What does your workout mean to you?

Hi, friends! I hope your weekend was great! We had a lot of fun with my girlfriend, Judy, who was visiting us from Orlando. I dropped her off at the airport this morning, and it’s back to business as usual now. I’ll chat more about our awesome time with Judy soon, but today is all about WORKOUTS … 

Next time you’re thinking about exercising, I want you to think about this …

What does your workout mean to you?

Because once you find your “why,” you’ll also be able to find more consistent motivation and purpose.

What does your workout mean by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

In the past, like a way long time ago, my only form of exercise was running on the treadmill. That’s all I did. No sit-ups, no push-ups, no weights, no machines, just pounding the treadmill over and over. I did it at the exact same time every single day before working in my corporate job, and those workouts meant a few things to me.

  1. Routine. I thrived on routine. I woke up at the same time each day (5:22 a.m. to be exact), had my workouts clothes folded and ready in my bathroom, so I could slip them on, grab my water bottle and head down to my apartment complex gym.
  2. Sweat and breathlessness. I didn’t think a workout was working unless I got sweaty and felt totally fatigued at the end. All cardio. All the time.
  3. Willpower. I liked to prove to myself and everyone else that I didn’t miss a day, and I always completed my hour. 
  4. Accomplishment. I liked to start my day knowing I did something that was making me “healthier and fitter and thinner” by spending a full hour on the treadmill.

And that’s that. That’s what workouts were to me entirely. If I think about it now, that’s pretty sad, because boy have things changed.

These days, my workout is rarely at the exact same time each day, it happens around mid-morning, not first thing, and it takes place at a real gym, not my apartment complex gym. I have to put in quite a bit more effort to get it done, because it involves changing, packing my things, getting Brady ready, driving to the gym, checking him into childcare, coming up with a plan or making it to a class or teaching a class, then retrieving Brady, getting him back home, etc. It’s a lot to handle. And while I do have the option to work out at home, that’s just not my favorite. I had to do it for the first six months of Brady’s life when he wasn’t old enough for childcare and did come up with some best practices, which I share here “How to get the motivation to work out at home.”

Now, let’s talk about what I get from that time …

My workout gives me much-needed “me” time

Even though I have to put a lot more effort into my workout these days, it means SO much more to me. For instance, it’s “ME” time. I don’t get a lot of “ME” time. At all. I get a couple of hours after Brady goes to bed each night, but I use those to make dinner, clean up dinner, finish up blog work and maybe watch a TV show with Dave if I’m lucky. That’s it. But for those 30 to 60 minutes when I drop Brady off at childcare at the gym — that’s for me. And if, on the maybe bi-weekly occasion I get to go to a class at a studio without childcare, that means someone is watching Brady for me, and so other people are involved in getting me to that workout for the day. It’s a big deal. Because I have the ability to leave Brady with the gym daycare or perhaps with Dave on a weekend, it gives me this “free” feeling, and I know I am lucky to have that time. I need it. I crave it. Even if I don’t end up doing a tough workout and CERTAINLY even if I don’t do a full-hour workout.

And even if you don’t have kids at home, you can count on the fact that whatever time you devote to your workout is just for YOU. That’s powerful.

My workout makes me feel strong and mobile

Now that I’ve gone through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum recovery, I feel like every single workout, even the bad ones, let me know that I’m getting stronger, I’m growing, and I’m a very mobile person. I am ABSOLUTELY NOT the strongest person in the room. Even as a group fitness instructor, I have to work VERY hard to be able to model and demonstrate great technique and form with strength moves. My body just isn’t built to have big muscles or be incredibly powerful. I’m sad to say that I’m not a natural athlete, but I’ve gotten to where I am by putting in the effort of being consistent with my workouts so that I can do newer and harder moves.

I know what it feels like to carry 34 pounds of extra pregnancy weight, feel weak and not have full mobility. I know what it’s like to not even be able to do a plank a few months after childbirth. Because I have this baseline, it makes me feel SO good when I am doing just average and basic exercises. My body feels light. It feels good. Although it’s far from perfect and I have so many performance-based fitness goals I’ve not yet achieved, I appreciate the mobility and the movement and the progress. And THAT means a lot to me on a daily basis.

This can apply to everyone. Think of a time when you were sick, or injured and then know that on a daily basis if you’re in pretty good health, you have the ability and option to move your body — not everyone has that. Every time you’re moving your body, you’re making progress in some way.

What does your workout mean for you by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

My workout gives me a rush of energy

Elle Woods sure gave endorphins the reputation they deserve. Endorphins are good. Endorphins make you happy. And even when I do a sub-par workout, I always feel a little better. Just changing my mindset, location and getting my body moving does that for me. I know that I will feel a little more accomplished, energized and positive after my session, so that’s why I do it.

