Somehow society, social trends and fitness fads have us all convinced that there’s a right and wrong way to move these beautiful bodies of ours. Marathoning, power yoga, Pilates, Barre Method, P90X and abundantly more…. I’m sure the next luring trend lurks right around the corner. Yes, it is convincing, isn’t it?
Well, not for me. I’m that mom that hopes her children won’t wake up early in the midst of whatever type of movement inspired me that particular day. If they do, well, sometimes a dark early morning dance party replaces my loosely planned routine (see below). Oh yes, they’ll tell you.
While I want you to find fitness inspiration and abounding ideas right here on Happily Whole, I also want you to know that fitness, first and foremost, must be fun and fitting for your life! If you hate yoga, why are you yoga-ing? If it’s just because someone told you yoga is the best way to get lean and long, try leaning into a different fit-philosophy.
A well-rounded workout routine consists of certain features (cardio, strength and stretching) and specific safety techniques. But, please know that exercise can be just as inspiring as any other part of your living-well puzzle. So, put it in its place knowing many means to a fit, healthy body exist.
If I sound a bit frustrated it’s because my near-and-dear fitness industry has not done enough to tout this claim. Everyone wants to run to the finish line, sell themselves and search for ways to cookie cut a Curves revolution rather than make room for real wellness.
What does that mean? Real wellness, when it comes to fit living, feels good and suites the seeker. I’ve struggled with this myself, which I confessed in a past post. It was quite the process but it’s ended in a pleasing result; a result perhaps far from what feels right for you. And quite possibly far from what my fitness future holds.
What I came up with suites me for now, in this very moment as a single, working mom who wakes at the crack of dawn. It looks loosely like this….
Each workout starts with some simple, big warming movements. I let my mind wander as my body warms up. During that time my thoughts seem to organize and then I slip into prayer. Untraditional I know. But it’s where it all begins. I touch bases with God in prayer as I put one foot in front of the other, heart rate increasing.
Each day's perfect starting line is always in line with His purpose!
I then move into the meat, the meaning, a more particular portion of the routine. I get lost in the purpose of the movement, thinking less about everything else and more about the objective. I am able to stay in the moment with the movement of my body on my mind, quieting the list of to do’s for the day—lengthening, strengthening, sweating, calming.
It’s a little different each day. Yoga on the mat, jogging outdoors when weather permits and my children are tended to, cardio kickboxing, intense intervals, strength training on my functional trainer machine or with weights, even a ballet inspired aerobic session—I do them all! I love the variety. I choose the mode of movement by how I feel and what I know my body needs.
At the end of the week, in no real particular order, I ensure I’ve accomplished approximately:
- 5 30 (or so) minute cardio sessions (on the mat, outdoors or on my elliptical)
- 2 or 3 yoga sessions, about 30 minutes and sometimes a longer one, depending on if I pair yoga with cardio (I do not have longer than an hour---which pushes it!)
- 2 more traditional yet functional strength sessions using my machine you see in the photo, free weights or simply my body weight
- A glorious day of rest—perhaps with a bit of playing outside at the park with the girls or working around the house. But sleeping in a little is a part of that plan!
Ehhh…something of the sort.
At the end of each exercise session, I feel refreshed, awake and ready to start the day. Fitness keeps me strong and energetic, inspires me to live well in other areas of my life and moves my mood when I need a boost. The aesthetics? Well, if I look good it’s simply the symptomatic icing on the cake (100% whole grain cake of course!). I’ll let the looks go to say I feel more at peace with my body now than I ever have. I have to believe it’s at least partly because I left the trends and social standards behind.
So what I want to tell you, my Happily Whole Friends, is that fitness is much more than just another task on the to do list! With each phase of your life, allow your body to move in a way that feels inspiring and beneficial. For me, each morning exercise takes me on a brief journey from my faith to filling my physical fitness needs. I include components of a well-rounded exercise routine each week, and I’m here to help you discern the more technical side if you want to take a look at the workouts link or become a Happily Whole member (to receive more exercise instruction on the site and in videos).
Give yourself permission to think flexibly and creatively when you consider how to move on a daily basis. Life, schedules and the essence of our desires change all the time. That means exercise should too!
Fitness can (and should!) be fun, inspiring and fit into your life. Start wherever you are today, just put one foot in front of the other! You were made to move so make room in your life.
Moving My Body and Mood each Morning,