Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Fitness Journey

I was on my way home from a Zumba class, thinking about how far I've come. From dance classes as a little girl to virtually no exercise as a teen to feeling forced to exercise in my twenties to an almost 40 year old lady who looks forward to her gym time. I thought I'd share my story so far.

When I was a little girl, I took dance classes like a lot of other little girls. Tap, jazz, and ballet from when I was 4 until 6th grade (12 years old?). While I enjoyed dance, I loved ballet. I loved the positions, the grace, and elegance. I felt my most beautiful when I was dancing ballet and other ballerinas were so gorgeous. At 8, I wanted to be a professional ballerina. But when it was time to transition to pointe, my ankles were too weak and I wouldn't be able to. My teacher told me I would never have strong enough ankles to dance pointe and steered me to tap and jazz. Tap is only fun when you are a little kid and I couldn't see a life in jazz. This was the late 80's and jazz/hip hop wasn't big yet.

Here are a ton of photos from me back when I danced. Remember it was the 80's but I have no excuses for the perms:
I think I was between 7-9 here. These are probably the best outfits I got to wear to dance recitals.
 Now for the embarrassing ones. I should have never permed my hair. The two on the right are my last year of dance so I was 10-11, What is up with the iridescent legs on the bottom one? The one on the left was my favorite costume and my favorite dance recital ever. We danced to Conga by The Miami Sound Machine, thus starting my love of Latin music. 

I was moving to a more academically rigorous school and I agreed to drop dance until I got settled. I never went back.

My mom did Jazzercise when I was little but stopped when I went to school. Exercise wasn't something she did after that. My dad played handball until he broke his leg. And exercise in our family was minimal at best. My dad tried but my mom always shut it down. She didn't like getting dirty or sweaty. She didn't think anyone else should either.

In high school, I joined the track and tennis teams. I quit tennis when I found out we had to run laps daily. I hate running and refused to run. I wound up on track team because I discovered I liked throwing the shot put. Running wasn't mandatory when you participated in the other activities like shot put and javelin. We did some weight lifting but not much. No one wanted to be bulky.

In college, I discovered you could take all sorts of classes for your PE credit. I took bowling. I tagged along with some friends when they went to the fitness room but I mostly complained I was hungry and wanted to lay down. Other than walking, I did virtually no exercise until I left college.

At my first job, my coworker invited me to check out her gym. My coworker and I took yoga classes together. My mom was getting sick at that time and the gym was a great stress reliever. I would hop on a treadmill, walk for 45 minutes, and turn off my brain. I worked out almost daily for 2 years.

Then I switched jobs. My new job got me home later and I missed some of the classes I had loved to take. Then I met Taiki and I had other things to do than go to the gym.

After our wedding, I headed to Zumba and did that for about a year. Then the times the classes were offered changed and I couldn't make it anymore. Taiki and I joined a gym but finding time to go was difficult. When my dad first got sick, it was harder to find the time.

Last year, I had enough. I was tired of not feeling my best. I made some changes to my diet and headed back to the gym. I no longer rely on classes to get my workout in. I use Pinterest to find new workouts and I discovered kettlebells. I love kettlebells and I feel like such a badass when I do my kettlebell swings. Working out has become less of a have to and more of a want to. The time I spend at the gym is my time. It's all about me. And finding me time is essential to reducing my stress and increasing my sense of calm and well-being.

It's no longer just about the number on the scale or about the number on the back of my pants. It's about how much more I can lift today. How much more I'll be able to lift in 6 months? It's about how I feel.

What about you? Have you found your workout groove or are you trying to get the groove back?

1 comment:

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