Getting My Exercise Groove Back

I’ve been struggling with my motivation and enjoyment of exercise for awhile now.  I started out 4 years ago hating it and learned to love it.  But last year I started having back issues and then I fell and got that concussion and I haven’t felt thrilled about exercising for awhile.  Being in pain makes it lame.  I can’t do the things I was doing before so easily and constantly worry that whatever I do or don’t do will make it worse.  Then the whole concussion thing just slowed me down even more.

Oh, I’ve been exercising, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been dragging myself to the gym and doing the damn thing.

In a way, I feel like exercise and I are an old married couple who need to get our spark back.  We need some new toys or new setting… maybe some role-playing?  Yeah, getting your heart rate up is pretty good and helps with stress whether it’s all that thrilling or not, but this thing used to be hot and steamy and fun!  I need to get back to that.  We’re too young to give up on passion, exercise!  Stella needs to get her groove back.

Some things are off the table right now and I’ve decided to accept this and get over it.  I will not be running or lifting heavy weights anytime in the near future.  However, I’m also tired of worrying about the whole back pain thing.  I’ve been chasing my tail on that and not getting anywhere.  If nothing I do seems to make any difference, why not just do what I want?  So that’s what I’m doing.

I quit my gym and joined a different one.  One that has BodyPump.  When I really think about what I have enjoyed most in terms of exercise, BodyPump always rises to the top of the list.  I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea or not as far as the whole back pain thing goes, but I went back to my first class in over a year 3 weeks ago.  Oh, I was sore for days afterward.  But I went back the next week and it was much better.  I’m hoping to work back up to 2-3 days a week.  This was the most exciting exercise I’d done for a long time.

Come to think of it, I just don’t really like regular weight lifting.  It’s boring.  I hate resting between sets.  I hate counting.  It’s repetitive.  I know, I know, it’s all the rage, but you know what, if I don’t enjoy it, I won’t keep doing it.  So maybe this back pain thing is a blessing in disguise in some way, it’s reminding me to be true to myself.  That’s about as positive as I can get about the whole thing.

Next, I realized, I’m kind of sick of being in a gym.  Sure, I still manage to get some enjoyment out of the music on my headphones while slogging it out on the elliptical or stair climber.  And thankfully, my new gym has a ton more cardio equipment than my old one, so there’s more variety.  But the reality is, I want to be outside!  And I live in California where the weather is almost always tolerable, unless it’s pouring rain, so what’s stopping me?

Last week, instead of the gym a few nights, I went for walks.  I walked around my neighborhood which is beautiful and peaceful.  I live close enough to a hilly area where I can get some up and down hills for variety.  So, I’m not jogging anymore, but that’s okay.  I enjoy walking and I feel like it does my mind good to be outside.  It’s beautiful out there.  It smells good.

a sunny afternoon walk
an overcast evening
park across from work

On Friday, instead of hitting the gym, I stopped at a park across the street from my work and hiked around it.  I enjoyed these walks and hikes much more than I’ve enjoyed the gym for ages.  It feels good to breathe the air instead of being inside with all the sweaty people.

Then on Saturday morning, I found my new yoga studio.  Why do I wait so long to do these things?  Yoga is the other physical activity that always comes up when I think about what I really enjoy.  I can’t wait to really get back into my yoga practice.  I have a ton of old posts about yoga on my blog if you’d like to read some of my thoughts about it.  Hint: I’m a big fan.

So there it is.  In less than one month, Exercise and I have completely renewed and reinvented our relationship.  Instead of drudging along doing exercise I wasn’t really enjoying anymore, I have three new activities to explore: my new gym and BodyPump, Hiking, and Yoga.  I feel excited to exercise again!  I’m imagining getting up and having a nice long walk before work or an early yoga class, Saturday mornings on my yoga mat followed by brunch and coffee at the outdoor cafe and the farmers market when it starts back up, finding new places in my area to walk and hike (so many!), trying new group classes at the gym, and so much more!

As always, you have to keep changing and adapting to make things work for you.  What was great yesterday may lose its appeal over time.  This is okay!  We can decide to try different things.  You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again if you’re tired of it.  There are so many options, find the ones that appeal to who you are today.



