What Do You Do When Exercise Stops Being Fun??

Exercise is good. I've been a longtime fan. Well, up until last December when I went on an exercise detox and did no exercise for 9 months. Nothing, Zilch, Nada. In some ways, I felt it was necessary, but honestly, it was a stupid mistake.

I stayed the same 110 pounds, but I obviously lost a lot of muscle over that 9 month hiatus. It was stupid, and once my kids went back to school, I decided I was going back to exercising. I had a rational 3 time per week plan. I would run, run, and run. It was an awesome plan and I was excited.

But running sucked! I couldn't believe how much strength and endurance I had lost. I made it a whopping 2 miles before I rolled off the back of the treadmill and collapsed on the floor. Loser! That's all I could think. I was pissed.

And I needed ice cream. OMG! I steadily worked on increasing my mileage and worked my way up to 3 miles. I still felt like crap because I used to be able to go so much farther and faster. And it wasn't easy or fun. Why was it sucking so bad!?  I stuck to my 3 time a week commitment but started worrying about dropping too much weight.

So I overcompensated and went on an all out trail mix (and candy bar!!) fest. I gained 4 pounds that first month. Running and gaining weight - something wasn't quite working out. It was about this time that the Total Gym arrived at my doorstep.

I spent some time figuring it out and incorporated it into my routine. I ran 3 times a week and did a total body workout on the Total Gym, twice a week. Whoa - what happened to my 3 days a week limit. Somehow I rationalized that limit away.

After about 2 weeks on this new schedule, exercise seemed fun again. But I still worried about "you know what." One day while I was using the Total Gym, my husband came into the gym and told me I was doing it "all wrong."  I don't respond well to criticism and was super annoyed.

He said I wasn't lifting enough weight and I replied that I was doing a total body workout and all my muscles needed to be able to make it through the WHOLE thing! And that's when I realized - I was doing it again! I was training for endurance at the expense of strength, overall health, whatever.

He said I should be using the Total Gym three times a week and running only twice, or not at all. BLASPHEMY!! It actually took me the whole weekend to mull it over and I reluctantly changed my exercise schedule.

I cut back the treadmill to twice a week. Just thinking about it made me feel fat. I know, I'm stupid. That's okay. It's really how I felt. And then I embarked on my most ambitious strength quest yet. I started reading every body builder website, checked out (and read) power lifting books from the library, created a library of strength moves and set a routine. A beat your ass routine!

Every day I step into my home gym, I beat the crap out of my muscles. I don't leave until I've fatigued the appropriate muscles to the point that I can not walk or even hold a phone (depending on the muscles being worked.) Every morning, I wake up feeling like a truck ran me over and dragged me down the stairs.

And every recovery day (which just so happens to be running day) I feel like I just might die. My legs, abs, arms, eyes, everything hurts too much to run. When did exercise become so painful and UN-fun? The day I took strength training seriously!

I have been on my new strength plan for 1 month - and my muscles still hurt. WTF, right? No. I am working on progressive overload. So I could squat 80 lbs last week - then it will be 100 lbs this week. It's the same for every muscle, every workout. Got it?

I've made huge progress! I've almost maxed out the limits on the Total Gym. Right now, I'm adding weights to the gym and doing things with only one arm or leg to make it more challenging. I'm making real progress! But it hurts so much! 

I'm embarrassed to say how much strength I had lost during my "vacay," but the first time I attempted a push up set - I maxed out at 4. FOUR! I refused to do "girl pushups" so I built my strength back with partial lifts and chest presses. Now I'm back to an easy 45 pushups (in just one month of work- gotta love muscle memory.)

So what gives? Sometimes, I really don't want to workout anymore. It sucks now. And it hurts. But I'm committed and I'm not giving up. And FYI - it has nothing to do with looks. At some point you just have to accept you'll never look the same as you did in your teens and twenties. Or you'll go crazy!

It would be nice if people would see my muscles and be afraid that I might start karate kicking them in the neck, but I'd be happy just to know I could do it. lol

I'm pushing myself because I want to be strong. I want to have a solid bone and muscle mass to take me into old age. And I have goals to attain, like being able to do 15 full pull-ups. Like being able to run for 5 miles straight without stopping. I realize these aren't huge goals for most people, but for a skinny little asthmatic, their huge.

Once I reach those goals, I'm going to switch into maintenance mode and maintain my new found muscles. And I am soooo looking forward to those days. No more pain, just pure exercising fun. The way exercise was always meant to be! And when that happens, I'll be back to 3 day a week training schedules - maybe less!

P.S.  - I took BEFORE photos on September 27th. Maybe I'll look the same once I'm strong enough to reach all of the above mentioned goals. Maybe not. Either way, I took a picture (and body fat measurements, etc.)


Busy Working Mama said...

Hmm...is exercise ever fun? And you shouldn't be surprised about how hard it was to go back to running. If I take 3 weeks off, I feel like crap. As it is, I don't run, but I walk at a super fast pace and read a book over lunch. Or bike and read. I should run but heck, that's some of the only reading time I get! I refuse to give it up. And reading makes walking fun :) I do an all-out-crazy-interval run about 1-2 times a week. I did the crazy lifting for a while but didn't care for the results.

Regardless of my opinions...good luck! You can do it! You'll be feeling awesome in no time! Muscles are good for you.

Anonymous said...

AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa! I want to see your before an after shots

ugg boots said...

it is strong,Thanks for sharing,it is funny!

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