Dear Coach Gila,
What are your thoughts on exercise? I enjoy cooking, preparing healthy food for myself and my family, and trying out new recipes. I don’t really enjoy exercising. I find the machines boring, I have two left feet and I’m embarrassed to take group classes. I’m completely unmotivated to go to the gym and work out. I’ve read that “abs are made in the kitchen” and “healthy living is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise.” If that’s true, then I should be OK if I never exercise, right? Between working, family, carpool and the kids’ numerous sports activities, I don’t really have time to work out. Should I push myself to work out even though everything I’ve tried has made me truly unhappy?
- Unhappy Exerciser
Dear Unhappy Exerciser,
I love that you prepare healthy food for yourself and your family. Even better, it sounds like you enjoy it, which is fantastic. Exercise, not so much! I hear you, I really do.
I find the timing of this question fascinating as my lack of consistent exercise is exactly where I am currently struggling on my personal journey.
When I was in law school and then working as an attorney, I was a runner. I ran nearly every day, was in numerous running clubs and ran many races.
Later, as a stay-at-home mom, I went to the gym five times a week and did at least one or two classes every single day. When I went back to school, with five children, I never missed my favorite classes and always found time for the gym.
Now that I am working full time in my coaching practice, I share with you that my visits to the gym have decreased significantly. I tried going to super-early morning classes, but that just did not work for me.
My personal solution: I recently canceled my gym membership.
Did that work for me? Absolutely! I know this sounds counterintuitive so let me explain.
I find time almost every single day to go for a walk, run (OK, let’s be honest, jog!) or to do a video in my basement. Once I cut out the travel time to the gym and the lengthy classes, I was able to find time in my schedule to work out consistently. Do I love every single workout? Probably not. But I do love that I am moving my body.
What are some of the benefits to moving your body? Regular exercise makes the heart stronger, can help you lose weight, maintain weight loss and tone muscles. Working out can also help you sleep better.
There are mental benefits to exercise as well. Endorphins are released which can create feelings of happiness, and stress is reduced. Exercise can also prevent cognitive decline, sharpen your memory and help tap into your creativity.
You asked me what I think so I’m going to tell it to you straight. Don’t give up on working out.
With spring approaching, you might find an outdoor activity that works for you. Meet a friend for a walk, you’ll enjoy talking and catching up and you won’t even realize you are working out.
Check out the many free workouts available online that you can do in the privacy of your own home. Other options include rebounding, swimming, hoola hooping, bike riding and rollerblading. There are so many activities that will get your heart rate up, I believe you can and will find an activity you will truly enjoy.
There are numerous gyms in our area and they all have a different vibe. Get a trial pass and give a few a try. You may surprise yourself and find that one is a perfect fit.
Don’t worry about those two left feet. In the middle of a Zumba class I was actually stopped and corrected by another woman taking the class. It bothered her that I kept making mistakes! I miss my Monday mornings with Hila and hope to take her class again when my schedule permits.
Find what works for you. The healthy food you are already preparing plus working out is a winning combination.
Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing!
Gila C. Guzman JD, CINHC, is an integrative nutrition health coach who has had much success helping her clients change their relationship with food. As a mom of five who lost over 50 pounds and maintained that weight loss for four and half years, Coach Gila understands the struggles and triumphs of food-related health goals. She can be reached through her website at www.mainassethealth.com or at (917)647-1788.