As you lovely people know, Warren and I are getting married this fall. It’s very exciting! But so this leads me down a million little Pinterest holes, reading articles like, “The 10 Most Common Things Brides Regret Not Doing for Their Wedding Day.” (Which, is not an article I generally like to read because, hi, weren’t you supposedly marrying someone you love deeply that day? Do you really need to nitpick about regrets?) And on this list, I’m not even kidding, was, “Not Having Skinny Arms.”
Is that the worst thing you’ve read on the internet or what?
When I told my mom this, she got really mad, and yeah, it’s so stupid. Like, your arms being not skinny shouldn’t be what you’re thinking about on your wedding day. But, as often happens, I was immediately pulled down from my self-righteousness about this when I basically had a full on melt-down after seeing pictures of my arms in the beautiful wedding dress I had just so joyfully purchased.
So, okay, fine. I get it.
I’ve always said I want to look like myself on my wedding day, and myself is not a little tiny girl. So I’ve never planned to do very much beyond my normal workouts before the wedding, and mostly that’s still true. You’re not going to see pictures of me on my wedding day and be like, “Holy crap, Alice lost 75 pounds!” because no, I’m not going to. But you MIGHT say I have really nice arms. (Please, right now, forget you ever read this because now I’m going to think that everyone is staring at my arms on my wedding day when obviously you should be staring at my hair).
For the past year, I’ve been approaching fitness through the lens of doing running for cardio and yoga for everything else (strength, conditioning, stretching, aerobics). And sorry, while I truly love yoga and find it’s benefits to be plentiful, it is not everything else (unless you’re doing handstand nonsense all the time and then maybe).
Now, I’m finally listening to Warren and every fitness blogger on the internet and really upping my exercise to cover all the types of activity I need and to cover all my body parts (and not just my legs). Why wouldn’t I just do some bicep curls, you ask? Well, it doesn’t really work that way.
So as I continue “Operation Wedding Arms,” I have a few more fitness tips for you.
1) Change up your workouts regularly.
I hate this tip more than anything because everyone always says it (hi, Warren) and I HATE IT. I’m a habit forming girl and I hate changing my habits. Also, I probably have a slightly addictive personality- I seriously am obsessed with running. I don’t want to stop!
But this is something everyone tells you to do every six-eight weeks because it’s actually important. Your body is going to get used to what you do. It gets harder and harder to push yourself past plateaus if every thing you do is habit.
I’ve added strength training (weights) and cross-training type workout classes to push my body in new ways. I love it and I’m going to be really sad when I need to find new workout classes at the end of February. But I’ll tell you- three weeks of this and I already look better in tank tops. Thanks for nothing, two years of yoga (again, I really love yoga).
2) Add more workouts as you add more variety.
Look, I didn’t run this much for two years to give it up for skinny arms. I don’t want to lower my running (although I do less runs now that cover more distance) and I don’t want to skip yoga. So instead of cutting back on those to make room for other workouts, I just added those workouts!
Sure, that means I’m working out what feels like all the time, but it’s not really. And actually, I’m really into it and sometimes add stuff FOR FUN even when it’s not on my list.
3) Even if you’re targeting one body part, you have to work out your whole body.
I really only want skinny arms, you guys! UNFORTUNATELY, I can’t get them without working out my whole body.
Everything’s connected you see, so yes, I do need to work on my back and my chest and my shoulders (not considered part of my arms in the alternate universe I live in). And it’s even all connected to my legs too!
The best way to get one body part looking fancy is to work on your whole body and improve your whole body. Ugh.
4). Take advantage of winter.
I feel like most people think of winter as the time everyone gets pudgy and lazy. It’s so hard to go outside in the cold! And if it’s icy where you live, you have to use a treadmill? Treadmills are miserable monsters.
But I LOVE winter for working out. You have way less social activities happening because everyone is nesting (just me?) so you have more time. And you will never feel warm unless you workout in winter (straight fact). There’s something very magical about getting really sweaty and really tired and walking out to the biting cold.
Don’t hide behind your big sweaters and your control top tights all winter- work hard. Then, when you’re busy in summer, you’ll already be addicted to working out and also, you’ll start the season feeling good in your skimpy clothes and not having to work up to them.
5) When you set goals, know your body type.
Look, I’m never going to look like Gigi Hadid. I find her beautiful and perfect, obviously, but that’s just not in the realm of human possibility for me. I’m made differently!
The best thing I ever did for my approach to fitness was realizing my own body’s limits. And no, that’s not sad. I’m not saying my body can’t accomplish amazing fitness feats. I’m saying, my bones can’t change shape and my metabolism isn’t about to change dramatically and I’m probably stuck at this height and my muscles don’t make me look like a ballerina. And I don’t even care.
I know that to be happy and proud of my body, I don’t have to look like a model.
Go ahead and write down everyone you always say #BodyGoals to and immediately cross off everyone who’s body type is categorically different than yours. There is no point wasting time wishing you looked like a Victoria’s Secret model if that’s not a reality.
Instead, obsess over improving YOUR body to the best it can be. And maybe someday, you’ll even like it better than theirs. I do and that’s the best.