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3 things I wish everyone knew as soon as they start exercising

I fell in love with exercise as a young girl participating in sports and PE at school. As I entered high school I began my own exercise regimen that was neither consistent or for sustainable goals. I very much wanted to look a certain way and after my 1 week of running down my driveway, doing a 100 squats a day, doing lunges for a quarter of a mile, etc, I saw no changes and I only felt exhausted. Thus began a tumultuous relationship with exercise usually starting with excitement soon followed by disappointment and dread.

Present day-exercise is something I look forward to, brings me a lot of joy, and it's extremely sustainable for me now.

What allowed this change to happen? Learning these __ things allowed me to transform my relationship with exercise from negative to positive.

  1. Cardio is not the answer. "Cardio" loosely groups activities such as running, dancing, biking, rowing, etc. Activities that elevate your heart rate for certain periods of time. I truly believed this was the only way I could accomplish anything through exercise. If I wasn't out of breath, saying a prayer I would make it through my run without throwing up, I wasn't doing anything. This is so very FALSE. Physical activities that elevate your heart rate to a moderate level are recommended at a total amount of 150 minutes per week for cardiovascular health and to decrease your overall risk for diseases. A moderate elevation of your heart rate is definitely NOT high enough that you feel like you're going to vomit or can't complete your exercise. A brisk walk 5 times a week for 30 minutes accomplishes this recommendation. No running, rowing, biking necessary. I accomplish this recommendation through The Studio's barre class. My heart rate elevates to a moderate level for ~30 minutes out of a 50 minute class-so in 5 classes I've reached that goal while also improving my flexibility and strength.

  2. Building muscle should absolutely be a goal. This changed everything for me. Rather than constantly thinking how you can subtract something like: "how can I subtract this fat?" "How can I subtract the calories of this meal?" When you change your mental script to how you can add to your life through exercise it will fuel sustainability and good habits. "How can I build my body to where it works better?" "What do I need to add into my week so I have less pain?" "What do I need to add to my diet so my body can work better?" It changes everything! Muscle mass has been directly associated with longer lifespans, less chronic diseases, and overall improved quality of life.

  3. Rest/sleep and stress management are just as crucial as how much you're exercising. If you're overexercising and putting your body into a constant state of stress-you will not see progress.

Gone are the days of "no pain no gain" as we welcome balance, consistency, and gentleness into our workouts.

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