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Incorporating Exercise Into My Life

I don’t really buy into the “New Year’s Resolution” thing, but I generally want to make some changes to create a healthier overall lifestyle for myself this year. I already have a fairly good diet (thanks to WeightWatchers!), but I still indulge in junk food every now and again so while that aspect of my health still needs a bit more streamlining, I also want to add more activity to my life. I have frequently mentioned my walking lifestyle here in Seattle, and while I hit the recommended 10,000 step count most days, that accomplishment is mostly just helping me to “break even” on the calories that I consume daily and isn’t really doing much to get me to the healthier body that I am looking to achieve.

Admittedly, I have never been one to go to the gym, but I admire everyone who religiously carves out time in their day to work out at their athletic club because the whole “gym vibe” just isn’t my thing. I find the workout machines to be super intimidating, my struggle to use / master said machines is put on display for everyone in the room (cue my self-conscious social anxiety), and the weird bro culture… all of it is just off-putting to me (that being said, I’m sure not all gyms are like this, but that’s always been my experience).

My parents also never went to the gym (they both had to work and always put my brother and I first, which meant that they never made the time for themselves to exercise) so we never had that example growing up. My brother and I were always involved in athletics (him more-so than I…) so that’s where most of our exercise came from. I took dance classes (ballet and jazz / modern) for 12 years and then was a cheerleader in middle school / high school which required a lot of strength for gymnastics and stunts (anyone else binging CHEER on Netflix?!), so I got my adolescent workouts that way. After I graduated from high school I had no athletic activities in my life and my metabolism has has started to slow with age (yes, I’m only 32, but my body is certainly different than it was when I was 18), so I am finding that trying to keep a healthy figure that I am happy with is much more challenging.

I’m sharing my experience here in hopes that it may help inspire you to find a few ways to create a healthy routine for yourself too!

All of that to say that the ways that I have found so far [for me] to stay motivated to exercise are: (1) it has to be a class (I need the structure!), and (2) it helps if it is dance-related (or at least has fun music!). I have shared my experience with Dance Church (which I LOVE), but it’s becoming so popular (as it should!) that there’s less and less room in each class which makes it difficult to keep from bumping into others. During the COVID-19 quarantine, they started offering free live classes twice a week (Dance Church GO on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings!) so I have been trying to tune in for those while I’ve been cooped up in my house. While the classes are free, they appreciate donations which I highly encourage if you are in a position to contribute; classes are typically only $15 apiece anyway, so it’s a super affordable way to stay active at home!
Additionally, I have always been drawn to Pilates and the barre-method of exercise, so I’d like to check out a barre class this year and hopefully make classes a part of my weekly routine if I enjoy them! I have been torn on which of the main two barre companies to try out (it’s a fairly expensive commitment, even for a trial, so I didn’t want to make an uninformed decision!). After a simple Google search and discovering this blog post comparing Pure Barre vs Barre3, I have decided that Pure Barre would be the better option for me (even though there is a Barre3 location that’s technically a few blocks closer to my house 😉). Also related to COVID-19 quarantine, what would be my local Pure Barre studio has started streaming live classes which sounds awesome and super convenient for those locals who have already enrolled in a studio membership. I’ve also heard that the Pure Barre On Demand App has a code for newcomers to extend the initial trial period from 7 to 60 days (to access, use “extendedtrial” at checkout) so literally I have no excuse not to give Pure Barre a try right now!

Another way that I have found that helps me to stay motivated to exercise is to wear workout clothes that make me feel cute! I’ve always been a big fan of Lululemon pieces (and still am!), but recently bought a scalloped legging and bra set from IVL Collective in hot pink (a color that is usually WAY outside of my comfort zone) and I absolutely love them! They really brighten up my day and help to boost my mood.

And finally, the the last thing that I have found to be useful in staying motivated regarding exercise is wearing my FitBit! I LOVE when I hit my Daily Step Goal (or exceed it!) as well as going a step (ha!) further and completing a week of consistently meeting that step goal — it makes me feel so accomplished! It’s a similar feeling as when I check tasks off of a to-do list (feeling a bit like Monica Geller right now… “check!” 😂). All FitBits are also compatible with the WeightWatchers app that I use, so being able to sync my activity along with my meal logs is super helpful in helping me stay on track and getting a better overall view of my health.

If you’re like me and would 1000000% prefer to be couch potato, I hope that these suggestions help encourage you to find a way to add some activity to your daily life. It certainly won’t come naturally at first and you’ll have to work at motivating yourself for a while in the beginning, but once you get into a groove with your routine you’ll wonder how you ever lived without that exercise! #endorphinsmakeyouhappy

xx, Natalie


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