Editor’s Note: The following article is one in a series of pieces designed to help busy moms do it all—from taking care of the kids to taking care of themselves and their households, brought to you by Colgate.
While I was never a fitness fanatic, I have had periods of my life where I’ve been in very good shape. I watched my diet (but still enjoyed good food and drink!), went to the gym several days a week for weight training and floor work and when I didn’t go to the gym, I power-walked, rode my bike or in-line skated. I looked good and I felt good, and working out was second nature to me, just something that I built into my daily schedule.
But I’ve gotten lazy, and I’ve gained weight. It didn’t happen overnight; it happened over the course of nearly 10 years. Some radical life changes, only some of them positive, found me without workout buddies, without a gym a convenient distance from my house, and without motivation to exercise on my own.
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So when I finally decided, once and for all, that I needed to get moving again, I was surprised at how much I remembered about working out. Even though I’m working out at home to DVDs, the old lessons of fitness came right back to me. Here are just a few of them that spring to mind while I’m sweating it out:
You don’t forget form. I may be out of shape, but I remember how to work out. I know how to not hyperextend my knees when I do a lunge or squat; I know how to tighten my abs to protect my back from swaying; I know how far I need to raise my arms to get the most out of a tricep extension. In short, it’s all coming back to me, just like riding a bike, which I also still remember how to do!
You are stronger than you think you are. I always needed to push myself to do more at the gym, and if I worked with a trainer, I’d tell her the same—to push me to work harder. You want to avoid injuries, of course, but by going a little past your comfort zone, and a little more past it the next time, you’ll rediscover how strong you really are.
You can come back fast. When I would first look in the mirror when I started working out again, all I saw was softness and flab. But it didn’t take long—about two weeks, really—before I saw some muscles starting to peek out on my arms. My butt started getting firmer right away, too. There’s no doubt that I still have a way’s to go before I see real definition, but it’s encouraging to see results so fast.
You’ll sleep better. This is a fairly simple cause and effect equation. I’m working out, and I’m using muscles and exerting myself more than I was before I started working out. As a result, I go to bed tired, I fall asleep more easily, and I sleep better during the night.
You’ll feel sexier. When you look good on the outside, you tend to feel good on the inside; at least that’s true for me. Even with the slight improvements to my physique, knowing that I am taking care of myself, and being more aware of my body has made me feel sexier. And it doesn’t hurt that my husband has noticed the changes to my body.
You’ll perform better, everywhere. Combine the improved self-esteem that comes from knowing that I’m taking care of myself and seeing results, feeling sexier and sleeping better. The result? I’m feeling sharper and more motivated at my job, more creative in the kitchen, and I’m dreaming up new ideas and projects left and right. I’m dancing and playing more with my daughter, and I’m more willing to chase her or get down on the floor with her and play with her toys. All because I’m working out!
Here’s hoping I can stick with my new workout routine! I do find it hard to stay motivated without workout buddies and a gym to go to, but for now, my DVDs and I are hanging in there. I know I didn’t put on weight and get out of shape overnight, so I’m not expecting to get back in shape overnight, either. But trust me; just start. Give yourself a couple of weeks and you, too, will remember all those truths you forgot about fitness!