Getting fit is the one resolution that’s at the top of my list every year in some shape or form. It often sneaks on the list in an unhealthy way like “lose 10lbs” or “be size x by x date”… goals that I never seem to reach and in the end don’t add to my personal health or happiness anyway. But as I’ve started the descent to the end of my twenties (it’s getting real now), I can see beyond a size on my pants and have a much deeper desire to be an active and healthy individual.
A few months ago when I made the move from Los Angeles (land of healthy fitness options – both free and paid – on every corner) to Alabama (where options around me are incredibly limited and at least a thirty minute drive from our home), I found myself stuck in a fitness rut, despite my resolutions. With convenience no longer on my side and no close friends to motivate me, I became more and more sedentary. My weekly trips to the gym started to diminish in frequency and I just couldn’t get excited about working out. When Outdoor Voices reached out to partner with us, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to keep me accountable and completely overhaul my routine. I set a goal to work out every day for 30 days… with a few ground rules.
The Rules for 30 Days
1. Workouts Needed to Consistently Change
This would not be 30 days of zoning out on the elliptical while watching instagram videos (sadly, that is not the way to health and happiness, trust me, I’ve tried). I needed to remind myself that working out and being healthy doesn’t only happen in the gym or a spin class. Promising myself never to do the same activity two days in a row meant I needed to get creative. Bring it.
2. Suit Up When You’re Ready to Work Out
I’d be lying if I didn’t say athleisure was my favorite fashion trend of all time. I can’t even remember the last time I wore pants with buttons on them to brunch. Who needs real pants anyway? But armed with my new sports wear from Outdoor Voices, I wanted to treat it exactly like what it was: athletic apparel for athletic activities (which meant “eating” had to be cut from the list, bummer). So in the same way you only put on your “special interview suit” when you need to make a good impression and land your dream job, I reserved my special collection of Outdoor Voices gear for working out and working out alone.
3. Make Myself a Priority
Six a.m. workouts are not at the top of my list of favorite things (cheese boards and dressing rooms mirrors that make me look like a magical princess have taken the top spots). But there is no denying the statement you make to yourself when you say “Before I do anything else today, I’m going to put myself first.” If I’m not jumping out of bed, I can at least commit to myself that when I set aside time for my health, I will disconnect and put my best energy and attitude into it. Less “I can’t believe it took me that long to run a mile — why am I a sloth human” and more “that was so fun! I’m glad I did it!” Fake it till you make it.
And just like that, the 30 days began.
DAY ONE: On day one, I quit the far away gym (fees and all) and signed up at a less exciting, more crowded, option that was only 15 minutes away. NO EXCUSES. My boyfriend was so excited that he offered to take me through a HIIT workout. Trying to embrace rule #1, I left my comfortable spot on the elliptical. How bad could it be if it’s only 30 minutes?!
FAST FORWARD TO 24 MINUTES LATER.
Somehow I was so focused on keeping things diverse that I completely forgot to be proud of myself for doing it. But rather than groan about my noodle legs the next day, I tried to focus on being excited that I was sore. Ok, I still groaned… but I didn’t give up. I mixed it up by rotating between walking long distances with our dogs, taking a barre class, doing an online yoga video, helping my neighbor rake her yard (aka one hour of intense arm exercises — it’s harder than it looks), and jumping rope in our driveway.
WEEK ONE: The first week it honestly felt like a chore. I struggled with changing my schedule and found myself on more than a few days putting it off… as if it was a tedious task like going to the post office. 9 pm would roll around and I would whine all the way to the gym. Changing my mentality became harder than the actual physical exercise part, even though that was pretty much kicking my ass as well.
On day seven, I headed back to the gym. Determined not to spend the next 30 days wishing time away, I did the same HIIT routine and much to my surprise, I made it through the entire workout. Did I still want to puke? Yes. But I could see the progress after only a few short days and it gave me the motivation I needed to stop being such a cry baby.
WEEK 2: Seeing any sort of progress became the light at the end of the tunnel… and hitting the 15 day mark didn’t hurt either. I looked forward to days where I would time myself running (ok, more of a jog slash power walk) or returned to the gym for some HIIT. But because a healthy lifestyle is so much more than just hours logged into the gym, I tried to make sure my gym time was balanced with healthy, outdoor activities. I became a regular at our park walking trails and our yard has never looked so clean and pruned.
WEEK 3: On day 20 when I was leaving for the gym, a neighbor offered me a spot in their volleyball game. And despite being COMPLETELY TERRIBLE AT ALL SPORTS, I went over and gave it my all. Was I the weakest link on the team? You bet your ass. Did I care? Not at all. Walking home after hours of laughing and *playing* (heavily embellishing my skill by even saying that) volleyball, it was a reminder that being active is fun. It doesn’t have to be a chore. A lesson my “I wish I was a size 2” heart desperately needed. The many compliments on my leggings didn’t hurt either.
WEEK 4: Around day 25, we went on a weekend trip to Nashville with friends. Determined not to let myself down, I committed to getting up early to take our dogs on an hour long walk. On our second day there, I suggested we get city bikes rather than using lyft. I found myself with the drive and energy to do things that I might have previously shied away from, using the old “I’m not in shape” excuse.
I didn’t step on a scale or measure my body parts (spoiler alert: my thighs are still jiggly). My 30 day journey ended up more about reminding myself that being active is about progress, not perfection. I went from feeling not fit enough because I don’t have the flat “instagram” belly to being proud of myself for still fitting in a workout after a 12 hour work day. Were all my workouts fun? Hell no. Whoever invented HIIT is not my friend. But I found myself enjoying the time I set aside for myself and my health.
Despite how many miles I put on my new sports wear over these 30 days, I was pumped to see how well they held up. My go-to bargain workout leggings usually end up pilling in the crotch area after a handfull of wears… sorry internet, but my thighs will always rub together, #noshame. My workout tops often end up with sweat stains or lightened armpits from heavy deoderant use. But after countless washes, my Outdoor Voices gear comes out of the dryer looking new every time. No crotch pilling or signs of wear. That’s two thumbs WAY up if you ask me.
Am I going to keep working out every single day? Probably not. Am I going to stay active and start setting goals for myself? Absolutely. While I’m never going to be a star athlete (sorry if you end up on my recreational team), these thirty days gave me the confidence to try things that formerly “weren’t for me.” Feeling like you aren’t going to be good at something shouldn’t stop you from doing it. So what if I jogged a 14 minute mile… I JOGGED THE DAMN MILE! 2017 feels like the year I finally run a 5K or have the courage to try paddleboarding. And while I won’t be pushing myself to hit the pavement every single day, I will be focusing less on the traditional idea of “working out” and more on getting outside, leaving technology behind, and just having fun.
This post is sponsored by Outdoor Voices but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.