16 thoughts on “Getting My Exercise Groove Back

  1. Great post! I’m going through similar motions in life… Changing up the exercise routine so it feels fresh and exciting. Sometimes, even little things like new batteries in my long dead heart monitor or a new fitness can make a big difference. Good luck on your new adventures!

  2. Yes hiking!! I sometimes have to force myself to go to the gym or do something other than hiking because I do so much of it I miss out on strength training and I also have a skin condition that makes too much sun not a good thing.
    A long hike with a great playlist (or just the sound of my breath) is the perfect tonic for a bad day, a stubborn problem or just a funky mood.

  3. Really enjoyed your blog and find myself in a similar mindset, I need to have diversity not to get bored with exercising. For example I was in Las Vegas for 4 days and did a lot of walking (maybe too much) because I lost 4 lbs in 4 days. Before I left I started walking in a nearby park starting with only 1/3 of a mile but for me that is a good start since I have an artificcial knee, 3 bad falls which have caused me some difficulty and the left knee is starting to pain. I am a bit afraid of the elliptical, always afraid I am going to fall. I have degenerative spine disease and compression of my lower discs and am not sure what exercise would relieve with pain. I lvoe yoga and go once a week to yoga practice.

  4. Almost 20 years ago, I was a regular exerciser (ran over 20 miles/week faithfully, lifted and stretched regularly), a healthy eater, and really on my way to maintaining good health habits. Then I went on a 3 mile fun run. Ended up with exercise anaphylaxis and was rushed to an emergency room with people shouting at me periodically, “Are you still with me?” It has taken me *so* long to get past that experience and work to find how I *can* exercise safely. I really empathize with you and your back pain. And I am so happy you and exercise have found the romance in your relationship again! Your blog has been instrumental in starting off my year fabulously. I tell everyone about it! I have so many resolutions – all small, attainable, and NOT ONE about any number of pounds I will lose. Thanks so much for sharing your journey through this world!

  5. Hi Kate! I’m so glad you’re finding joy in movement again. I strongly believe that joy in movement is imperative to happiness. I love being outside and enjoy the great outdoors 8 months of the year. During the rainy season ( I live on Vancouver Island on the West Coast) I take my workouts inside because not working out turned me a little cranky but I couldn’t bear being cold and wet all day. But I do notice that working out inside just isn’t the same. I heard someone say once “Nature is the mother fucker cure all” Sorry for the cursing but it didn’t sound the same without it. This saying stuck with me for many years and sometimes I notice myself craving “green time”, it’s usually is when I’m stressed or a little under the weather. A just being in nature helps so much. I’ll stop rambling now…. hahaha. I’m sooo happy you’re getting better:)

  6. Boy did I find that post helpful. I LOVE how you make your life work for YOU! I think next time we fall into an excise rut, we will get out of it much sooner. Thanks Liz

  7. I love that, Kate! I had the same experience recently, having been a long distance runner for the past decade. It just wasn’t “ringing my bells” anymore, so I’ve been phasing it out. I fought it for a while, which is human since we resist change, but it had become less fun for me. So, it had to go or, at least, be retired for a while. 🙂 Now, I only run for social interaction or if the mood strikes. I’m doing workout dvd’s at home (which is completely out of character for me), walking outside, lifting weights at home and teaching Spinning/Group Muscle Conditioning Classes for fitness. I also have fallen in love with “THE REST DAY” and have at least one a week. I love getting smarter. 🙂

  8. This blog post so hit home with me! I think I need to find my groove again with working out. The things I used to love, I now sometimes truly dislike — probably because I’m the instructor, not the student. I need to find that spark again — thanks for inspiring me!

  9. Heya, just discovered your blog and I had the same issue a couple of months ago with getting bored with the gym…give boxing or kickboxing a shot, they’ve got girl friendly classes nowadays and it gives a total body work out as well as a healthy shot of cardio. Love the blog and will be following 😉

  10. You’re awesome Kate! I have learned so much from your struggles and successes… hopefully I can do good things with it! I really appreciate your sharing all your thoughts!

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