Why I Exercise

Yesterday, I started getting back into the habit of working out in the morning. I recently moved into an apartment building that has a gym on the main floor and I am so pumped! The fact that I can roll out of bed and walk downstairs to the gym has helped me to stay motivated. When I headed down on Monday morning, I did not have much of a plan. I knew I wanted to get in a quick warm up on the treadmill and do a few dumbbell exercises, but I did not have a rigid routine in my head. Let me tell you, it felt really good to be able to head to the gym without obsessing over this.

When I was obsessed with looking a certain way, it took me several hours to plan my workouts for the week. I would research workouts on multiple fitness websites and read up on the best type of training that would “melt body fat”. Back then, I used exercise to help “sculpt” my body so that I could fit into the image that society tells us is “beautiful”.

I was embarrassed by my body for a good part of my early twenties. I never thought I was beautiful because I was stuck in this mindset that beauty meant having no stomach rolls, no cellulite, and no jiggle ANYWHERE.

I thought that if I overworked my body at the gym and ate “clean”, I would achieve beauty and happiness. I was so set on achieving this goal of having the “perfect” body that I would plan and plan and plan not only my meals but also my workouts. During this time in my life, exercise was never an outlet to relieve stress or a way to make my body FEEL good. I looked at exercise as a chore and a means to achieve my “perfect” body.

It took me a while to heal the issues I had around my body image. It was not easy for me to stop comparing my body to everyone else’s and “just” accept my own.

I didn’t wake up one day and easily decide that I loved my body. I still have days where I have to say f*** you to society and love my body despite it’s bloated-ness, cellulite, rolls, and jiggles.

Now that I am not trying to constantly look like someone else, I get to decide what exercises make me FEEL good. Somedays, that means lifting weights. Other days, that means taking a spin class. Sometimes, that means doing yoga or maybe even resting! The beauty is in the fact that I now see exercise as self-care, not a chore. I exercise because I can feel that my body is craving some sort of movement. The beauty is in the fact that I can spend more time on things that matter rather than planning out the “perfect” workout regime.

What motivates you to exercise? Is it because you want to LOOK a certain way or is it because you want to take care of your body?