Cardio is Hardio: (And More Important Things My Gym's Taught Me)
I’ll forever be a little ticked at the universe that I can’t eat tacos, chocolate, ALL the cheese, and drink wine everyday without gaining weight. As you have often heard me lament, I have gotten all the hair genetics one could ever ask for, alas, my metabolism…not so much.
For the greater part of my life I have waged war with my weight and my appearance. I have written about this a lot, my struggle to accept my body at face value. At my thinnest it was never thin enough, at my biggest I would look at old photos wishing I could stop my younger self from the pitfalls that were coming.
In all the sizes and searching, I’ve never found that sacred space of acceptance.
I watch my children excel at sports and activities and push their bodies. My priorities are running kids from sports to sports, never missing a practice, and even throwing a ball around with my oldest to help train his arm for the upcoming football season. I worked out here and there in between four surgeries, three kids, and a lot of physical setbacks over the last few years.
It felt like Groundhog Day- I was finally getting in the groove and then something would come around the corner and smack me back into bed rest. I had decided that this was what moms do. We complain about our inability to lose weight and get in shape as we schlep the kids to and from all corners of Alberta.
Then just about a month ago, something in me changed. Maybe it was the nearly audible groan I heard from my horse when I swung my leg over this spring (umm.. she's beautiful and amazing but she has an opinion), but I was so fed up with feeling like crap that I decided to take a giant leap of faith and sign up for a challenge at a new gym I had seen on Facebook. They were offering a six-week challenge, and after calling my mom to see what she thought (standard operating procedure) I signed up. My mom did what moms do to their kids and implored me to try and see what putting MYSELF on my schedule could do.
We moms hear this all the time.
Make yourself a priority.
And, since I have never had any qualms about wine nights, horse shows and spending money on myself I thought I was. Buying punch passes and the next quick fix was always a way of me losing 20lbs quickly, just to eventually yo-yo again, and find myself back at square one.
Hating my body, mad at myself, and further into the diet-industry hole that is filled with the money of “this time it’ll be different” women.
The truth of the matter is that I was throwing money at my problem, but not changing the fact that I hadn’t made my own health a priority in a very long time.
I also knew that being fed up and wanting to make a change was very different from ACTUALLY MAKING A CHANGE.
My husband is away a lot. Going into this challenge he had already been gone for weeks and I felt like I was barely holding everything together as it was. So almost as soon as I signed up, I had immediate remorse.
How the heck was I going to do all the prep work for my (strict) eating plan, schedule in the minimum 3 workouts a week, and maintain my house, get to work, and mother 3 kids who apparently are ALWAYS hungry, and require rides everywhere?
Well, I did what I do whenever we have busy weeks. I put myself on the schedule, and just like I never miss a practice for the kids, never miss crazy hair day, remind my husband of family birthdays, and hold this whole household together, I ensured that it got done. My body hurt, I was a total grump in the first few days (no sugar makes me as angry as Trump without access to Twitter), and I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace for SIX. WHOLE. WEEKS.
But, fast forward to the present, where I’m now not quite a month into this journey, and it’s gotten a teeny bit easier (life hack: La Croix Wednesday instead of Wine Wednesday). My body is still sore, I’ve had ups (BYE inches) and downs (moderate meltdowns to the nutritionist, apparent attempts to cheat through workouts that the trainers have caught), but SO much more importantly, something deeper than the scale is starting to change.
I am starting to feel strong again.
My body feels like it’s beginning to wake up after one LONG-ASS slumber, and I’m finding myself nearing a place of quiet admiration for what it’s done for me.
This body that has- danced, cheerleaded, ridden horses, broken down, fixed itself, had three kids, broken down a bit more, ridden more horses -has carried me wherever I have asked it to go. Heck, this body has even managed to stay with me when I’ve decided someone should “watch this” on a trampoline after a vino or two.
And guys, I kind of WANT to go to THE GYM. Which is something I would have never said, ever. The gym has always been a place of punishment for my body.
Too fat, too weak, too slow. But suddenly, I wonder what my body can do today. I love the feeling of nearly falling off the treadmill because the incline is so damn steep, and I refuse to slow the pace down.
Just kidding. I don’t love that at all. I only get through it by repeating ‘CARDIO IS HARDIO’ over and over in my head until I’m done. I do, however, love the feeling of getting that incline back down to 0% afterwards.
What I’m getting at in the most roundabout way, is just like my mom implored me to put myself on my schedule, I’m telling you guys to do it too.
Get out there and move your body. You don’t have to sign up for a challenge or commit to anything, but move your bodies again, however you want. Give a little love to the body that has carried you through some questionable decisions in your 20’s, kids, office work, and the stress of being the household CEO.
Stop saying you will TRY, and make a note in your iPhone and cement it there just like we do with hockey practice, swimming lessons, and parent-teacher interviews.
(While I am loving the gym and these classes, if I say anything crazy like ‘I signed up for a MARATHON’ please know I’ve been hacked or drugged. )