Doing What I Thought I Never Could

A little over two years ago, my friend Becca shared a story with me that got my butt into the gym not to be fit, but to get healthy from the inside out.  About two months into my gym journey that started in 2013, I wrote this blog post.   I started with just jumping on the elliptical for 30-40 minutes per day three days a week and then going about my day.  That was enough.  Slowly, over a few months, I began incorporating different programs on the elliptical and switching it up to other cardio machines.  I didn't see any effects of going on my body, but let's face it, that's not why I was there.  It didn't hurt that the Preslie begged to go and as soon as Blakely could join, she began begging as well.  Before I knew it ( was a long time in, ha), I was teaching myself how use free weights, learning basic mat exercises, and making it a daily priority and a routine.  

About 18 months in, I decided to try my first yoga class.  I had never been interested in yoga before because quite frankly, I didn't understand the point. I thought it was just weird humming and breathing and doing really awkward things with your body that my modest self would have cringed at.  Our gym offers great classes that are part of the membership so I figured it didn't hurt to try.  It was awesome and I was completely wrong--there was zero humming and chanting and the awkward things felt sooooo good.  It is the most amazing thing my body has ever done.  Yoga was very challenging to me when I first began because I even though I had been more active over the last year than I ever had been before, I wasn't really doing it for my body, but instead my mind--yoga was different because it was equally for my body AND mind.  I was so impressed by the men (or man) and women who were doing the more advanced poses but knew that would never be me.  Each and every time they would move into a yoga handstand, I would think to myself that there was no way I could ever do that. 

 I started going to class on Tuesdays as often as I could as well as every other Saturday.  Soon after I started, I had surgery and had to take a hiatus.  Typically after surgery, the recovery time is about 6 weeks, but with yoga, I took it a little longer due to the stretching and flexibility combined with the surgery I had, etc.  After a good while of allowing my body to recover, around mid-summer, I started back up.  At the same time I was getting back into yoga, I began ramping up my workouts from cardio only to cardio + weights + mat exercises and being very routine about days I went.  Having surgery followed by an entire month of sickness in June {see 30a, ha}, I actually saw my body get a little squishier and realized that the little I had been doing was actually taking an effect on my body.  I missed the mental clarity that working out provided most but secondarily, I didn't like the "skinny fat" that I now understood {see linked post above}.  I began intentionally making my workouts more intentional (by no means anywhere near most fit fanatic peeps, but I made sure I would actually sweat), made them a priority (which meant less morning playdates but instead, gym dates which although I felt guilty, the kids LOVED), and committed to yoga consistently.  While my genetics may have scored in the abs category, I will never be one of those full body fit women you see...not that that wouldn't be nice, I just love to cook like Paula Deen too much for that to happen....I love fatty foods and sugar WAY too much for that and have ZERO plans to completely do away with those habits for the time being.  {so, hello thighs} Food aside, I have really enjoyed being consistent and intentional about my health...the way my body appears is just a perk to how it feels as a result of hard work.  After a good work out, I tend to skip the fattier, greasier foods that I use to go for lunch to something more healthy so while I am okay with my "bad" food addiction, being in the gym does subsequently curtail my nutrition at least a teeny bit.  Fried chicken salad to turkey roll ups is impressive for me.  :)  

My body muscles, heart, and lungs have come a long way since 2013.  I went from 30-40 minutes of cardio whenever it fit my schedule to making fitness my priority and everything else now falls around it.  It's a routine every morning from 9-11ish, five days a week (Mon: 40 min cardio, weights, mat exercises, Tues: yoga, 25 min cardio, Thurs: 40 min cardio, weights, mat exercises, Fri: 40 min cardio, weights, mat exercises, Sat: yoga, 25 min cardio; at home yoga on Wednesdays, Sundays and whenever else I want to). While on the outside, I look virtually the same, I've been able to challenge my body in ways that I didn't think were possible.  One of those challenges is the yoga headstand.  I've been dreaming of achieving one for awhile, but the funny thing about that dream was that I had never been brave enough to even try.  I simply didn't think I had that sort of inner strength, focus, or balance.  I have NEVER, ever been an athletic person.  I trip over my two feet daily and don't know what to do with a ball of any sort if it's near me.  I use to huff and puff across parking lots and lifting heavy things would wear me think I could achieve a yoga headstand was a hilarious thought.  But then one day, I was at home and had yoga relaxation on my mind (I've started practicing at home too AND with the girls) and decided to give it a try.  Preslie was watching.  

The first day I tried, I had Adam hold up my legs just to see what it would feel like.  I had him let go and see if I had an stability.  I had none.  Two days later, I tried again while practicing at home.  Adam was outside watching football with Preslie and Blakely was asleep.  She came in mid-workout and it just so happened to be when I was trying the headstand (I have an app on the AppleTv for yoga).  I tried and got farther than I had expected, but still kept falling and ending up in awkward back bend.  She watched as I kept trying.  Finally, I decided that was enough injury for one day and continued the yoga work out without mastering the head stand.  Two days later, Blakely was asleep, Adam was gone and Preslie was playing the iPad while I did my yoga work out.  The headstand part came on and I tried again.  I got half way up!!!!!!!  I soon fell, and decided to set up my camera on my phone to see where exactly I was going wrong.  I went back to my spot and gave it a shot. Before I knew it, I was up.  Not only was I up...P had thrown off the headphones and was cheering me on.  It was the best feeling in the world, not that I did it, that my child watched me fail at it so many times then got to witness my first success.  It was the most amazing learning experience for BOTH of us.  

Truth be told when it comes to athletic and physical obstacles, I've always given up.  It's never been my arena.  It has taken me 34 years to set a goal and work toward it without quitting.  This is so much more than a post about a girl who decided to give working out a try and ends up doing a little yoga headstand a few years later.  It is about the dedication to strengthening my body and my mind, about challenging myself and having the confidence in myself that I could do it.  It's about me learning that there is no age limit on your body's physical limits.  

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