If everything in your life seems to be a bit messy and in shambles, if you give yourself that time to work out, I can almost guarantee some of the physical affects will positively influence your mental state. 

My workout keeps my body healthy

I’m pretty sure that I am as healthy as I am, because I eat pretty well most of the time, I use better skincare and body products, and I exercise consistently. While you can read study after study about how exercise is good for the heart, blood, circulation, muscles and all of that, it’s also good for helping you to sleep better at night and fight off illness too. The RIGHT amount of exercise that is, because too much isn’t a good thing.

I’ve always considered myself “healthy,” but I’ve gone through stages when I was certainly not as healthy as I thought. These days, I know for 100 percent sure I’m healthy. That feels awesome. I feel great. I may not be as toned as I want, and I may still struggle to do a few things in the gym I have my heart set on, but I feel good. That’s huge.

Is your health important to you? Then you need to dedicate time to movement, even if it’s just brisk walking a few times a week. (And if you’re a fitness lover, remember that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so take your rest days and here’s how to do that.)

What does your workout mean to you by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

My workout sets a good example

Because I make it a point to exercise several days a week, Brady will grow up knowing that exercise is important. People in my life know that I’m a consistent gym goer and group fitness teacher, and they often ask me questions about fitness and what workouts they should try. Or they just tell me they actually worked out that week. I love this. I love to help people in real life and all of you who read this blog. You don’t have to be a hero to be healthy, but it does feel nice to know that other people sure are watching your habits and appreciating them.

Who is watching you? Do you want them to see that you place an importance on your health? I bet you do!

Overall benefits of a workout

While we’re led to believe on Instagram and in the media that the only reason to work out is to earn donuts or cheat meals or to look good in a bikini, I find that it’s so much more than that. So the next time you’re struggling to find motivation — dig deep and remember that a workout is so much more than some repetitions and or some sweat … it’s a powerful tool for your mental and physical state, and it’s worth your time and effort.

Thanks for reading, my friends!

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Questions of the day

What does your workout mean to YOU?

What’s your favorite part about working out?

How was your weekend?

Did you work out today?

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  1. Hi Ashley. I am one of those that rolls out of bed straight into my workout clothes. I like an early morning routine. I don’t usually take a day off but like today when I do I find things at home to do. Today I washed a car and mowed the lawn. I still feel like I got a workout in even if I didn’t get inside a gym. I think my workouts give me the satisfaction that I did something positive for my body.

    1. Yes! So you thrive on the routine and of course the love you have for spin too hehheeh! Glad you got some chores done too. Thanks for saying hi, as always, Richard! 🙂

  2. Yes! I love my “ME” time. I use to run 6 days a week as well, all cardio, all the time, and had to sweat a lot to believe I did something that mattered or would make a difference. Thank goodness age brings wisdom, lol. Now I run a max of 3 days a week, and some of those may be brief. Today, I did a CrossFit class and walked my dog, and that brought me joy and fulfillment. I also swim, enjoy yin yoga, a spin class every now and then……. Basically, I mix my workouts up and I love it. CrossFit is a fave now, but I love it all. And while I probably still do more than I really need to, to be healthy (I am working on this bit), I enjoy variety. It is my time to “get out of my head” and just be in the moment, knowing that my mind and body will be healthier for it.

    1. Hi Tracy! Okay, hearing you (or seeing you) say “brings you joy and fulfillment” THAT is what it’s about. I love that so much. And it’s great to have a lot of variety, so you aren’t overdoing one particular thing. Keep up the awesome work, lady! Thank YOU for sharing all this!

  3. I love all of the points you brought up here! No, I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I love the feeling and the strength I feel after a great workout. I’ve recently found myself being very bored with my usual classes (BodyPump, spin, HIIT, etc.) and felt like I was dragging myself to the gym every day. A Burn Boot Camp location opened up near me about 3 weeks ago so I’ve been doing a trial run of that and I’m absolutely obsessed and feel re-energized and rejuvenated about working out. The memberships are a bit pricey, but I’m still thinking about doing it because I think it will be a good investment and I am really loving how I’m feeling right now, even after just a few weeks 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley! I LOVEEEEEE that you listened to your body and mind and made a switch — I’ve been considering doing something like that too — wish we had a Burn, because I know they have childcare. And hey — YES — it costs money to go to Burn, but what are the benefits? Perhaps worth it, right? Thanks for sharing, lady!

  4. I workout for mental clarity and sanity! Also to feel healthy and strong 🙂 I love the way a workout clears my head and gives me energy to go on with my day.

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