Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Back on the Fitness Track

In addition to my life as a mom, teacher, and writer, I have another big hobby: fitness.

I used to be a runner, I was big into half-marathons and other races, and I even wrote about them. Things shifted for me after I had my daughter, mostly because she hated the stroller. I had a great fitness routine as a mama of one, but that second baby threw me for a loop...a loop I never quite got out of.

When running slowly faded from my life, I tried to find other ways to keep in shape, and life simply handed me more and more challenges.  Career demands shifted. My mom got sick(er). For a moment in time, I figured out how to fit in visits to the gym before picking up the kids, but those visits got shorter, and finally, the pandemic closed my gym.  I had excuses, and I had reasons. Whatever they were, they changed my fitness life. I can look back and see I've had a series of really complex, challenging years. I'm trying to grant myself some grace around that.

With a newborn, a pre-schooler, and an elementary kiddo at home during the pandemic, I knew I needed something for myself, so I invested in what I lovingly called the fauxleton

I joined the Peloton App during a free promotion, and I started riding. In addition to countless afternoon hikes during those early days of the pandemic, I carved out time for rides, strength workouts, and even yoga. 

My body changed. I really started to heal from having my third kiddo. That summer was full of hiking and swimming and tucking into our family activities. And then we hit the hybrid school insanity of the 2020-2021 school year. I sat too much and weakened my back, then that weakness turned into actual injury, which took three months of careful recovery.  

By January of 2021, I was anxious and uncomfortable. I reached out to my friend, Katy, who has her own nutrition business, Macrolytes. She offered some tips and tricks for how to better nourish my body, and I made changes. 

The weeks and months went on. My back stayed healed, and my food routines changed. By summer, I felt strong and confident, even if the numbers on the scale remained mostly unchanged. At least I had routines again!

In November, I had the opportunity to purchase a used Peloton. 

And it's been a game changer.

By mid-December, I'd doubled my total number of rides taken since I joined the app in March 2020. Six weeks...150 rides.  The Peloton really does feel different to me - the ride is smoother, the seat is more comfortable, and the big screen is 100% better than watching rides on my phone.  

In addition to a routine I actually stick too, what I've missed though, without realizing it, was the competition I used to have in running. While the live rides don't often fit into my complex work life/mom life schedule, I do love seeing where I rank against all-time riders. I also appreciate the monthly challenges and knowing how many miles I've ridden. I keep finding new instructors, go back to favorites, and enjoy creating the perfect balance of rides on any given day - sometimes a 30 minute ride is exactly right, and others I need to build a 5, 20, 5 ride...same numbers, totally different experience.

I'm inching towards my fitness goals, but for the first long stretch since before I had my daughter (and she's in first grade...), I feel back on track.  I have clear, reachable goals. I have a form of exercise that makes me happy. I can fit exercise into my life without feeling anxious or annoyed at the imposition of it.

I'm back to creating and honoring this space for myself, and it's making everyone around me happier, too.

I'd call that a win-win.

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