Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a girl who was afraid that if she lifted weights she would just get bulky and lose all traces of femininity. People would start addressing her as Mr. instead of Miss, girls would be scared of her, and, let’s face it; guys would be scared of her too. Besides, all she cared about was keeping fat at bay, and everyone knows that endless running is the best cure for that, right?
I hate to admit it, but that girl was myself. I would run six days a week for thirty minutes. My mistake? Making my routine the same old boring routine. Not only did I get bored, but also my body quickly adapted to the running and became more efficient at conserving energy during my workout (our bodies like to do that). So much for me keeping that fat at bay, right? So I would run for longer periods of time. But there’s only so much time you have in college. And I still didn’t look very toned.
Don’t get me wrong; running is an excellent form of exercise. But I wasn’t designing my workouts in a way that would challenge me to work my body harder. I didn’t take advantage of Fartlek’s or intervals to make my workouts more miserable exciting. To be honest, I’m not that passionate about just running, and haven’t been running that much since I ran a half-marathon last spring.
Instead, I’ve been incorporating more interval training and weight lifting into my routines. And let me tell you, it’s so exciting to finally see a change in my body composition. Every part of me has gotten more toned, and even though I’ve put on some muscle mass, my body looks thinner and more athletic. But what I love most of all is the passion that has been reawakened in me for physical activity. It sounds crazy to others who don’t enjoy exercise, but when I’m covered in sweat and pushing myself to not give up is when I feel most aware of my body. I have an appreciation for the way my body is able to approach each challenge and adapt to it and I thank God that I am healthy. And no, I’m not masculine or bulky. Girls don’t even have enough testosterone to build muscle like most guys do without supplements.
Because of this, I’ve seen much more progress in my physique. Having this genuine love for working out helps me keep a positive attitude about my progress and makes me more patient for change instead of putting pressure on myself to use unhealthy means to lose weight or not take care of my body. Most people who are just starting to work out don’t feel this way until they get past the “why am I even here” stage. You just need to stick with it and I promise exercise will become something you crave. What is important is that you find a form of exercise that you are passionate about. If you want to do cardio but hate running, don’t run. Go swimming, biking, etc. If you’re afraid of lifting weights because you think you’ll get bulky, just see for yourself how it goes. Don’t limit yourself to doing something you hate because it’s the status quo. You won’t get the same results. Find an exercise you could become passionate about to be a part of your happily ever after.