What stories do we tell ourselves about exercise?

What stories do we tell ourselves about exercise. Are they helpful if our goal is to move more?

We are all aware of the health benefits of movement. But some seem to be hindered by stories they tell themselves. They talk themselves out of taking exercise seriously. If that person’s goal isn’t to move more, that’s fine. I’m a big proponent of “you do you”. But if they would like to move more (within their abilities) and are wondering whether they can shift the stories they tell themselves to help them do just that, that’s what I’m talking about today.

It’s not only the stories we tell ourselves. We hear stories from others, friends, family, media sources. It’s a mixed bag of good and bad influences. It can take a lot of work, but I think it’s important that we resist other people’s stories and figure out what we believe about ourselves and reinforce those stories.

A piece of lined paper with the question “What stories are you telling yourself?” Underneath the question are 3 lines “1., 2., 3.” with blank spaces for answers to be filled in.

I love exercise. The stories I’ve created for myself have helped make exercise work for me over the long haul. Even though I have created them, it is essential that they are rooted in truth. These stories have been a work in progress. I didn’t always believe every aspect of them. I questioned certain parts of them. But I reinforced the parts I truly believed in despite my own skepticism or socialization.

I know I had stories about exercise and sport, when I was a kid, that were not helpful.

I don’t like gym. I like art class, reading, some parts of science and math and drama. But not gym.

My gym uniform doesn’t flatter me (This was partly true).

The volleyball is going to hit my glasses. (This was also partly true).

I’m just not the type of person who (skates, skis, plays team sports). Where’s the hot chocolate?

People skating on an ice rink in the background and a yummy looking cup of hot chocolate in a glass mug, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

These are stories I told myself when I was younger. They reinforced my dismissal of exercise as something that “wasn’t for me”. These stories prevented me from finding exercise that DID work for me. Until I was much older and started telling myself different stories.

It took some work to change the stories I told myself about fitness. It didn’t happen overnight either.

I am strong.

I am a runner.

I can do some things, but not all things. That’s OK.

I’m doing this for ME. No matter how shitty my day is, I have my exercise that makes me feel strong, alive, capable, present, enough…).

I don’t have to look like her to be fit. Fit has many versions.

All or nothing is nonsense.

Show up. Do what I can.

What I eat and how I exercise are separate components of my life. The only time they intersect is if what I eat will affect how I feel while I’m exercising. For example, there are certain things I am not going to eat before I go running. Anyone who has gone for a run, knows what I’m talking about. Choose what you eat before you run, VERY carefully, so you don’t HAVE the runs.

I am not exercising to atone for what I ate.

I bet I CAN run a half-marathon.

I bet I CAN EVEN run a full marathon.

It doesn’t matter that it took me 5 hours to run my first full marathon. I ran 42.2 kilometres, IN ONE PART OF MY DAY, no matter how long it took me!

Nicole finishing her first full marathon at the Toronto Marathon in 2007.

These are the types of stories I’ve told myself as an adult that contribute to my commitment to living a fit life.

I hear people tell stories that I don’t think serve them.

I haven’t been doing anything so what’s the point.

I am too tired to do anything (this may be true sometimes but not ALL the time).

It doesn’t matter at this point.

I don’t like to exercise. I mean, maybe you don’t. Or maybe, you haven’t found exercise that you like? Perhaps, because you think of it as exercise, and you have equated exercise with punishment, you automatically go to “I don’t like it”?

I need to wait until I’m eating better.

I’m just an all or nothing person and right now it’s nothing.

Lifting weights makes me bulky. (Yay, strong!)

No pain, no gain (ugh).

The last time I tried that I end up with a sore body part (and I didn’t find out why or how to prevent it next time).

I didn’t like that class so I won’t like others.

If I were thin, I wouldn’t bother (why??? exercise doesn’t always make one thinner, nor do I believe that should be the goal and what about the other things exercise DOES contribute to, such as FEELING better, physically and mentally)

I like to dance, walk, play tennis, garden, etc., but that’s not enough so why bother.

