I just came out of another fitness fell off the wagon and knocked my head and was dazed for a while and just wanted to lay down phase. In the first installment of My Journey Back to Fitness, I talked about how bike riding saved me, or the fit part of me. This time around, I’ll give credit to eating a vegan diet and running. This is a sentence that I never imagined I would utter. Nevertheless, here we are.
I didn’t start eating predominantly vegan for fitness reasons. I had already been cutting down significantly on my carnivorian ways, so I didn’t expect much change there. Turns out, the cheese I love so much was going behind my back and sticking to my thighs. I thought we loved each other. Maybe that’s the reason it stuck around. Anyway, I was wrong. Eliminating animal products as well as meat from my diet made a big difference in my physique. Losing pounds was a good boost to my motivation, sense of well-being and feelings of sexiness. There was only one problem. Being that I wasn’t working out my body in any capacity, I was on the verge of being skinny fat. Okay, in my opinion, I already was. I needed to work my muscles.
The thing is, everything becomes monotonous to me. By the time I had decided to recommit to bike riding, it wasn’t what my body was craving. And just what was my body craving? I had no idea. So I continued to do nothing. Running came by accident. My car was broken down for some bullshit because it’s always breaking down for some bullshit, and I wanted to buy something from the beauty supply store near my house. I didn’t know whether or not they had a bike rack in the plaza, and I didn’t want to chance my bike getting stolen. I’ve got a sweet bike, if you haven’t heard.
Because it was already dark, I decided that I would run instead of walk to the store. And that’s how on an unusually chilly night, I came to be running. My cold stiff hands gripped tightly to the insides of my coat with the exception of when I was fucking around with the bouncing fanny pack that was ping-pong-ing all over my hips and ass. Anyhow, I reached my destination feeling like freshly poured Coca-Cola. Life was coursing through this old body of mine and I felt exhilarated. I bought what I needed, which bought me just enough time to catch my breath, and headed back out into the frosty night.
The next night was also cold. I told myself to do the damn thing while the thought still felt like a possibility. Turns out, the excuse I had for not riding my bike, dark dangerous roads, didn’t apply to running on the sidewalk, illuminated by porch lights. I actually liked the chill air filling my lungs and the burning sensation in my nose and my elevated heart rate. I felt tightness in my legs again and it felt good. So while I have a decades long, twisted relationship with running, it was him this time that got me back to regular exercise again. I loved the ease of sneakers on and go.
Twice around the block. That’s how many I went around on my second night of running. I was surprised that I could do it without more heaving, but I give credit to my body full of vegetables. Feeling lighter makes running more enjoyable. Who knew.
What I’d like you to come away with is this: Staying happy on your journey to get or stay fit may sometimes mean listening to your body and mind and changing activities.
Let me recap my fitness journey going into 2017:
Gym, mostly weightlifting, 4 to 5 days a week. Strong and toned.
Gym, equal parts weights and high intensity intervals, 3 to 5 times a week. Strong and lean.
Falls off the fitness wagon for 6 months. Lethargic, heavy, zero motivation.
Bike riding 30 minutes every day. Energized and engaged.
Bike riding 30 minutes morning and evening. 1 hour total. Energized, lean and strong.
Falls off the fitness wagon for 2 months. Tired, weak, losing muscle.
Eating vegan. Losing weight. Lightness.
Bike riding and short jog 2 to 3 times a week. Struggling, weak, bored, hopeful.
Jogging twice around the block once a day. Energized. Lean. Still no muscle.
Jogging plus gym 3 times a week for weightlifting. Legs stronger, booty lifting, abs tighter.
Which brings me to this week.
Because the weather has been freaking gorgeous and my gym is very near to the beach, I decided this week to do what makes me feel good– combining weights with cardio and nature. So instead of heading to the treadmill for a power run after my weightlifting, I grabbed a protein shake and headed to the beach instead.
I’ve grown to love riding my bike along the beach (and I highly recommend it) but for the sake of brevity, I decided just to jog. It’s what my body has been wanting anyway. Turns out when I got there, all I wanted to do was walk. And that’s what I did. I walked and walked and walked. And it felt great. I watched the birds making their rounds, listened to the crashing of waves, felt the sea breezes on my body, smelled the ocean. Took hundreds of pictures.
After a couple of days getting to the beach by late morning when the sun is already gaining intensity, I decided to save my skin, comfort level and productivity by starting as early as possible. I start with a sweater if it’s chilly and slowly peel away layers.
Our bodies and minds require different things at different stages in our lives. For women, sometimes it’s the moon cycle that makes us feel differently and we want a change. Sometimes it’s boredom or an injury. Do yoga, weights, kickboxing, dance in your living room, ride your skateboard, play a team sport, walk along the beach. We don’t have to pick one thing. Build your workouts around you and what motivates you. You can always add intensity as you go
There’s something that I love about every sort of workout, but it makes me sad to think of all the months that I did nothing at all because I didn’t feel motivated to go to the gym or otherwise. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the beach or a state park, try a walk, run or bike ride in beautiful scenery.
You know that I’ll have a post coming soon about my impressions while walking the beach so stay tuned for that. I wish you all the best on your own fitness journeys and I will share more of my own in hopes to inspire you to do what’s needed to feel good and strong and sexy in your bodies.
P.S. After the walk, the clothes come off and it’s into the water. I can’t think of a better way to end a workout.
How has your fitness journey been going this year? What are some of your body and health goals?
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?