Move Yourself, Don't Lose Your Self

Today I want to share a little bit about my exercise journey. It can be broken into two parts: (1) exercising to get my body to FUNCTION a certain way (i.e. training for sports) and (2) exercising to get my body to LOOK a certain way (i.e. training for weight loss).

As a college field hockey player, I spent four years focusing on getting faster, stronger, and just all around better. I needed to run a quicker mile, lift heavier weights, reach a new level on the beep test, etc. On field, I wanted to improve my stick handling moves, be able to pass with more accuracy, and hit the ball harder. One of the great things about sports is that you can always learn more and you can always get better. At the same time, constantly exercising your body with the goal of making it better can be exhausting.
After college, I started training for a half marathon. Once again I was following a plan to prepare me to be able to run 13.2 miles. Every workout was oriented towards the end goal.
In the last two years, I became much more interested in using exercise as a tool for making me look a certain way. I loathed the thighs I had worked so hard to strengthen in college. I was determined to lean them out and, while I was at it, why not slim down all around and lose a few pounds, too? Once again, I was exercising to change my body. I became obsessed with working out and eventually got injured... which leads me to the current chapter of my journey with exercise.
Today, I do not set goals in the weight room or wear a watch when I run. I don't force myself to stick to a workout schedule. I know I will exercise most days (simply because I enjoy it), so I let myself choose in the moment what I feel like doing. If I tell myself at night that I am going to run five miles in the morning, but wake up feeling sore, then I will still run the five miles out of a sense of obligation to my "plans." So, now, I just figure out when I will have time for exercise in my day, plan to leave that time available, and pack the necessary clothes/snacks to make it happen, but I don't set any particular activity in stone. Having just moved, my favorite exercise right now is exploring new hiking trails or back road loops in my new town. I also get to take fitness classes at my work for free, so trying those out has brought some fun variety into the mix.
At the beginning of 2016, I discovered barre3 online. I joined their New Year's Challenge, and haven't looked back since. I started this when I was still in the mindset of exercising to change my body but, gradually, the philosophy of barre3 began to influence my mindset. Barre3 is all about finding balance- in the body and in life. The goal is to  challenge yourself while still "honoring your truth." The workouts are phenomenal, don't get me wrong, but it's the whole community surrounding the workouts that really keeps me coming back for more.
I could go on and on about all of the benefits of barre3, but let me just give you a quick run down:
The Workouts
  • Build strength and cardio at the same time
  • Incorporates stretching, breathing, and spinal movement
  • Always options to moderate or "take it turbo"
  • Many, many workouts that do not require any equipment, making them easy to do anywhere
  • Options for 10, 30, 40 or 60 minute workouts
  • Emphasis on building strength and flexibility for whole body health and maximum functioning
  • As a diabetic, I love these workouts because they really don't effect my blood sugar at all! I have yet to get low while doing barre3.
The Community
  • Promotes balanced living
  • Does not believe in calorie counting, but values whole-food approach to eating
  • Numerous delicious recipes available on the site
  • Inspirational instructors- I have never met any of these women, yet I feel so connected to them. They are constantly inspiring me during workouts by saying things like "it's okay if you fall out of balance" and they never talk about how the workout will make you LOOK- they always emphasize the importance of how it makes you FEEL.
  • Insightful and meaningful posts published on the blog weekly on anything from being a mom to staying healthy on the go.
As you can see, there is so much to love about barre3! I highly recommend that you check it out, but even if you don't, remember that exercising shouldn't be about changing yourself, but about celebrating all that you already are. Move yourself, but don't lose your self!