It’s too cold. I’ll wait until spring.

I don’t have exercise clothes I like (get a friend to help you find clothes you feel comfortable in. They don’t have to be fancy or expensive. My favourite running shorts for years were a no nonsense pair of cutoff sweatpants).

The list goes on.

Do you think you tell yourself stories that don’t serve you and your fitness goals? Do you have great stories that inspire your fitness goals? Can I help you create new stories? I’d love to hear your stories!

Nicole P. lives in Toronto with her husband and two dogs and is exercising most days during lockdown
fitness · habits · motivation · new year's resolutions · self care

Go Team! January 26: Do you need to seek a challenge?

So far, I have been mostly reminding you that it is okay to take things slowly and to go easy on yourself. I stand by that 100%.

In my experience, most people take on waaaaaaay too much when they start a new goal and it can be frustrating and discouraging.

But, there’s a flip side to that, of course.

Sometimes, we pick a goal that we have a natural inclination for and, instead of overwhelming ourselves, we underwhelm ourselves.

We pick something that isn’t challenging.

Or something that bores us.

Or something that doesn’t push us at all.

That can be just as discouraging and it can have the same symptoms of dread and avoidance as taking on something too large.

So, if you have been reading my posts and thinking, ‘Encouragement is good but this isn’t *quite* the problem.’ consider the idea that you might not feel challenged by your plans.

Maybe you need to increase the time, the intensity or the difficulty of your workouts.

Maybe you need something that challenges different muscles.

Maybe you need to join a challenge group so you have a little friendly competition.

Try to dig into the reasons for your boredom/annoyance/avoidance and see what your brain comes up with.

You might have the perfect challenge tucked away in your brain somewhere waiting to be coaxed out.

Whether you are overwhelmed or underwhelmed, whether you have set your goals too high or set the bar too low, you get a gold star for your efforts to exercise, to meditate, to make change, to consider your process, to find good rest, or to find a new challenge.

Keep up the great work!

Image description : Three star shaped patio lights hang on a railing at night. The light of each one is shining through multiple star​-shaped holes on the sides of the larger star.
These stars contain multitudes…of star-shaped cutouts. Image description : Three star shaped patio lights hang on a railing at night. The light of each one is shining through multiple star-shaped holes on the sides of the larger star.

fitness · motivation · strength training

Where you workout: In your face or a separate space?

Where do you put your workout equipment?  Do you need it in the middle of the living room to gently remind you to do a little movement, or do you tuck it away to a separate space?  

I’ve been thinking about the advice I hear sometimes to keep some resistance bands, a kettle bell or a yoga mat in our living spaces so that we can “do a few reps” in between the rest of our lives.  During the pandemic, by necessity my lifting became a part of my everyday space.  I created a “workout” space in our guest bedroom, which is also the room with my clothes closet, where my little TV is, where I tuck myself away when I need some quiet time, and in other words, spend a fair amount of my time day to day.

And over the winter break, my husband and I finally got to finishing the garage, and we were able to install a folding squat rack on one side.  Suddenly, once again I have a separate space where I only go to do my lifts. 

And I love it.

I love heading out to the garage and going to “the gym,” getting to be inside my own head and focusing on the work without distractions.  I’m enjoying my lifting like I haven’t in months.  Don’t get me wrong; I had moments of joy these last eight months before I got the rack set up–figuring out how to MacGyver lifts, to keep it challenging with fewer options, and had some successes getting stronger.  But it was hard to stay motivated.  I’d get distracted, cut workouts short, be grateful that I’d checked the boxes, but not really feel that post-lifting glow. And I think at least a part of that was missing the “escape” of lifting in a separate space.

