So now that I’ve committed to taking care of my body and am becoming this super cool fit person (who still kind of looks the same and still gets tired on stairs because hello, stairs are the worst), am I just set? Can I just keep doing what I’m doing? Unfortunately for all of us creatures of habit, not quite.
I’ve found that the longer and more seriously I commit myself to my workouts, the more new and different challenges I discover. I think that’s okay though. First of all, part of what makes working out fun is the constant striving. And, guys, you want to talk about being a little smug? Nothing makes you feel more smug than being on the verge of a running injury. (Just kidding, running injuries are very serious — stop messing around and take care of yourself! (Shh, I love it.))
Here are some tips I have for you for when you really feel like you should be all set with the fitness tips, but yet, never seem to be.
1) Invest in your workouts.
And by this I mean, spend a lot of money. Don’t go psycho, but when they say you need $10 socks… they kind of aren’t lying.
You can definitely be fit on a budget–hello, running outside is free! But sometimes I have to not buy clothes-clothes so I can buy running clothes. At first, I was super annoyed about it. But then, ugh fine, Warren was right and a moisture wicking layer does keep me cooler and ugh, fine, my feet don’t hurt anymore if I replace my shoes at the proper intervals. (I realize I have never been wearing moisture wicking clothes in my running pictures, but that’s because of laundry and Beyoncé always coming first.)
Plus investing actual money in your workout will make you invest your energy more. Unless you’re a millionaire, in which case, why are you reading this? Go use your celebrity trainer and eat your delicious 300-calorie chef-cooked meals and don’t let me hear a word of complaint.
2) Grab a partner
I suggest finding someone, anyone, to be your partner. Mine is Ella (my dog) and I’m not even lying right now. I actually started running because of her, because her health and quality and length of life are so directly related to how fit she is. (Okay, all of ours are, you’ll realize eventually, but especially Golden Retrievers!) I want her to live way longer than average for her breed, which means both she and I get (almost) daily exercise.
I had to run every day to keep my puppy in good shape. But now that she’s the one who’s feeling very “no thank you, running” and I’m the one who’s like, “Let’s go! So fun!” she’s still helpful to have along. Like I give her little pep talks when we’re running and it’s really for me but I sound a little less crazy. Also we look so all-American that sometimes I feel like we’re in a dog food commercial.
3) Don’t beat yourself up on the bad days.
I run mostly the same route every day and sometimes, it’s so easy I start to worry if I’m doing enough. (Sometimes I’m not and thus, the below tip.) But some days, I feel like I’m giving everything I’ve got and just barely surviving.
These are called bad days. They don’t take anything away from your good days and who knows why they happen. (I mean sometimes, it’s because your boyfriend made you too many margaritas.) On the bad days, I used to panic that I wasn’t improving at all, but that’s just silly. Bad days just happen.
And if you still do your workout on the bad days, I promise you’re getting better right in that moment.
4) Expect plateaus.
Every couple of months I hit this point where I’m like, “running is so easy, am I now a running star?” And that’s when I realize I’ve probably plateaued.
It really sucks to hit a plateau because you just want to be happy that what used to be hard for you is now easy. But you’re not going to get any better doing what’s easy. Each time you hit a plateau, you have to think of a new way to push yourself.
I recommend making your boyfriend (who never works out but is somehow still faster than you) run with you and train you (like the intervals and slow runs), or finding someone who’s in a place you want to get to and asking for their help. Or there’s also this fabulous thing called “the Internet”, but please don’t get too scared or disappear into a Pinterest rabbit hole and never actually do anything differently (which is what I do every time I’m bored with the way I braid my hair).
5) Trust your body and know your limits.
Sometimes in hot yoga (okay, fairly often), I hit a wall about 45 minutes in and that’s basically it. I could try to do a headstand now but then I would probably pass out and that would suck for everyone. When I get really overheated and my heart won’t slow down, I stop. For the rest of the class, I pretend like I’m still trying, but really I’m doing the barest minimum in order to survive until the end.
But wouldn’t you so prefer to have to stop/slow down a little early one time, rather than push yourself too far and jeopardize your future workouts for a lot longer? Yes, yes you would. This doesn’t mean you give up when things get hard. It means you give up when you’re about to literally lose consciousness (and also probably a little before that).
And hey, it happens to everyone. This skinny girl who’s always brag-handstanding (that’s when you handstand when it’s not asked of you during transitions just to brag to everyone else) hit her limit in this class I was in yesterday. (I did, too.) And if she can brag-handstand and still cut herself some slack, then I certainly think we all can.
That’s all for now. I hope you’re enjoying sweating your little butt off in this fabulous summer. It makes you feel so ALIVE! Keep up the good work, the good bragging, and the good whining. I’m always all ears!