Earlier this week I shared what brought me to the breaking point. Headaches, backaches, and complete exhaustion had taken over my life. I knew I needed to do something, but getting started seemed overwhelming.
I made an appointment to talk to my doctor about my headaches which were becoming more frequent and less manageable. I didn’t feel comfortable taking “migraine medicine” and wanted to see if there was anything else I could do.
As we talked she mentioned a study that showed exercising three times a week (rigorous) was just as effective as many of the prescription drugs used for migraines. I felt like these migraines were taking over my life so I told her I was willing to try it.
I was nervous about starting an exercise plan. First, I HATE to exercise. I’ve always considered myself an active person, since I chase after seven kids every single day. But planned physical activity- no thanks! I’ve always been thin, or at least thin enough, so I didn’t think I needed to lose weight.
Also, since my back surgery I’d been hesitant to start any exercise program because the one time I started I ended up in bed with horrible back pain for three days.
Because of my back surgery I decided I needed professional help in the exercise department. I went to our local Y and signed up for a free lesson to learn how to use all the machines.
After sharing my concerns about exercise and my back I was guided through many of the machines and given an exercise plan.
I came home from the gym with a plan. I would use the machines three times a week to help strengthen my core (which would help my back) and then use the treadmill or elliptical for cardio three days a week, which would help with my head.
As it came time for me to go for my machine day I got nervous. I did not want to hurt my back doing something incorrectly. After talking with my husband we decided it would be best to hire a trainer to help me strengthen my core so that I didn’t further injure my back.
Let me stress something, yes I hired a trainer, but it is not necessary! Had I not had back problems I would have never hired a trainer to help me. You can get in shape on your own. In fact in a few weeks I’ll be showing you some awesome exercises you can do in your own home without any special equipment.
Now, on to the important stuff.
Exercising is hard work.
For the first three weeks I complained like crazy at every session with my trainer. I’m surprised they actually kept me as a client. Getting started is the hardest part, so don’t give up before you get into a routine.
Exercising takes accountability.
You can’t do this alone. You need someone who is going to help you stick to it. For me it was my husband, Erin, Andrea, Crystal, and my trainer. They all knew this was hard for me and they made sure I kept doing it. They also gave me lots of encouragement to keep going even when I wanted to quit.
Exercise is painful.
You will be sore, especially for the first few days or weeks. When I started I constantly asked my husband and my trainer when it was going to stop hurting. Every day for the first few weeks I woke up with sore places I didn’t know existed! Eventually you will be less sore.
There are still days when I do a new exercise or work on a different area and I feel sore the next day. But it isn’t the same soreness I felt when I started in April.
Exercise looks different for everyone.
For me, I alternate strength training and cardio. For others it could mean a spin class, zumba, pilates, yoga, walking, running, cross fit, exercise dvd’s, or even jumping on the trampoline.
Exercise takes time.
I’ll admit that I went all in, but I was desperate. My exercise (and drive time to the Y) takes an hour and a half every day. To get that extra time I wake up earlier. The Y has free childcare so my kids have a place to play when I’m in the gym. Once we start school in a few weeks I’ll need to readjust my schedule to find that hour and a half a day, but I’ll make the time.
You have the time.
I’m a mom of seven, who homeschools, works part-time, and has kids in sports and dance. If I can find time to exercise so can you.
You will grow to love it.
My trainer told me during the second week that one day I would love working out. I laughed out loud.
I said, “I’m committed to doing it, but I’ll never love it.”
Three months later I’m eating those words. I look forward to exercising. When I don’t do it, I feel tired, lethargic, and cranky. I’ve even exercised while traveling, even if it meant getting up before 5am to do it!
After I had been exercising about a month I realized I’d only had one migraine since I started. Now, three and a half months later I’ve only had two migraines since May! Before I started exercising I was getting at least one a week.
My back doesn’t hurt. Even after a twelve hour road trip, six hour flight, and sleeping on floors and couches I’ve had no back pain.
I’ve lost weight. I didn’t start exercising to lose weight, but I did. I’m sure part of the weight loss is due to diet (which I’ll discuss in my next post) but it is also due to exercise.
I’m stronger. When I started exercising I could hardly do a girl push-up. Today I did sixty real push-ups at the gym! My goal wasn’t to get strong, but now every day activities like picking up a toddler are a breeze!
I need less sleep. I was always one of those people who needed eight hours of sleep. Since I’ve started exercising I usually wake up without an alarm clock after five hours of sleep. At first I fought it and tried going back to sleep, but after a few days I realized my body didn’t need any more sleep. So instead of losing an hour and a half every day because I was exercising I’ve gained an hour and a half!
I no longer get the afternoon coma. Before I started exercising I would hit comatose state at about three in the afternoon every day. Now I have energy all day, from the time I wake up, until I go to bed.
I’m not exceptional.
I’m just your average, every day mom who wanted to change her life. I wasn’t a former triathlete, cross trainer, or marathoner. The only thing exceptional about me was my commitment to change. If I can do it, so can you. It might not look exactly the same, but you can have similar results.
Anyone can do it.
You don’t need a trainer or a gym membership to exercise. If you haven’t done any physical activity for a while I would recommend discussing your exercise plan with a physician before you get started. All you really need to get started is a good pair of shoes.
There are lots of other people who have done it too!
I’ve been inspired by many of my friends who have made dramatic changes in their lives. They all had amazing success and did it totally different. I’m including links to their sites so you can be inspired too.
Lynn | Couch to 5k
Crystal | 30 Day Fitness Challenge
J.D. Roth | Crossfit
Ruthanne | Running
After 109 days I’ve lost twenty pounds, am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and feel amazing. I have crazy energy and feel like a different person. I am a different person. It’s hard for me to believe that spending an hour a day exercising could produce such dramatic results, but it has.
I don’t believe I would have had such dramatic results without making significant changes to my diet. I’ll be sharing those changes next week.