I acknowledge that there are times in our lives when we simply can’t carve out 45 minutes or more several times a week to do some exercises by ourselves. And of course, having space and equipment has a huge element of privilege to it.  But when we are able to prioritize it a bit more, and when our spaces allow for it, I wonder if advising people to do a few squats as they brush their teeth prevents them from enjoying some of the most satisfying, and therefore motivating, elements of regular exercise?

I suspect that for some folks who don’t find that they love exercising, this sort of approach–carving out a special location and quiet time to do it in–might give them new avenues of enjoyment.  They might find, like I do, that this time alone focusing on myself and my lifts, can become a kind of moving meditation, an act of mindfulness and self care not just for the “exercise,” but for the rest it brings to the mind.  It is a chance to monotask and to be truly grounded in our bodies.

Now, of course this need not be an all or nothing situation.  Maybe right now someone can only get away one day a week for an extended workout and the rest of the time, it’s wall push-ups while they’re heating up dinner.  Maybe it’s simply an experiment we run from time to time, to see if we like a particular actively more when we do it alone.  As our lives change, our needs adjust also.  

I like the idea of cultivating these moments of quiet contemplation as a form of self-care, to encourage some of the intrinsic rewards to exercise; to make it more worthwhile to us in the moment and therefore more likely to be something we regularly create space for in our lives.  I love lifting weights, but it is so much more than the effort and the progress.  I love spending time with myself without distractions, focusing on the feedback my body is giving me, and enjoying being present in the moment.  If you’re struggling to find joy and motivation for your fitness routine, it may be worthwhile to run the experiment, to find out if what you’re missing is taking time away while you take care of yourself.

Photo description: Image of the author’s garage gym, with folding squat rack, weight bench, and toolboxes and lawn mower in the background.

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher.  She can be found joyfully and mindfully picking up heavy things and putting them down again, in Portland, Oregon.

Feature photo credit: Simon Migaj, via Unsplash.

blog · blogging · fitness

Blogging through the years, in numbers

We’ve been here on WordPress for 8 years and a bit. In that time we’ve had 4598 posts! And 2,747,658 views of posts. Our busiest day ever on the blog was July 24, 2014.

21,032 people follow us on WordPress. We just celebrated 21k followers last week which is what started me down this rabbithole of numbers.

Also, 16,026 people follow us on Facebook. We’re also on Instagram with just 1336 followers and Twitter with 1745 followers. Follow us if that’s your thing.

But it’s not all about followers. There are other numbers too. From followers I started tracking what people liked and shared this list of our most liked blog posts of all time.

In 2012 our posts averaged 580 words but in the 2013 they’d grown to 690 words on average. Post length seems pretty consistent through the years though. Last year, in 2020, it was 681 words on average.

Weirdly, post likes have varied quite a bit. Posts got an average of 2.4 likes in 2012. In 2014 they got an avereage of 21 likes, and last year in 2020, 13.3 likes.

Comments also vary through the years. We hit a high in 2013, 9.1 comments per post on average and just 2.9 in 2020.

Where are all the people from? By and far, most of the blog’s readers through the years are in the United States (1.3 million), next is Canada (584k) and then the UK (225k), Australia (120k), Germany (41k), India (35k), New Zealand (22k), France (21k), Netherlands (18k), Sweden (17k) and Ireland (16k).

After that it’s Phillipines, South Africa, Finland, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, Mexico….and lots more.

Oh, and the blog is busiest, in terms of views, either Monday morning at 9 am or Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm.

Just a couple of more sets of numbers.

Our total word count in 2013 was 293,809

And in 2020, with a lot more bloggets, it had grown to 448,250

Finally, let’s look at the number of posts through the years.

In 2013, 426 posts.

2015, 587

2018, 616

2020, 658

Moving beyond numbers, I also sometimes track search terms that bring people to the blog. This week’s include ‘workout feminist beginner’ and ‘how does renpho calculate metabolic age’ and ‘fit feminist hiit’ and ‘biggest loser new season 2021’ and ‘is it normal to have a period at 53’ and ‘you are not your biological destiny women.’

