Not long ago (eighteen months or thereabouts) I was the proud owner of hardly any active wear.
In my cupboard you would have found two pairs of leggings, a few workout tops and two good sports bras. I had visited Lululemon and Lorna Jane two or three times in my lifetime. That was it. I bought my gear pre-children and because my post-children weight stayed kind of the same I never returned again. For about five years! I was also one of those women who never wore their active wear at any other time than to the gym or the pilates studio.
Cut to today as an owner of a pilates studio. Lululemon and Lorna Jane are now close friends of mine- I visit them regularly. The active wear section of my wardrobe is blossoming and embarrassingly almost requires an additional shelf! I also now spend a lot of my time in leggings. If I’m not working out, I’m about to work out, if I’m not walking down to the studio or doing something pilates related I will be later in the day.
I now have to make a conscious effort to make sure I shower and get out of my active wear and into my normal day to day clothes which I love and kind of prefer because lets face it
Leggings don’t lie!
Initially all this time spent in leggings and being the new owner of a pilates studio made me feel a little embarrassed.
I didn’t feel fit enough, toned enough, anything enough to be able to walk into the studio and call myself the owner alongside the other women in the studio.
I became concerned about looking good in my leggings. Admittedly, I was perhaps being a little too hard on myself at times.
I have always been reasonably fit and have always advocated a healthy lifestyle, but ultimately when we bought the pilates studio I knew that I wasn’t as fit as I could be or had been in the past.
Owning a pilates studio for the last 18 months has been confronting for me body wise at times. In the past I have certainly had more than my fair share of struggles in the body love department (you can read about it here). Now my relationship with my body shape has softened and I have learnt a few things about my own body along the way- mostly in how I choose to perceive it and use it.
What has grown for me in this time- I desire to be able to walk into the studio and feel and look like I owned the place, not because my body shape was the best or because I was the fittest but because of my experience and love of pilates.
Your Motivator Must Be Something Beyond Simply Vanity
If you work out for vanity’s sake alone then expect to hit motivational walls that are going to throw your good intentions to the wall. Like the cold weather and shorter days of Winter and Autumn. Now my fitness ambitions are almost all internal. It’s about feeling connected to myself, feeling better in myself, my confidence, my increased energy levels. I love that feeling I get after I’ve finished a class at the pilates studio or after I’ve been for a run, to the gym. It’s addictive!
Comparing Is Suffering.
There is nothing to be gained by comparing yourself to others other than to bring yourself suffering. Seriously! There will always be somebody who does a particular something a little differently or better than you, or has something that you don’t. I have learnt to solely focus on myself and what I am doing or need to improve on and in doing so….I’ve continued to improve!
Everybody’s bodies are ridiculously different. We are being unfair to compare ourselves to others in this way. We all want what we can’t have but ultimately we have to work with what we do have. Personally I’d love a flatter butt!! But she’s here to stay, it’s proven. No matter my weight she is not going anywhere. However, we’ve made friends. So I do my squats, my side lying leg series, I go for runs, I do my best! No complaining!
Consistency Is Key
I didn’t get to this point in my health by exercising every now and again. It’s been consistent. Every week I have the same routine. Regardless of what else I’m doing in my life. Everyday I do a little bit of something. I fit it in even if that means having to do my workout in an unplanned way or later in the day than I originally hoped for. And I never miss a Monday workout.
Start Before You Are Ready
I wouldn’t feel this way in myself today if I’d sat back and waited till I felt better or more confident while wearing my leggings. I had to move my body to start feeling better in my leggings. The apple doesn’t come before the tree. Don’t let the awkwardness of starting stop you from actually starting.
There Is No Perfect Only Progress
Excited progress is what we should all be striving for. Not to be at the perfect weight or to look a certain way. Aim for perfection and you will never be satisfied. The feeling of progress, of continuing to improve and seeing/feeling the results in your body is the best result to aim for.
It can be easy at times, certainly I’ve fallen into the trap also, to exercise solely to look good. For me the benefits of pilates really came about when I decided to workout because I wanted to feel good. It’s that feeling that is addictive and makes me want to come back for more.
My experience – once you start feeling good in your body you start looking good in your body. Less self-criticism, more positive energy, more enthusiasm, whatever form of exercise you enjoy doing.
In what way do you think you could better approach exercise?
For more advice on how to feel your absolute best inside and out purchase my book here.