Since I started writing this blog, I have been much more reflective. The idea of self-reflection barely crossed my mind before, and when it did I would brush off the idea as completely stupid. I thought it was wrong and weird to talk about myself so much. And now I see how that thought was completely wrong. I guess this goes along with not being so great at the self-love thing.
I finally admitted this to myself (it’s a step!), and gave myself one goal for October: stop, breathe, and believe.
So, how did I do? Better than I would have in the past, but not the best I could have done. October was a stressful month. Classes start getting harder, and I had midterms. I was spending every weekend staying in and working, and it got lonely. This time in the semester always makes me doubt myself and my choices. It makes me re-think my life, and the fact that I have no clue what career path I will end up on. I tend to tell myself a lot of “you’re not good enough”s and things like “why did you ever choose this?”. (I still wonder about the latter… masochistic, much?)
The problem is, I let myself get away with it too many times. Yes, I feel better than in past semesters, where I would have rendered myself a complete failure and just given up. That I did not allow. But there were times when I consciously could have stopped the downward spiral and did not. Luckily, this is not a one-time thing, and I’m giving myself another chance. Like I said in my October post: I’m human, not perfect.
So that’s part one of my goals for November. Part two is a bit more targeted.
This past month, I mentioned that I signed up for my first running event. After getting bored with just lifting weights and ellipticaling, I decided I needed to work out with a purpose. My decision to do so was slightly influenced by reading this book:
I don’t think I’m going to do a full review, but overall I really enjoyed this book. It has a ton of insight into the myths and truths about fitness that we hear every day. There are so many great tips that I am now constantly considering in my workouts, and it has led me to change my routines quite a bit.
The main piece of advice I am taking to heart is the benefit of functional strength training. In a nutshell, our bodies were not made to use machines for training. They are not made to cycle on a fixed stride elliptical machine, or weird hybrid trainer. These things are great for beginners and those that have problems with stability, but far from ideal for true strength training.
In the past couple months my attitude towards workouts has completely changed. I no longer want to workout just to ‘be fit’, and just because I know I’ll feel good after even if I don’t during. A workout is no longer something to just knock out and be done with. Now I want to be strong. I want to be able to run far or power walk to class without getting winded. I want to see just what my body can do.
The plan: free weights, bodyweight exercises, core/stability training, and at least 2-3 runs per week. To begin, I’m bringing my at-home/dorm room fitness collection out of the closet.
I mainly use the band for shoulders and inner/outer thigh. I use the light weights for muscle endurance and core training. At the gym, I’ve started to use heavier dumbbells and barbells for strength training.
I’m not a huge yoga person, but I love pilates. Plus, pilates mats are thicker than regular yoga mats, so they give you a little extra cushion for your back and absorb more impact for bodyweight exercises. I use the stability ball for a lots of pilates exercises, and to add a challenge to other simple bodyweight exercises.
An interval timer is the best way to push yourself to do a great, high intensity, short workout. If you haven’t yet, check out BodyRock.tv. I need to bring some of those workouts back into my routine.
I’m still a novice runner, but after successfully running 4 miles 3 weeks in a row, I’m tackling my first-ever 5-miler outdoors tomorrow. And I couldn’t be more excited.
So there you have it. This month is all about purpose, and sticking with it. I will be successful. When I hit road blocks, I will still tell myself: “I will be successful”. At the very least, I will have done my best.
What’s your goal for November?
Do you train with a purpose?