As promised, please welcome Miss Crystal to MCLV for her first, and hopefully not last, guest post on fitness. As I said here, Crys resides in Southern California and has been the fitness guru of our group of college friends since she got into running, biking and yoga after school.
Without further ado, Finding Your Fit:
I LOVE to exercise. To the skeptical couch potatoes – please keep the eye rolls and groans to a minimum! It’s the truth. It really is and I know that if I can fall in love with ‘exercise’ anyone can.
I was never an athlete growing up. I played softball (terribly) for a few years at my father’s urging and promptly quit after being knocked in the chin by a ball. I participated in a jog-a-thon in sixth grade but didn’t care for running after that since I didn’t come in first place. (I used to knock over board games at family game nights too if I were losing. Yup.) I danced and cheered in high school but wasn’t committed to physical fitness in any way, shape or form. (I liked the attention I received, wearing the cheer uniform and putting on makeup before competitions.) Needless to say, my adolescence did not indicate that exercise would become a passion for me later in life.
After putting on the ‘freshman 15’ (or 20 or whatever) my first year in college, I decided that I should start ‘working out’. I woke up early and went to the gym with a sorority sister and moved my legs round and round on those elliptical machines. I remember feeling very proud of myself for completing 30 minutes of cardio (which I should have been considering how boring I find moving in place indoors in a fluorescent-lit sweat box to be today). Anyway, this routine gave way to the usual habits of football season drinking and fraternity parties. The next summer I took up Bikram yoga and began running outdoors. By the end of that summer I found myself running five miles every
day and practicing yoga every other day. Man, I looked so good. Goodbye beer belly, hello six-pack! Are you hopeful that I kept up this workout routine? I was too but I didn’t… Drinking was my favorite sport at that time and I finished out my college career with the aforementioned pattern of getting in an out of shape.
The post-college years marked a new, athletic era for me. Right out of college and (somewhat) more settled, I took up running again and found myself building up my miles quickly. I picked up a road bike and started riding in groups. Triathlons caught my attention and I completed a half Ironman during the second year after I graduated.
A lot of the road riders also mountain biked so I bought one of those and took on the mountains, competing in various cycling events. Yoga served as the perfect way to stretch, decompress and support the other physical activities and I reinstated that as part of my standard regimen. I loved how these physical activities connected me to other health-minded individuals, kept me focused on a new goal to achieve and transformed the way my body looked and felt. I was hooked. I now participate in yoga retreats, surfing trips, hiking treks, running competitions and so forth in California and internationally.
If you’re one of those who proclaims that you hate to break a sweat or move a muscle, try something different each week until you find your exercise match. We are all aware of the importance of exercise for health purposes but if you look at it as a chore or simply a way to shed pounds then I doubt you’ll stick with it. What’s more, I’m saying with
confidence that you (yes, you!) might even fall in love with physical activity in spite of yourself and discover a newfound passion. The key is to continue to try different activities until you find what inspires you. Here are a few suggestions I have for finding your fitness fit:
- Ask that friend of yours with the blonde hair and relaxed speech to loan you one of his ten surfboards and take you out when the waves are small
- Contact a local cycling or running shop and ask them about their team rides/runs
- Make a commitment to go to the next beginner’s event
- Find your sexy and get chiseled abs at a pole dancing class and show off your moves at the next party (if you actually do this please send me pictures :))
- Go on a paddleboarding date
- Go on Meetup.com and join a hiking, swimming or equestrian club
- Participate in an outdoor boot camp in your neighborhood park
- Sign up for a free week-long trial membership at a yoga or Pilates studio
- Take advantage of gym guest passes and check out a cardio kick boxing or weight lifting class
Take dance lessons at an adult studio
Try kick boxing at a kick boxing gym
* Side note: watch for screaming deals from LivingSocial.com and Groupon.com to make these gyms/studios/fitness clubs affordable
The point is that there is no need to suffer through anything in order to shed pounds; exercise is about so much more. You can walk, swim, run, or dance your way to health. I love being physically active because it allows me to be out in nature, gain confidence in myself, meet with friends and foster a sense of adventure. I hope you are inspired to keep at it and find the endorphin rush that best suits you.