by Kelly Snailum, Rhythm Maker and Pilates Instructor
I am often asked how do I stay fit in between owning your own business, raising two kids and constantly continuing my fitness education with something new. The answer changes with every decade of my life.
In my 20’s, my workouts were less consistent and my diet was more about which meal plan was in the media that month and health – well, I was invincible of course. In my head I often felt like my body was not done – my thighs still had hopes of dissolving their life long friendship and I really never accepted things as they were.
In my 30’s, I would respond with the long list of 13 – 15 weekly workouts and my strict diet plan. I would follow up my overwhelming list with some sort of negative thought about my thighs and how I “hate” this or that about my body. The poor client or friend who asked was not only freaked out by the fact that I worked out that many times in one day, but also annoyed by how negative I was about the reality of my own body.
I have been an exercise fanatic since I was 17. I started my addiction because of body issues – which I am sure many of you can relate to. Those body issues rarely disappear, especially as we get older and our bodies slow down even more. Not to mention the insane juggle many of us have to learn to handle between husbands, kids, work and finding an ounce of alone time. In the minds of so many beautiful women, we will always find something that needs to be different. We will compare ourselves to some unattainable body type based solely on physics. In other words, “what your mama gave ya.” At some point, those beautiful brains of ours have to accept the bodies we’ve been given and fight for the best “me” we can be. Try telling that to your insecurities 10 times a day.
As my career and my Pilates business grew stronger and I developed more health-focused relationships with amazing women, I started hearing myself arguing with these strong, healthy and fit ladies about how beautiful they are. Arguing because they did not see what I saw. The changes, the muscle, the body they wanted when they started their journey, now is not even worthy of a simple “thank you.” On my personal battlefront, I started to recognize that no matter how many miles I ran, how much weight I lifted, how many boot camps I attended, I did not look that different. I would eat less and less in hopes to “change” but the fact was I was not finding the balance required for success.
Recognizing that part of being healthy includes acceptance was a hard reality for my 38 year-old-self. Accepting the body type I have and defining workouts that are effective for me was a huge turning point in my life as a fitness instructor. I remember the first time one of my Instructors asked me what I added to my workouts. I looked different. I was leaner, rested, stronger and more muscular than I had ever been – and I was doing LESS! I went back to my roots and focused on Pilates, Barre, Yoga and TRX. I continued to run for my sanity with a few hikes peppered in on the weekends.
Effective workouts versus workouts for workout’s sake made this 40-year old body look as good as it feels. Taking the hour that I have and pushing myself to my limit - no matter what the platform, makes all the difference. If I am in a yoga class, I have to push myself past the point I want to quit. In a burn at the barre class when my legs are shaking and my thighs are burning, I know I have to stick it out longer than I want to in order to make change happen. Pilates requires my focus and my whole body to participate in the movements. If I quit when the challenge presents itself I’m not using my hour to its fullest potential.
The voodoo that you do might be different than what has worked for me. That being said, following a few steps to get to the perfect concoction might be the difference between productive and unproductive workouts.
Not necessarily in it’s current condition, but if you are pear-shaped, don’t put a picture of Giselle on your refrigerator as your “goal” body. I think Jennifer Lopez is pretty sexy!
I am an early riser and get my cardio in before the sun rises. My job allows me to fit my strength workouts into my day, but not everyone has that kind of flexibility. Deciding what you can make work is crucial to success.
My business coach once told me if it’s not in your calendar, it’s not a priority. Your workouts should be as important as your other appointments. Don’t plan things during those times or set other appointments. You will fall out of your habit.
There are so many amazing options out there and boutique studios usually offer trial options without memberships or commitments. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing or literally hate the hour, you will not be able to sustain the obligation.
Consider group fitness or private training if you have never done it before. There is nothing like someone else pushing you. I have been training others for 12 years and prefer to have a trainer. I know I will never push myself the way they will. If this is not an option for you, find a buddy. The kind that is on the same path as you. One who will hold you accountable for appointments and challenge you – not talk you into coffee instead of the gym. Maybe even someone who inspires you.
Stick to these 5 rules and you will find your perfect potion. If you plateau, switch it up. Your body will respond to something different and continue to move in the right direction. Eventually this magic potion will be merely a way of life with little to do with voodoo at all.
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