So if you have been reading my blog for a while, you obviously know that I have a passion for fitness, and I love working out and being active. Even if you haven’t been reading my blog for long, you can tell by the name of this blog (thesavedrunner), that I love to run. Now I totally understand that there are plenty of people out there who don’t get how anyone could enjoy working out or hitting the pavement to run miles upon miles. That’s okay. Just keep reading. You might like something you read later.
I started thinking the other day, and I don’t think I ever really shared how my love for fitness really came about. So lucky for you (or not so lucky for you if you don’t care), here is my story.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been active. I started taking dance classes when I was three years old and starting playing soccer at the age of four. I never stopped playing sports or moving since. My family and I played tennis together for what seemed like my whole life. In second grade I started playing basketball, and in sixth grade I took up volleyball. I loved sports, and most of my free time was spent at some type of sports practice, game, camp, or just practicing outside at home. In addition to these planned sports, I grew up with a playful, active family. I often remember my parents, brother, and I playing some type of game outside or inside that was always fun. From a young age, I was happiest when my body was active and I was playing.
By the time I got to high school I was serious about sports, and I was very excited to play for and represent my school. Since I came from a small town, the athletes didn’t just play one sport, but they played all of them. This was great for me, because I liked them all so much I don’t know what I would have chose. I played volleyball, cross-country, basketball, tennis, and one year of track.
Sorry, I couldn’t find a picture of me playing volleyball, basketball, or running cross country, so I put these posed pictures. 🙂 The one of me holding a basketball all dressed up was me with the other senior girls from the team on the night we went to prom.
I actually only started running cross country in high school to stay in shape for basketball. I hated running “for no reason”, (what I used to say), but I knew if I did cross country it would help me be in better shape for basketball season. Well, it didn’t take long for me in high school to start to enjoy cross country. I began to love it, and running became a way to relax and let go of any stress I had. I began to run more and more, and by my junior year of high school I actually made it to state in cross country. Now, I still wouldn’t say cross country was my favorite or best sport; that would have been tennis. But when I decided not to play a sport in college, I knew I would stay active someway! I began to run every day after high school.
One thing I was excited about after high school was never having to lift weights again. Since I played so many sports, my coaches made me lift a lot of weights, and at the time I hated it. I remembered telling my family I couldn’t wait until the day when I never had to lift again and could just run all of the time. (Funny how things change, right? I would never say this now!)
So I went off to college and continued to run every day. I loved intramural sports, I and played on every team I could! But besides intramurals, the only exercise I was getting was running, occasionally the elliptical, and fitness classes at our school’s recreational center.
Things changed in January 2012 when Ryan and I decided to do Insanity together.
We did the whole sixty days, and we stuck to a strict diet. During this sixty days, I definitely became stronger, and I felt so much better. It was here when I realized that my cardio only workouts weren’t good enough. I knew in order to be strong, and feel great, I needed to do strength training too.
After Insanity, I began to alternate days between strength and cardio days, and I would often try to combine the two. Since then, I continue to add more and more strength training to my workouts, and I can tell such a huge difference! I am a girl who used to be all about cardio and wouldn’t do anything else. I honestly thought that was best. I am SO GLAD I realized that this isn’t best. We all need a balance of cardio and strength, and by adding strength to my workouts, I am making myself a better runner! I run faster than I did two years ago when all I would do is go out and run. I am also happier. You appreciate and love your runs more when you don’t run every day. If you are like I used to be and think it’s all about cardio, please give strength training a try! It’s not just for men, I promise.
Now, I have obviously always lived an active lifestyle, but I choose to still be active because it makes me happy. Working out gives me energy! I feel so much more alive on the days when I wake up to work out in the morning than I do on the mornings where I don’t get up and move. I love knowing that I can be busy and moving all day, and not be exhausted at the end of the day because I have worked and trained my body to endure. I love being confident that I can lift heavier things than most people think just because I’m a small girl. I love knowing I can get out and run long distances without feeling like I am about to die. Whenever I have kids one day, I want to have the energy to be able to play with them and run with them. I want to grow old and still feel young because of the energy I get from working out. I want to enjoy the way my body can move and be active, because this is a gift that I know I take for granted. So I am going to challenge you, be active so you can do the things you love.
Please notice, I did not ask you to run or lift weights. I challenged you to be active. Too many people think working out means you have to run or lift weights. This is not true at all. Working out needs to be something you enjoy, because if you don’t enjoy it, you most likely won’t do it for long. Working out shouldn’t be something you do for a few weeks or months and then you stop because you get tired of it. It needs to become part of your lifestyle, and in order for that to happen you need to find what works for you.
Zumba or dancing might be the way you enjoy being active. Maybe it is riding a bike, or walking with your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, family member, or friend. It could be swimming, hiking, or maybe it is running or lifting weights. Maybe you live in a city and you enjoy walking around downtown. Do that! If you have kids and you just want to run around in your yard with the little ones, do that! Go to a park, throw a frisbee, play a sport, do whatever makes you smile! I honestly believe that if you find a way to be active that you enjoy, and you make that a part of your lifestyle, you will be happier. Research has shown that working out is a great way to relieve stress, be healthy, and make you happier. You just have to choose to be active. Find what works for you and do it! I love running, playing sports, lifting weights (this is a new love for me), and basically anything I can do outside. So that’s what I do.
Also remember, that a good workout doesn’t have to be an hour or hours long. Maybe you really want to work out but you only have twenty minutes. That’s fine! Make the most of that twenty minutes, push yourself hard, and you can get an awesome workout in that amount of time! Just make the choice to be active.
So I just challenged you. Will you accept that challenge? I hope you do. And don’t wait for the new year to start being healthier. Start today!
1. What made you get into living an active lifestyle and working out?
2. What is your favorite way to be active?
3. What are some yummy holiday treats you will be baking this year for Christmas?