For the past year and half, I’ve gotten up at 5:20 am to squeeze in a workout before I leave to go to work. While it has become almost an engrained routine, every morning I still have a mini internal argument with myself about going back to sleep before I finally guilt myself enough into waking up.
Now I’ve never been one for running. (It’s so boring to me. I never experienced that runner’s high…only runner’s dread.) So I stick to workout videos that I can do in the comfort of our tiny living room.
I roll out my yoga mat, pop in a DVD, and start my (hopefully) quick 40 minute workout. Since I’m not hardcore into exercising or waking up my sleeping hubby, I’ve gravitated toward gentler, more soothing workouts like Yoga and Pilates. Knowing that I’m waking up to do a relaxing exercise routine makes it slightly easier to pull myself out of bed. The Yoga and Pilates DVDs were all fairly intense workouts that didn’t make me want to hurl and kind of made me not totally hate exercising.
That is until I started reading all these healthy living blogs and they made my workout routine look like child’s play. Every morning, I’d read about these girls running 10 miles, lifting weights for an hour, and then biking home from work. At first, I thought they were crazy and then the more I was exposed to it the guiltier I felt about my seemly lackadaisical workout routine.
Sure I was working out but I never extend myself so vigorously that I had to sit down to catch my breath or almost threw up. Suddenly those once awful things seemed to become the symbol of a true workout to me.
The guilty grew and grew until eventually I felt compelled to change my workout routine, which for all intents and purposes was working out just fine for me. So last week, I bit the bullet and popped in Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.
I bought the video ages ago and worked out with it for awhile until I grew annoyed with her voice. The video includes 3 uber intense workouts that combine compound weight lifting movements with cardio. It’s one of those videos that leaves you with your heart in your throat.
Sure enough after I finished the grueling workout, I felt so incredibly nauseous that I had to sit on our couch for a good 15 minutes to regain my composure. I had finally experienced that sign of a “good” workout.
As I was sitting there trying to calm my stomach back down, all I kept thinking was, “Who made you think that working out hard means almost dying? Who are you really working out for? Those silly bloggers you’ve never even met?”
Who are you working out for?
That thought just wouldn’t leave my head.
Are you working out for them or for yourself?
And then gradually all that guilt that I built up inside myself started to melt away.
I work out for me and me alone.
I work out to live a longer, healthier, stronger life, not to prove that I take physical activity and living a healthy life more seriously than anyone else.
My fitness routine and my fitness level is not a measure of my life or my worth.
What is a measure of my worth is my commitment. I should be proud that I committed myself to waking up at 5:20 every morning and working out. Even though I hate it and I would rather pull the sheets back over my head, I force myself out of bed. That shows more character than bench pressing 200 pounds.
I’m not trying to say that healthy living blogs are evil or worthless but rather that they should all be taken with a grain of salt. Just because you like to workout so hard that you almost puke everyone does not mean that you are a better person than someone who does a gentle, relaxing workout.
We all have our own preferences and comparing ourselves to one another does nothing but makes us all feel guilty and less than worthy.
When you are your own worst critic, you do nothing but impede your progress and growth.
So today I wanted to celebrate all of you who have made a commitment to exercise in your life.
Whether you walk or bike, run or climb, sprint or jog, you are all living a healthy life. You should all be proud of yourselves!