing soccer when I was three years old, and ran cross country/track and played soccer all through high school.  I loved running so much, and being on the cross country team was definitely one of my favorite parts of my high school years. When I graduated and went to college, I definitely missed the discipline and motivation that came from being on a team. I went from having practice at least once a day, if not twice, to having no coach tell me when or how to work out. I definitely still love movement though, so it’s been fun to challenge myself and set my own goals when it comes to getting exercise. I’ve tried lots of different workouts and different types of classes, but I definitely have a few favorites!

Number one, no surprise, is running. People have asked me if I stopped running after high school, or if I got sick of it, but nope- I still love it! I definitely go in phases with it tho. Last fall I ran a half marathon, so most of July-November was spent training for that. I never though I would be able to run 13.1 straight, but it was so fun to challenge myself and slowly grow my endurance for longer distances! I ran the half marathon with my mom in November, and after that, I backed off from the long distances for a while. I think the farthest I’ve run since then is probably 6, just because my body was so tired! Throughout the spring, I stayed pretty consistent with 3-5 mile runs, but not training for anything in particular.

This summer, I worked at a camp for 9 weeks, and barely had any time to run. I would go for a 3 mile run sometimes on the weekends, but other than that- nothing. I definitely stayed in shape, but camp shape is a different kind of shape. Walking up all those hills multiple times a day will do it to you, haha. However, when I finished camp and started trying to run again, I noticed how much endurance I had lost. My average pace had dropped by almost 2 minutes, and I felt so tired and achy after a run. It was so discouraging, because I lost so much progress and felt like I couldn’t get back to where I once was. Throughout August, I’ve been trying to run at least three times a week, just pushing through it to get back into shape. After every run, I would feel so tired and upset with myself because I didn’t feel like I used to. But… a few weeks ago, when I was home for labor day, I challenged myself to run every day for three days straight. I pushed through, telling myself even if it was a slow run or a “bad” run, just to stay consistent. I don’t know what it was, but I had a kind of “breakthrough” moment on my Sunday afternoon run. I just felt so good for some reason. My time had dropped down by a minute without me feeling too strained, the weather was beautiful, and I felt so motivated after I finished.

Ever since then, I feel like I’ve kind of regained my inspiration for running. I loved the feeling after that run, and I’m trying to challenge myself to keep it up and aim for those feelings after each workout. I’ve made it a goal to build back up to six miles by the end of September, and I make little training plans each Sunday to set me up for the week. I don’t know what changed, I think I just finally stayed consistent long enough to break through and feel a glimpse of inspiration that I needed. I love setting goals and having that target distance of six miles, because it gives me something to train for and work towards. Now, I try to run about five times a week, ranging from 2-5 miles. No, not every run leaves me with a runner’s high and feeling as great as that Sunday run a few weeks ago, but I know that I can get there again, and that leaves me with something to work for.

Besides running, I also really got into spin classes last year. The fitness center at my school offers them a few times a day, so I got into the routine of taking them Tuesday and Thursday nights, with a favorite instructor. I’ve only been to one class since getting back to school, but I’ve been trying to add at least one spin class a week to crosstrain when I’m not running. I love being in a motivating class with a good teacher/pump up music. The 45 minutes (usually) fly by and I love being drenched in sweat afterwards. Some of the classes I’ve gone to also do an arm track, where you use light weights for a song, which I really enjoy!

The most recent workout I’ve gotten into has been pilates. I’m no expert by any means, but I love the feeling of gentle movement while focusing on my breath and core. It seems easy when you first look at the pilates moves, but it’s much harder than it looks! I usually do a 20-30 minute YouTube video, either in my room or on a mat at the gym. I’ve never gone to an actual pilates class, but I’d really like to try one soon! I really need to be better about consistency with pilates. I’ve heard people see great results and toning from doing it for a few months straight, so I need to really make it a goal to do it consistently each week.

Besides those three, a few other workouts I’ve done are HIIT videos and light weights, which honestly aren’t my favorite. I used to be so into HIIT, and I still do it every once in a while, but not very often. I’ve noticed that I’ve been more into the low impact workouts than a crazy, jumping up and down HIIT workout. As for weights, I know people say it’s great for building muscle and strengthening your core. But I just can’t get into it. I feel like it’s so boring just standing lifting weights for an hour straight, and I feel soooo sore afterwards, haha.

Overall, my goals for working out are finding forms of movement that make me feel good and leave me feeling accomplished. I’m trying to focus on being more consistent and getting into a better workout routine, and really making an effort to get movement in every day!

What are your favorite ways to exercise? Any workouts I should try?

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