One of the realizations I’ve had lately is that I have to work out smarter, not harder. There were so many times when I was ‘on the wagon’, working out every day and just crushing it. I’d do all right at first with good progress and be really motivated, but my progress always slowed down. I’d be busting my butt on the treadmill and not getting anywhere. Any progress I had experienced would practically come to a complete halt and I would eventually start to think I wasn’t doing enough. I’d think I have to work out harder, burn more calories, stay at the gym longer.
I’d manage some success…20 or 30 lbs…but progress would continue to stall and that always led me to frustration, exhaustion, and in retrospect I think some cycles of depression. It’s really depressing when you feel like you’ve failed at something…even more so when you feel like you repeated that failure.
Now, after lots of research and reading as well as my own trial & error over the years, I’ve learned more about how my body works and reacts to different types of exercise. I’ve learned how beneficial it can be to switch things up and not let your body become too accustomed to the exercises. I’ve learned how important it is to incorporate some amount of time into working out with weights and building some muscle which helps your metabolism. I’ve started to question everything and ask “is there a different way to approach this”. For example, if I’m putting in 2 miles a day on a treadmill, would there be a benefit to splitting that up? What if I did 1 mile in the morning and 1 mile in the evening? What would that do to my metabolism? There’s only one way to find out…you have to experiment, you have to try different things, you have to question everything. That’s where I’m at.
I’m still tweaking my exercise…constantly actually. I think that’s key. I’m thinking it’s important to look for different ways to walk and flex and at different times of the day. And it doesn’t all have to be boring exercise…what about bowling, yoga, biking, or a stroll through the park. Of course, there are days where I’m just trying to find time for exercise and that can be a battle itself. In those times I also try to think, “how can I get smarter at this and make it more convenient?”
The biggest benefit to this learning has been that it allowed me to realize that all that time I really was working out hard enough. I was doing enough. I was committed enough…. I just needed to work out differently. And that realization has helped to ease the guilt of those years of failing.
It’s a journey… and I’m just trying to stay focused and motivated…