The Discomfort of a New Habit
This is how much I love you guys. I'm giving you a gallery of Ugly Exercising Face and my extremely dorky happy dance when weight training is over. My children would call it cringey and they'd be right. But I'm hoping it will help me make my point.
Let's back up a minute. This is the month that I'm really pushing a lot of clients and members to step up their exercise game. And I'm right there with you. I've been told by doctors that I need to do more weight-bearing exercise to increase my bone density. Then in October I attended an event where I got to meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal trainer. Y'all. She's pretty much the Coolest Woman To Walk The Earth, and by the way, she's a FOUR-time cancer survivor. She hired Bryant Johnson when she realized it was time to get stronger.
So I'm at this event, and remember, I'm a health coach, so I should know better, but I still asked: What should I do, because I HATE WEIGHT TRAINING and I hate the gym. And he told me like it is. He asked if I cared about my health. He pointed out all the things I do to take care of myself. And finally he asked, "Then why aren't you doing this?" (And then he gave me a big kiss and some free workout equipment! SWOON! But that's a story for another day.)
Since then I've downloaded a great app on my iPad to make it easier to get in some weight-bearing exercise. But I'm inconsistent with it. So this week, I made a commitment to practice what I preach. I put three weight-bearing workouts on my calendar every week. I'm keeping that promise to myself, and I'm making it work for me. Notice I'm working out in my bedroom. Nothing fancy. Me, some weights, some resistance bands, my app and, oh yeah, my autographed copy of The RBG Workout. Because he's right, if she can do, so can I.
New habits are uncomfortable, you guys. They just are. Keep going. Make a commitment to yourself. Make a promise to yourself. And just keep doing it. Do you know how long it took me to make that morning lemon water a habit? Months. Some mornings, it seemed insurmountable. Impossible. I was tired, and everyone was up earlier than normal and asking me for stuff. But I did it anyway. And it got easier.
When that reminder came up on my phone today to go do my weight workout, I didn't want to stop what I was doing. But I did it anyway. Because I know it will get easier. DO IT ANYWAY. Keep going. I'm right there with you.
Here’s the deal: every Friday evening through the beginning of May, I have to drop a kid off at rehearsal on Mill Street in Vienna. I will then go for a walk on the W&OD trail. If you’d like to join me, meet me at the Vienna caboose at 5:15 on Fridays. You do not have to be a Member or client, and your fitness level doesn’t matter. You just show up, come as you are, even if you’re not in workout clothes. We will walk until someone’s ready to turn around, and then we will end our walk either at Caboose Brewing Co. or Whole Foods in Vienna for a coffee, tea or beverage ~ your choice. This is a place for moving, connecting and winding down the week, NOT competition, feelings of “I can’t” or judgment. If no one shows up, I’ll be walking anyway, but any or every Friday, feel free to join me! Text me at (917) 531-4409 if you’re coming that week so I know to watch for you. Let’s get moving! Release stress! Reduce cancer risk! Increase those telomeres! Connect! We might even see a gorgeous sunset or a bee that fell asleep in a flower with pollen on its butt! (I look at those pictures whenever I need a smile.) See you there!
Girls On The Run
As you know, one of my core beliefs is that we must serve our communities and help the undernourished. Many of you were part of our 5K team back in January that raised money for Food for Others. I've also had the privilege this year of serving as a coach for Girls On The Run of Northern Virginia, an organization dedicated to guiding and mentoring pre-adolescent and adolescent girls through an interactive curriculum centered on confidence, strength, connection, community and other important life skills . . . all while training for a 5K. This morning I had the privilege of kicking off GOTR NOVA's 20th anniversary on NBC 4 with some of my girls. I'm looking forward to another season with this incredible organization.
I posted these pictures yesterday for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Now I don't mean to leave my male clients out, because this applies to you too. Inactivity is a killer. Literally. Our bodies were meant to move, and it's not just for maintaining weight and heart health. You need it for hormone balance, stress management, controlling inflammation, brain health, cancer risk reduction and more. Listen, it's a well-known fact by now that I personally dislike the gym. So I find other ways to move - with girlfriends on walks on the W&OD trail, on my bike with my husband, on horses with my daughter, on skis with my family, with my Girls On the Run team (and I'm a Coach On A Walk at those practices and races, so no excuses!). Get moving, y'all! ESPECIALLY if you're a woman of certain fabulous age . . . menopause throws a real wrench into your metabolism, and the best way to fight back is to move your body and do weight-bearing exercise to increase muscle mass and preserve bone density. So bundle up . . . I'll see you out there!
It took me about thirty years to figure out something I heard articulated so well in one of my courses last week: there's baggage around the word EXERCISE. "You should exercise." "I don't have time to exercise." "I really need to exercise more." And here's the thing. I don't like the gym. I really wish I did. I want to like the gym. I've tried mixing things up a little: the treadmill, the bikes, elliptical trainers, lifting weights, swimming, different classes. Some things are more fun than others, but when I'm at the gym, I'm pretty much counting the minutes until I can leave. Running is the same way (I can't run anymore for reasons I'll get into another time). It does release stress, it does help me fit into the clothes I like to wear, but I pretty much can't wait for it to be over.
MOVING your body, on the other hand, is fun. And easier than you think. I too was brainwashed for a while into thinking if it was really that much fun, you must not be working hard enough. No pain, no gain, right? A few years ago, I started riding horses. I became really good friends with a woman at the barn who was a more advanced rider. She broke her foot (not riding horses, by the way) and had to take a few months off. By the time she was back at the barn, she was complaining that she'd gotten out of shape, that the break from riding had left her core and legs weak. I rolled my eyes on the inside, because I thought, there's no way that's a workout. Turns out I was wrong. And I can't believe it's a workout because it is SO MUCH FUN. You know what else makes me stronger and gets my heart beating? Lugging the bales of hay out to the paddock to feed the horses. Carrying buckets of water and feed to their stalls. Shoveling and raking the ring. And on top of all that "exercise," the sounds and smells of the barn are just flat out good for my soul.
I also started cycling about a year ago with my husband. There's a good story behind that also, but my point is . . . that is a SERIOUS workout and I still LOVE it. I feel incredibly powerful on a bike. I was really nervous at first, especially when we were on roads. Also I fell over a lot when I got those pedals that you clip your shoes into. But now I'm addicted.
You may think horses stink (they do) and biking seems like a fair amount of trouble (sometimes it is), maybe the gym really IS your scene. But the takeaway here is, you don't have to have a dedicated hour in an official workout place with your fitness band/watch telling you your heart is in the fat burning zone (I came of age in the 80s, it was ALL ABOUT the fat burning zone). Just MOVE. Even if it's for a little bit. I sat at this computer for six hours yesterday working on the web site and attending classes, so when I took my middle guy to his piano lesson, I took a walk around his piano teacher's neighborhood for a half hour. It was gorgeous. The "computer kink" came right out of my neck.
Try new things. You might not like them. Keep trying, you'll find something you do, and in the process, you just might surprise yourself. Take the kids for a walk after dinner (I do this a lot in an attempt to wear my daughter out). Play outside with them. Find an adult league for a sport you used to love. Swim with the kids in the pool this summer, have races to see who can swim 25 meters first. Jump on that bike. Dance! If you're moving, you're getting healthier, you're managing stress and you might even be connecting with that teenager that hasn't spoken in 48 hours.