Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

How many of you have kept true to their New Years Resolutions to date? In my personal experience, for the first three weeks of January my gym is packed. There is a line-up for treamills, the classes are packed and your lucky if you can find a square meter to do your free-weight training. It never fails though, by the end of the third week usually one or two treadmills are always empty and the weight floor doesn't feel like China town. By the end of February, only us devotee's are left and I have all the time and space in the world to continue in what has become a hugely routine part of my life.

Exercise and good diet has always been a huge part of my life but this year I'm trying to take a new approach to it. In the past my workouts have been centered around weight loss and reduction of body fat, and while I may have 10 or so pounds of "Christmas Cheer" to kick off, for the most part I really love the way I feel in my skin right now. So this year, one of my goals is to use my workouts as an opportunity to challange myself, push myself out of my comfort zone, and focus on doing things I never thought I could do before. Although I do want to focus on toning some specific muscle areas and getting some definition, I know this will come along with pushing myself into things I've never done, and being okay if I don't suceed the first time around, laughing at myself, and going at it again.

So here is what I've worked at so far:

Experiment #1: Pole-Dancing Class
Thanks to the wonderful revolution know as Groupon I managed to get a voucher for six weeks of level 1 Pole Dancing, valued at $150 for $20. So far I have been to two weeks of classes and have developed a short routine with a slide down the pole (I haven't quite mastered this one as my knees seem to slam the floor everytime) and the fireman's twist. I've struggled a bit over the past week however with the idea of what this class should be doing for me and what it's actually doing. Body image is a big part of this class as it is a very sensual type of workout routine and confidence is key, however, sometimes I look in the mirror part way through class and think to myself "I can't measure up to these girls. I look awkward and out of place" - I've had to fight the Bad Body Image demons out of my mind to keep going with this despite how I feel. I have decided however, that the fact that I am struggling with these feelings means that I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I am determined to stick with it, as per my resolution, and trust that in the end I will gain more confidence and positive body image upon the completion of the class.

Experiment #2: Hard Core Cardio
I started off the New Year with focus on my weight trainging with the desire to really build and tone muscle mass, and while this is challanging I find that I am really comfortable in this area. I already know of my potential to gain muscle and build strength. I was always one of the strongest girls in my family and my age group. One thing I have always aspired to but never really focused on is my cardio; running especially. I've always been one to stick to the elipitical or bike but this year I'm going to push further and focus on running. I want to work to increase my speed, and endurance to the point where I could run 10 or 2o kilometers at once and feel accomplised and proud of myself. Last night was my first night of really focusing solely on this. I did 3.4miles (so about five and half kilometers) in fourty minutes. It felt amazing, rewarding, and all around freeing. I truly believe after last night that fitness is just as much about mental strength then it is about physical strength. You can only do what you believe you can do, so if you believe you can run 3.5 miles in 30 or 40 minutes, then you will. And I believe I have the determination and the strength, both physically and mentally to do that and so much more.

After my 3.4 mile run I did a 7 mile bike ride which also felt great. So all in all, an hour and fifteen minutes of cardio which left me exhausted but feeling stronger then I have in years. This is a resolution that I will not only feel good about keeping but I think is going to give me more confidence and strength then I ever have.

So all in all, if I had to summerize my goals for 2011 in one sentence I would have to quote my role model, Jillian Micheals in saying "Keep your meals clean and your workouts dirty". What were you resolutions for this year? How are you doing in keeping them?

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