All the statistics and data aside, we love your engagement. Bloggers at Fit is a Feminist Issue like your comments and your feedback. You might even consider writing a guest post. Drop us a line some time soon!

Scrolling numbers of likes
fitness · habits · motivation · new year's resolutions · self care

Go Team! January 25: You’re doing great!

Before you get annoyed and come back at me with all the reasons you are most certainly NOT doing great, give the idea of ‘doing great’ a few minutes to settle around you.

Think about it like this…

Ok, perhaps you haven’t followed your plan perfectly.

Maybe you haven’t worked as hard as you meant to.

And, you might not be where you hoped to be right now.

But you have been putting in an effort to make the changes you want to make.

It may not be working yet but you are exploring what *could* work. You are figuring out what mental, physical, and environmental conditions you require to add your intended habit.

So, you’re doing great.

I’m not measuring your results here, I am admiring your PROCESS.

Adding new things to a busy life is complicated and it requires a process of trial and error as you figure out what works.

Committing to that process is impressive.

It doesn’t matter that you haven’t figured it all out yet, you are on your way.

So, starting from the idea that you are doing great with your process so far…

What are you going to try next?

Here are your gold stars for your efforts, your exercise, your meditation, your consciously-chosen rest, your commitment to the process of figuring this out.

Image Description: A string of gold star-shaped lights extend into the distance. Some stars are in focus and some are not.​ the background is dark.
That’s a gold star for every different kind of effort you have put into your process. Go you! Image Description: A string of gold star-shaped lights extend into the distance. Some stars are in focus and some are not. the background is dark.
cycling · family · fitness · yoga

Lizard Pose with Lizzy!

I confess. I’m partly writing about lizard pose to share photos of a new pet in the house, Lizzy the bearded dragon. My son just moved back home and he was nervous we wouldn’t like her. Luckily, she seems to fit in just fine as part of the working from home crew.

But that’s not the whole story.

In an online cycling group of which I’m a member someone recommended lizard pose as an excellent yoga pose for cyclists.

What’s LIzard Pose? “Lizard Pose is an excellent stretching posture for the hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps. Integrating this pose into your regular yoga practice improves hip flexibility and strengthens the leg muscles.”

I’ve been riding lots lately (207 km this week on Zwift) and feeling in need of some bike speciifc stretching in addition to the Yoga With Adriene I’ve been doing. So Sunday morning, ater taking Cheddar for a walk, Sarah and I spent some time with Adriene and lizard pose. I love how low key silly and goofy Adriene is. I feel much more relaxed and happy on that mat with attitude.

As always, there are even more advanced poses.

Here’s flying lizard.

But for what it’s worth, even Lizzy–an actual lizard–can’t do flying lizard and neither can I. That’s just fine by me.

Happy Monday from Sam and Lizzy!


Why Menopause? (Part 2 of #makingmeaningofmenopause)

This is the second post in my “making meaning of menopause” series.

Why do humans have menopause, anyway? And what is it good for?

That’s the central question of historian Susan Mattern’s very comprehensive history of menopause, The Slow Moon Climbs.

I’m making my way through the book in chunks (did I mention how comprehensive it is?), and using that as the foundation for an ongoing inquiry into the meaning of menopause in my current context — as a middle age, north american White woman who’s never reproduced.

Here are the fascinating things I’ve learned in the first few chapters.

First, I love a good glimpse into the feverish arguments of a field I am at more than arms’ length from. Turns out historians and evolutionary biologists REALLY don’t agree on why human women* — unlike almost any other animal — long outlive their reproductive value. (NOTE: When I’m discussing the book, I’m using the term “women” in the way the author does, which is, so far, an unexamined assumption of binary gender where the people who menstruate and experience menopause are presumed to be cis-women in cultures that assume most such humans will become wives, mothers and grandmothers. I’ll talk more about the constructs of menopause in a more diverse understanding of gender in a later post.).

