My BFF Carla has run the Boston Marathon several times. She’s also an Ironman athlete who is energized by intense, demanding workouts that leave her stiff and sore. She takes pre+during+post workout supplements to sustain her workouts and to recover from them so she can hit her regime hard the next day, and again the next. She owns two wildly successful gyms. She lives, eats and breathes fitness. She genuinely loves every hot second of it. She is awesome. You would love her. She inspires me and for most of our friendship I’ve been jealous of her.
Carla and I have been BFFs since the day we met in server training at Applebee’s in 1994. For 20 of those years I wanted to be tiny, toned and fit, just like her. In an effort to look more like Carla and less like Crystal, I took up marathoning in my late 20s/early 30s. Without fail, my body shouted “Nooo!!!” during my This-Is-Too-Long-For-You-Crystal! training runs. I thought I was smarter than my body back then, so I stuffed those signals down with copious Advil and “rewarded” myself with post-run Tremendous 12s at Perkins.
For so many years, exercise was the punishment, food was the reward.
I’ve forced my body to exercise in ways that worked for all the the women around me, except me. I’ve spent more money on programs, bootcamps, magazines and memberships than I care to calculate. I’ve been congratulated by a personal trainer when I’ve worked out so hard I puked. Let me say loud and clear that if any and all of these methods work for you, if your body loves them, if you’re energized by them…then… DO IT! They work for my BFF Carla. For me personally, they didn’t work because I came home stressed, depleted, ravenously hungry and with less energy instead of more.
It all changed when a coach encouraged me to discover ways to move that my body loves. She taught me that exercise is a reward for my body-not a punishment. This tweak in my thinking changed everything.
How do I choose love for my body?
My non-negotiable commitment to myself is to move for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week. I’ve kept it simple and for me, it works.
When exercise has no attachment to punishment, consistency comes easily.
I know it sounds a little crazy, but each day I check in with myself and ask my body, “What would feel most like love today?” The answers I get vary: windsprints, circuits at the gym, a basement workout, a 5-mile run, a walk with Derek the wiener dog, a light stretch
This approach to exercise has not failed me in 5 years. My reward is an energized body, a clear mind and an appreciation for what my body can do.
I encourage my clients to diversify their movement, to try something new every once in a while, which is exactly what I did this morning. I usually workout solo, so I texted a friend to join me. If you’re in the Winnipeg area, run-do not walk-to The Yoga Barre. The Yoga Barre class was completely different than how I usually workout, and completely awesome. There were more than a few grins exchanged between me and my friend during the class. It was challenging, but it was great fun. I came home energized, which is always my measuring stick for whether or not a workout actually works for my body.
How can you choose love for your body?
1 Set a non-negotiable minimum baseline* for exercise every week (Start with 5 minutes, 3 days a week. Just start somewhere).
2 Choose what time you’re going to move your body the night before
3 Honour that time commitment
4 Check in and ask yourself what would feel most like love for moving your body right now
5 Listen. + Do it.
*The term “minimum baseline” is taken from the wonderful work of another of my mentors, Brooke Castillo.
I would love to hear your favourite way to choose love for your body. Share below and inspire us all.