I’ve been in the business of “working out” for a very long time. I was an athlete in high school, a fitness nut in college and I’ve continued over the last 10 years to hone in how I approach fitness. I’m not always perfect, but I know what works for me and what doesn’t, to get my desired results.
5 years ago, after Little A was born, I started working with a personal trainer. My workouts were on point, but my diet wasn’t as good as I’d like it to be. Yes I knew what I needed to be eating but I was slim, strong and looked good in a bathing suit. So I didn’t do what I needed to do to take my fitness to the next level.
It wasn’t until I started working out at home 2 years ago, that I had that “aha” moment, where it all clicked. My diet, my workouts, my mindset. All three were in sync. It was then that I realized exactly what it takes to achieve any fitness goal you set your mind to. You see, I don’t want to be a body builder. I don’t really even want to compete in a bikini competition (although I have been asked many times if I’m going to….probably won’t ever happen….too self-conscious about my stretch marks), but I do want to be the best version of myself I can be. I want to look in the mirror and know that I’ve done everything I could for my body.
I’ve fallen off my clean eating diet a bit this last month, with Kellen’s constant travel and the holidays. So many of us do this time of year, right? But it hasn’t gotten to the point where I have completely given up on my eating and fitness. And I am never one to wait until the new year to start over. I just start over the next day.
So if you’re wondering where I’m going with all this, it’s to share with you a few things I’ve learned that have changed the way I approach fitness.
It’s not all or nothing.
It’s not, “I have to be 100% compliant all the time or what’s the point?” We all have rough days. We all have days where we eat all the leftover Thanksgiving sides (because who really likes the turkey best?) and want nothing more than a nap afterwards. We all have crap days at work where all we want is a glass of wine and a cupcake (or whatever your food vice may be) when we get home. So yes, we all have days where our eating isn’t “on point.” If we didn’t we wouldn’t be human. Even JJ Watt (my future husband) has cheat days. Even fitness models allow themselves to “cheat” every now and then.
Having this mindset has helped me realize that even if I have an off day, I can get back on the horse tomorrow. I always try to push myself with my workouts; especially if I haven’t eaten well recently. No amount of working out can completely negate a poor diet, but it can help a bit. I’m of the mindset that I’d rather put in 20 minutes of hard, intense work than 45 minutes if light weights, chit chat and bicep curls.3 simple lessons to change your mindset when it comes to fitness. Click To Tweet
You can do more with less time.
In my early 20s, I thought going to the gym for 1 1/2-2 hours a day was a necessity to achieve my desired results. I would spend 45 minutes doing cardio; usually the elyptical. Then another hour or so lifting, which included 1 minute breaks between sets (totally unnecessary). And I just couldn’t understand why my body didn’t look like a fitness model’s. I was strong, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.
It wasn’t until Kellen and I started going to bootcamp after we got married that I realized I could burn more calories in a much shorter period of time than I was previously used to. Yes it was hard work, but I was done in 30-45 minutes and in some workouts I burned close to 700 calories. And since then I haven’t spent more than 45 minutes on any workout, besides distance running.
So if you think that you need to spend hours in the gym to see results, try changing your mindset a bit. Think interval training, short bursts of intense work (burpees, jumping lunges, squats/squat jumps, push ups, squat and press, etc) and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in a short period of time. It’s how I was able to get such great results by the time I was 6 months postpartum.
Know that heavier isn’t always better.
In high school weight class it was all about “maxing out” on bench, and doing as much weight as you could on the leg press. So that’s the mindset I had going into college. I needed to be in the weight room with the guys, lifting hard, or I wasn’t going to be strong. So dumb. I was strong, but something was off.
You know those guys at the gym that can lift a lot, but they just don’t look as fit as you think they should? That’s how I felt. I was thin and strong, but I didn’t have the muscle definition that my hours in the gym should have allotted me. Once I realized that I could get my desired results with just my body weight and some light weights, I was sold. The most I’ve lifted in 3 years, besides my 45 pound daughter, is a 45 pound kettlebell. That’s as heavy a weight as I’ve needed. Most of the time I use 5, 10 and 20 pound weights, or just my body weight.
Obviously a lot has to do with diet and what we eat, but if you think you need to be benching 120+ pounds to be “strong,” think again. I know I’m strong now and it didn’t take me lifting all the heavy weights to get there. Yes if you want to be a body builder or even compete in bikini competitions you will need to focus on heavier weights at some point. But I have a ton of muscle definition in my arms, legs and back, and it was achieved without the help of a weight room.
Over the years, my focus and mindset have definitely changed when it comes to fitness. When you’re a mom, your time is limited, so you learn how to make the most of the few moments you’re given to workout. I don’t always fit in 30 minutes a day, but I fit something in. It may be 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there, but spending hours in the gym is in the past. I’m able to get just as good, or better, results by remembering the three things that changed the way I approach fitness.
This mindset, combined with a healthy diet, helps me stay fit and be my best self. And who doesn’t enjoy being the best version of themselves?
What have you found works best for you when it comes to working out? Are you a gym rat or do you like to get the biggest bang for your time buck?