In her early chapters, Mattern exhaustively and convincingly explores the science about how long females in other species outlive their capacity to reproduce. And while there a few examples of creatures that stop reproducing and then perform a different, non-breeding function in their social worlds, humans are unique in the length of post-reproductive lifespan. (Well, there are aphids, who undergo a kind of menopause and then become selfless, self-sacrificing protectors of their colonies by flinging a sticky substance at attackers, to defend the colony at a cost to their own lives. But this kind of kamikaze protective role is anomalous).

Essentially (and I’m wildly oversimplifying here), evolutionary biologists recognize that post-reproductive human females play an important role in the development of long life spans in humans. The current prevalent theory (though also contested!) is the “grandmother hypothesis”: By being freed up from breeding and keeping small children alive, older women have been a critical part of the evolution of social groups by foraging for and growing food and supporting younger relatives. This ability to augment food supply, foster cooperation and support weak or ill members of a group is believed by many to have directly contributed to the increasing life span of humans over time, the evolution of skills and knowledge, the capacity to withstand climate cycles of drought and food scarcity, and the spread of humans across the globe: “once weaned children could be supplied with hard-to-acquire foods, it allowed humans to live in new environments and to colonize the world. Once adult lifespans lengthened, longer childhoods evolved as a result. Humans took advantage of these longer childhoods to develop higher levels of foraging skill; social skills also developed rapidly as cooperation became more important at all ages.

The grandmother hypothesis points to menopause as an “evolutionary adaptive” strategy. By evolving a category of skilled, experienced adults who are not preoccupied with the keeping alive of babies or taking on the risks of childbirth, menopause is a critical part of the evolution of social worlds, human skills and knowledge, and human capacity to do more with their lives than simple survival.

There’s a nice overview of this hypothesis here.

(I’m not going to go into detail about the critiques of this hypothesis — most are grounded in thinking of menopause as an “epiphenomenon” of genetic changes — an accidental byproduct rather than an adaptation; a common theme is that evolution is competitive, with men needing to reproduce with a variety of younger women to ensure the propagation of the species; having older women around may be helpful, but isn’t a direct, desired adaptation).

So. If post-reproductive life evolved as a way for humans to have a life cycle that allows both intensive investment in offspring AND a large role for experience and the evolution of knowledge and technology, menopause is a transitional point to a different life stage. In forager cultures, this role might be elder, grandmother or mother-in-law. In our western industrial culture, what is the equivalent?

I’m going to leave this here for this week, with a question: what are your narratives about menopause? Do you see it as a transition to a potentially vital life stage? As a physical phenomenon and nothing more? Or as something (as more than one commenter put it last week) to fear or a reminder of not having “fulfilled” the expected role of reproduction?

How does the “grandmother hypothesis” influence how you think about menopause?

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who is now on her fifth month without a period for the first time since 1977. Here she is with HER grandmother, learning to bake something, around that time.

fitness · habits · motivation · new year's resolutions

Go Team! January 24: Giving attention

Word power time again!

Do you have specific exercises, skills, body parts or muscles that you are ‘working on’?

Or have you been giving those things ‘some attention’ instead?

I know I keep bouncing back to the power of our word choices but it has been such a useful tool for me that I hope everyone else can benefit from it, too.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time ‘working on’ things.

Working on my leg strength.

Working on pushups.

Working on my abs.

You know the drill.

(I have also done this in non-fitness parts of my life – working on my schedule, working on organizing the basement and so on.)

Then, a few months ago, I was watching a Yoga with Adriene video and she said something about ‘giving our shoulders some attention.’

When I heard that I actually said ‘Oh!’ aloud.

Giving my body some attention feels way better than working on it.

After all, my body is not a project, it doesn’t need to be worked on.

It does, however, need my attention.

My body thrives when I am responsive to its needs.

