I’m no fitness expert, so if I can do this, anyone can.
I was never an athletic person. In fact, I was that child who was chosen last as a teammate for kickball in PE class. This may have been because when a ball came at me, I’d instinctively close my eyes and cover my face. I don’t like fast objects flying at me. I learned to feign menstrual cramps to be excused, and this was even before menarche!
I’ve been known to ask what inning it is during a football game, and once while in downtown Tempe with friends for Fiesta Bowl, I noticed signs everywhere that said “Welcome Tennessee Volunteers.” I exclaimed, “WOW! How did this team get such a loyal fan base as to have all these people to travel to volunteer for them??” Clueless.
I once asked a friend a serious question, “What do you think of the controversy surrounding Tim Tebow’s death?” “What??” my friend replied, “Tim Tebow died?”
“You know!”, I exclaimed. “Do you think maybe the conspiracy surrounding Tim Tebow’s death is true?” My friend looked puzzled and then, as if the light bulb went on asked, “Do you mean Pat Tillman?”
“Er, um, yes.” I shrank. Yes, I’m clueless and hopeless, athletically.
I always wanted to be fit, but I like solitary, non-competitive sports, like reading and cooking. The first time I embarked on an exercise program was in high school. My boyfriend was a weightlifter and he could drive, so I joined his gym. I would try to lift weights with him, but I just hated it. They were so….heavy. It just made me want to cry. So I started doing aerobics, which was upbeat and fun, fashionable even. This was before yoga pants, remember leotards?
Running and aerobics helped me stay thin and somewhat fit, but never gave me the strong curves I envied in others. Elapsed time 10 years or so…the whole world turned to yoga, and so did I. For a while, it was great. I could relax and exercise at the same time! But still, with my ectomorphic body type, it didn’t give me the changes I wanted. I stayed skinny-fat, or thin, but not particularly toned.
A friend of ours got a machine that tests bone density. I obliged, and the results frightened me. My bone density was 20 years away where I should have been for my age. I knew it was time to get stronger, if not for vanity’s sake, then for my health. Weight training is proven to be one of the best, most natural ways to prevent osteoporosis and increase bone density. One recent report exercise increased bone density despite aging.
And without the sometimes serious side affects of many medications now prescribed for bone loss.
As a nice side effect, maybe I’d make those physical changes I’d always wanted. You also get to eat A LOT when you lift weights. So it’s a win/win/win!
I started lifting weights 3 times a week, for a mere 30 minutes last summer. Not in a huge way. I lift for 30 minutes 3 times a week. What’s great about the schedule is that I can stick with it. It’s not overwhelming or a crazy commitment. Plus I can bring my kids to the gym, which I great for a homeschooling mom. I’m still not where I WANT to be, but who is? I am stronger than ever before and it makes me feel strong on the inside, too. Since we see ourselves in the mirror everyday, we don’t often notice physical changes.. Don’t give up if you don’t see changes at first.
I like to think of the time spent lifting weights as a gift I give to myself, a form of self care. As nurturers we give and give to others. We wear many hats and most of them are like uniforms in service to others. As women, we do a lot of things that are hard. Waking up every two hours round the clock to nurse a baby is hard. Juggling work and children’s schedules and dinner is hard. Relationships are hard. Why not do something hard–for yourself? I am learning to give to myself.
Understand that you will start feeling better before you start looking better. It wasn’t until a friend of mine posted a picture on facebook from a get-together last year that I realized the strength I had gained:
When I lift heavy (heavy for me, that is) weight, I know my muscles need carbohydrates to build and repair. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate healthy nutritious carbohydrates in my diet. White yams, also called white sweet potatoes are one of those carbs. Red skinned on the outside and cream colored on the inside. To me, they taste like a cross between a Yukon gold and a regular, orange sweet potato. They are a delicious low glycemic carb, which are rich in Vitamin C, B6, Potassium and Manganese. Manganese is great for your skin and bones as well as nutrient absorption. Pinto beans are low glycemic as well and this meal is a great way for your little athletes as it offers high-density nutrition, and carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar. As for me, I’m loading up for tomorrow’s #legday after a week off.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.