Spring to summer, I’m really back this time!

I even made time to take a few runs on the beach while on vacation in Florida in late March. Photo by Anna Miars

I even made time to run on the beach while on vacation in Florida earlier this year.
Photo by Anna Miars

I find it funny (and in some way fitting) that I’m returning to my blog once again as the seasons begin to change. The AC is now on in my building, and although I haven’t used it yet, there is no mistaking that summer is fast approaching. I just took my very first open top bus tour of DC and from the sunburn incurred by myself and most of my colleagues, there is no doubt that the sun is closing in on its peak time of year. Aside from the pinkish hue I’m now sporting, it was fun to see the city from a different, if not totally tourist, perspective. The 18 photos I took and posted on Facebook are a testament to seeing the city for all its history and significance, not just the place I live and work. Oh, and workout too!

In my last post, I was hoping to find my stride again with regard to exercise. I’m happy to report that I have indeed integrated, or should I say reintegrated, working out into my daily routine. What I enjoy doing and when has changed significantly, however. Before I get into that, let’s back up to the start of 2013.

Now, I’m not a New Year’s resolutions person. Too much hype and often not enough follow through (and that goes for everybody, I’m a guilty as anyone else). I do support using the new year as a catalyst to start fresh with new goals. There is something empowering about feeling like you have a clean slate. So, on December 31, I signed up for a year at the Washington Sports Club that I used to frequent back in 2009 and 2010. The guy who I sat down with to sign the contract asked if I intended to stay for a workout that afternoon. “No,” I replied, with a mix of shame and confidence in my voice, knowing that I was actively making a commitment but wasn’t yet ready to act on it. “I’ll be back January 2.” And I did just that. I showed up on the second day of the year and set about finding my old, if not innate love, of physical activity. Four months to the day later, I’m exercising four to five days a week.

What I think has surprised me the most, is that the gym is now my least favorite place to break a sweat. I wouldn’t say I was a gym rate before, but I enjoyed being at the gym. What more could a girl who preferred to workout solo vs. in a group setting ask for? Fast forward and I find myself irritated by having to wait for a machine or for a spot on the overly crowded stretching mat. Most of the time I just want to get out of the gym as quickly as possible after a long session on the elliptical or treadmill. I’ll do a few quick, essential stretches and forgo any weight or ab work just to get out the door. Where I used to feel a sense of freedom in being able to choose the course of my workout, I now enjoy being led through a series of moves in a class. I’m guaranteed a spot and know I’ll be done and on to the next thing in 45 minutes to an hour. I go to barre and spinning classes at Biker Barre, Pilates at Fuse Pilates, Total Body Conditioning at WSC (the gym I belong to), and will soon try barre classes at Pure Barre. It’s been a fun mental and physical challenge to try all these different types of exercise. My mind and body are engaged in way that I’m not sure they’ve ever have been before.

My regimen before was somewhat mindless, I hate to admit. I’ve always been a pretty athletic person, so jumping on the elliptical or going for a run were activities I didn’t have to put much thought into. My body knew what to do. Each of the classes I go to force me to focus on my body (breathing, form, etc.) and be present in the moment. It’s no longer about hitting 60 minutes of cardio or a certain amount of weight on a machine, but successfully completing the task at hand like a series jumps on a bike or keeping my balance while holding a side plank. I think much like our food preferences change over time, so do our workout preferences. Remember, when you hated crab, tomatoes, pineapple, insert your food here, as a kid and now you love it? Same idea. Three years ago, I had the time and energy to spend hours at the gym. Today, I want the most bang for my effort. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as invested as ever in my physical health and overall well-being. It’s just that I’m now in a place in my life where the things I do for exercise have to fit within the bigger picture. Spending my time wisely is important (I’m a busy girl!). I’m sure my “taste” will change many times over in the future. For now though, I’m feeling good about where I’m at and for getting back on the wagon again, even if this new wagon is a bit different from the old one. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve made major changes in the way I eat as well (eating and exercise are two sides of the same healthy living coin), but I’ll save that for another post. Until then!

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