Perhaps my body needs some movement, maybe specific movements to strengthen or bring ease to certain areas, and it is time to give some attention to that.

Maybe my body needs rest and I need to give some attention to helping it rest.

Or, I might realize that stress is showing up in my body and it’s time to give some attention to helping it relax.

I realize that this is a small reframing but it could make a huge difference to you (and to your body.)

It could be the thing that helps you do what you need to do to take good care of yourself and to keep building your wellness habits.

I think the change in phrasing will encourage a helpful change in thinking.

After all, would you rather be given some attention or would you rather be worked on?

Whether you are ‘working on’ or ‘giving some attention to’ your body today, here’s a gold star for your efforts.

Image description: a gold star decoration covered in cut-out dots and stars hangs on an orange wall. The photo is taken from slightly underneath the star.
This gold star is one of 5 that hang on the wall over my kitchen window. Turns out that, even on our small ladder, I am too short to take a directly-in-front photo of it. Image description: a gold star decoration covered in cut-out dots and stars hangs on an orange wall. The photo is taken from slightly underneath the star.
fitness · online exercise

Can’t take the HIIT? Don’t leave the kitchen, uh, workout space. Just go slower…

Remember the show “Name that Tune”? It started in the 50s (says its Wikipedia page), but has been revivified more times than we can count (okay, not true, but a whole lot of times). I first (and last) watched it in the 70s. Here’s a long clip, but you’ll get the sense of it in the second minute (btw, I correctly named the tune!!):

Two players play Name That Tune. Check out the second minute for a glimpse.

There’s something awe-inspiring and also extremely implausible in the players’ claims that they can name that tune in 4 notes, in 3 notes, in 2 notes… 1, even?

All of this paring down of tunes to a few bare notes puts me in mind of the ever-smaller (and ever-more-intense) at-home workout plans, boasting that they can get you in shape in eleven minutes. No, ten minutes! Hey, how about seven? This one’s even based on science! Seven minutes too much? How about six? Oh, yeah? Well, I can get fit in just four minutes!

What is this exercise de-escalation arms (and legs and abs and glutes) race all about?

It’s about HIIT– high intensity interval training. What is that? See the NY Times below:

A mix of extremely short spurts of intense exercise followed by a minute or two of rest, HIIT is quick and potent, with studies showing that a few minutes — or even seconds — of interval training can improve people’s health and longevity over time.

Here’s more detail from an article by researcher/coaches who’ve studied HIIT and use it for their coaching clients:

Standard guidelines for aerobic training recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (46% to 63% of maximal oxygen uptake)for 30 to 60 minutes per session and/or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise (64% to 90%) for 20 to 60 minutes per session.

Although these traditional protocols can be effective, they may not be realistic enough for time-conscious adults because of the amount of time necessary to complete each program.

Our approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes. Participants can repeat the 7-minute bout 2 to 3 times, depending on the amount of time they have. As body weight provides the only form of resistance, the program can be done anywhere.

It’s been a standard part of many training plans to include some HIIT workouts, even substituting them for longer slower runs or swims or rides, for instance. You get a lot of bang for your exercise buck, as it were; and according to a recent study reported in the NY Times here, HIIT workouts might even extend our longevity. Although, looking at the actual article, the effects were small and very narrow. And to the researchers’ (or editors’) credit, they fessed up in the infographic, a part of which is below:

Reads: all cause mortality was 37% lower after HIIT compared with controls and 49% lower compared with MICT (moderate activity). But wait for it: these differences were not statistically significant. Details are everything.

So, do I have to HIIT myself over and over in order to get fitter and avoid an earlier death?

No. This no seems like it’s smiling, which makes it extra good.

On January 21, this New York Times article said that “the best exercise may not be the briefest”, citing a brand-new study by researchers at the University of Guelph. Here’s what they did to test moderate exercise against HIIT-ing:

[They decided to see] what happens if people HIIT three days a week and do not otherwise exercise on the other four, or train moderately five times a week?

