Monday, May 18, 2015

Workout Motivation: A Success Story in Progress



A year ago today, if you told me that I'd be working out every day, I'd probably call you crazy. Before I turned 17, I was fit enough. For about a year, I religiously went to the gym three times a week for about one and a half hours each time. Sure, I wasn't exactly what I'd call sporty; my hand-eye coordination did not, and probably never will allow for that in terms of traditional sports.

As high school came to an end and college drew nearer, I lapsed back into laziness. I told myself that since I was going to a campus where I'd be walking enough, would have to take some compulsory P.E. classes and that had a state-of-the-art gym, staying fit wouldn't be a problem at all. If only I knew how wrong I was. The P.E. classes were over in two semesters, and apart from the time I spent at the gym for tours, occasional games, the above mentioned classes, or homework (...weird, yes, but the person I was working on my homework with had a work-study there), I hardly went there at all, even when I lived close to it.

Yes, I walked lots, but didn't take into account the food there; while most of it was amazing and freshly prepared, it was certainly unhealthier than the food we get in Kenya. I would occasionally pick up some new form of working out, but I inevitably lacked the motivation to keep going. Sure, I didn't become heavily obese or anything like that; most people actually thought I was in shape, but I could tell that I wasn't.

A few months after graduation, on a whim, I decided to do a yoga routine from an app that I'd had on my phone. To my amazement, I actually kept going and managed to work out almost every single day. A few months later, my brother-in-law and sister introduced me to Focus T25, a workout programme designed by the person behind Insanity, Shaun T. This is a ten week programme, and only requires 25 minutes a day Monday to Thursday, 50 minutes on Friday, and some stretching on Sunday. So, luckily for me, I don't even have to spend a lot of time on weekdays. I started this programme, got about 4 weeks in, then started all over again when I got back to Kenya. I'm now on week 8, and use my weekends and some mornings to keep up with yoga.

What changed? How did I, a person who couldn't stick to a programme for more than a month, end up working out so often for almost 7 months?

First of all, I think the difference this time around is that I've found something that I enjoy. Yoga and T25 are both challenging, but fun. With yoga, I'm able to do different workouts so that I don't get bored, and T25 itself has many different workouts that are done on different days. The second important thing is that this time, I can also see the results for myself, and these motivate me to keep going. Immediately after the workout, I feel great. There is a sense of mental accomplishment and physical wellness. Not including the obvious benefits I've experienced, like improved stamina, better form, posture, flexibility and muscle tone, I'm also way less stressed, much happier and more relaxed. An added bonus? As someone who used to get a cold or a flu every couple of months, I went almost 12 months (!!!) without falling sick, and when I finally did, it only lasted about three days. Hurrah for improved immunity!

In addition to working out, I'm also trying to implement other healthy choices, most of which I've talked about in previous posts. I now take the stairs every chance I get, and (try to) eat healthier than I used to! One thing I still don't do is fanatic calorie counting. I enjoy my food, and don't think I'd be able to stick to a very strict eating regime.

What's my point in all this? Honestly; if I can do this, so can you. The thought of working out would at times make me groan, and I was quite content in the lifestyle I was living. Having experienced the benefits of working out now, I wish I could go back and start earlier!

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