Hey, I know what you’re thinking: It’s about time you get fitness advice from a totally normal girl with totally unimpressive fitness skills. Don’t fear, I’m ready to do just that!
But for real, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish people would just real talk about exercising and not pretend that waking up at 6:30 is super fun (it’s not) or that you’re going to see drastic results right away (you won’t). Because as previously mentioned, working out is hard.
So here are just five things I’ve learned along my little fitness journey. (I’ll hit you up with five more in a couple weeks.)
1) Be a little smug.
I’ve already talked about this one but that’s because it’s my favorite. Look, I’ve got nothing on most fit people. I read this running blog where an unsuccessful half marathon time for the runner is 7:58 minute miles. I will never be running 13 miles at that pace — it’s not in the cards. And I don’t want it to be! But I am proud and happy pushing myself in my own little ways every day.
There’s this joke that no one wants to hear about your workout unless you fell off the treadmill. If that’s true, then maybe you’re hanging around the wrong people. I love talking about workouts because it’s something I love.* Every day that I make an effort and a sacrifice to put exercising first, I’m a little smug. And I think that’s a good thing. Go Alice — you rocked it this morning when you could have been sleeping.
*Seriously, I love it. Please brag to me about your workouts any time you want.
2) Set goals that challenge you.
You’re going to get bored pretty fast if you just work out to punch a clock. Get excited about exercising! Have something fun that will make you REALLY proud when you hit it.
For me, I’ve been trying to do a headstand for like… ever. I have gotten really close a few times, but then my progress stalls when I have to take a six week class every weeknight or I move to the Hoboken winter from hell and I never make it to yoga. Somehow, I still haven’t hit it. But I’m really close again and I can’t wait to make it.
Or I am always trying to get faster when I run so I can run farther in the same amount of time. I plateau pretty frequently and it’s hard. So I brought my boo in to help. Now he makes me do interval training on hills (THE VERY WORST) and long slow runs on the weekends (kind of nice). Push yourself. It makes it more enjoyable, I promise.
3) Set standards… but cut yourself some slack when you don’t meet them.
I have these little rules for myself to make sure I am prioritizing exercise. Right now, it’s run five days a week and go to yoga twice a week. That way, when I hit these goals, I can feel proud and satisfied with my work. They also push me to run on the days I REALLY DON’T WANT TO. But I made a promise to myself that week and I owe it to the other four times I made it out to run to try. This dumb little quota is responsible for at least 20% of my runs.
But also, don’t beat yourself up when you can’t meet them. As long as you meet them most of the time, you’re doing well. Sometimes you really need to rest or spend time with your friends and family.
If you miss your goals one week, you’re not a failure. You just have something more to aim for the next week.
Full disclosure, I am really, really bad at giving myself a break. It’s something we can all work on together.
4) Embrace the miserable.
Look, I love both yoga and running. Not just what they do for me and how I feel afterwards, but WHILE I’m doing them, I love them. But I think the reason I can do this is because I embrace the miserable.
Like, if you expect exercising to never be miserable, you aren’t working hard enough. It hurts! It hurts on the 80 degree days. It hurts when you’re hungover. It hurts to push yourself to your limit. But it’s kind of cool to have the strength to embrace it and have fun with it (see snapchatting pictures of your sweaty red face after running) (this also falls into the being smug category).
If you accept that you’re going to be miserable a lot of the time, it’s going to be a lot easier.
5) Don’t become a crazy person.
Try really, really hard not to become a crazy person. I’ve been a crazy person before about food and exercise and it’s not fun at all. And as someone who’s been friends with a lot of crazy people, it’s driving everyone insane.
Just don’t be the person who will never go out to eat because you can only drink kale smoothies (never me). Or the person who hasn’t had anything fried for 9 months and gets sick at a birthday party when you have one bite of a potato skin (me one time). Or the person who won’t go out for weekday drinks because you have to get to yoga when you get off early (me all the time oops).
Health needs to be about balance or you won’t have any fun.
All right, that’s it for now. I know you’re wondering what cool running outfit I’m going to be wearing in the next post — so make sure to keep an eye out for more fitness tips. I can promise the pictures will just keep getting sweatier. Sexy.