…they first recruited 23 sedentary, overweight, adult men… They asked half of the men to start interval training three times a week on stationary bicycles at the lab, riding as hard as possible for 30 seconds, resting for two minutes, and repeating that sequence four to six times.

The other men began a typical moderate-exercise program, riding bikes at the lab five times a week at a pace they could comfortably sustain for 30 to 40 minutes.

Over the course of the next six weeks, the HIIT group pedaled intensely for a grand total of less than an hour, while the moderate-intensity group worked out for at least 2.5 hours each week for the same period.

What did they find out after the 6 week period?

  • Almost everyone was fitter– both hi- and moderate-intensity groups
  • those in the moderate-exercise group (but not the HIIT group) shed some body fat, improved their blood pressures, and became better able to metabolize the extra fat from a fatty milkshake (another part of the study)
  • everyone’s blood-sugar control at home was best only on the days when they exercised meaning three times a week for the HIIT riders and five for the moderate group

Very interesting…

But wait, there’s more (just a little bit; I’m almost done). It turns out we can CHOOSE what sort of exercise we want to do, as they are all good. They do different good things for us, and switching it up a bit might be fun. Here’s Guelph researcher Jamie Burr:

“All exercise is good,” Dr. Burr says. But “there are nuances.” Frequent, almost-daily moderate exercise may be preferable for improving blood pressure and ongoing blood-sugar control, compared to infrequent intervals, he says, while a little HIIT is likely to get you in shape as effectively as hours and hours of easier cycling or similar exertion.

Of course, one study does not certainty make. But I like the way it sounds. If I’m looking to leave it all out there, I can HIIT myself up and put the pedal to the metal. When I’m feeling mellower, moderate activity is also what the doctor (Burr) ordered.

Overall takeway: IT ALL COUNTS.

CW: The rest of the post consists of motivational images. Proceed at your own risk.

My favorite: slow is better than no. Truer words were never spoke.

So readers (at least those of you who didn’t bail in the midst of the motivational art): do you like HIIT? Is it satiisfyiing? Undoable? An occasional thing? Something you’re never heard of? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

fitness · habits · motivation

Go Team! January 23: Give it your some

You are not going to be able to bring the same level of dedication, energy, and effort every time you work on your new wellness habit.

Please don’t let that discourage you.

Some days you will be excited and energy-filled, other days you’ll be a bit tired and worn-out and you’ll barely have any energy to put into the project.*

If you are leaning toward the latter, it’s ok to give it your some.

I know, I know, there’s an awful lot of talk out there about how you have to ‘give it your all’ if you want to progress.

Maybe that approach works for some people (if it works for you, have at it!) but, for a lot of new exercisers, that phrase drags us into all-or-nothing thinking. We get stuck on the idea that if we can’t go all in, we shouldn’t bother at all.

But if you approach your wellness practice with the idea that giving it your *some* is an option, you’ll probably have more success with habit-building.

So, you don’t jump around in this workout. That’s not the end of the world.

Maybe your meditation session is only 2 minutes long. That’s not a crisis either.

Perhaps you only do 5 reps today. No problem!

Even by giving it your some, you still held on to your practice. You kept room for it in your mind and in your schedule.

There’s no downside there. Something is better than nothing!**

So, whether today is a go-all-in day or a give-it-your-some day, here’s your gold star for your efforts.

Image description - a gold star shaped decoration that is dotted with holes and has a gold string attached rests on a scratched green leather surface.
It turns out that it is hard to photograph a shiny star like this without getting a reflection of your phone in the surface. I almost managed to do it but not quite. Image description – a gold star shaped decoration that is dotted with holes and has a gold string attached rests on a scratched green leather surface.

*Rest is also an important option, of course. I trust that you will know which option to take on a given day.

**I count rest, especially consciously-chosen rest as doing something, by the way. Rest is an important part of the cycle, even if it feels weird to think of it that way.