8 ways to totally rock your workout

So I have to admit, I'm pretty pumped because this is a post that I had been considering doing for some time now, but I was like "...eh idk, maybe that will be boring??? maybe I shouldn't???" But then some of you encouraged me on instagram to go for it, , (meeeeep) so here I am, ready to deliver: 



First, a quick, quick explanation: 

I've always been that "high-energy" kid. The hyper, little human-embodiment of a jack russell terrier. I sit at a desk all day and write and often that makes me fairly stir crazy. Like, I can't sit still that long. I CANNOT TAKE IT.

I started working out several years ago basically just because I could. And because I needed an outlet to let off steam because of aforementioned writing-at-desk habit . My dad was a runner as a fresh-out-of-highschooler, and apparently that runs (no pun intended) in the genes because I absolutely adore running, and I try to lace up everyday. As time went on I got hooked on yoga and lifting because I loved the rush that came with strength training. I'll stop there, because there's nothing quite as boring as reading someone go on about something like this.

All that to say, over the years I've learned a lot from other people who work out, and also from my own experiences, and I've also just seen that there are so many great benefits to working out-- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So now I feel compelled to blab, And you guys have given me encouragement.

SO HERE WE GO. 8 things that I've learned, that have helped make my workouts better, and that I hope will make your workouts better.

1. ditch routine
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In my opinion, routine is probably one of the top three things that make working out or exercising complete drudgery. This certainly doesn't apply to everyone, because I know amazing people who LOVE having a set daily routine, and they kick butt doing that, but... I am not one of those. After about three days of doing the same thing I am BORED. BOOORRRED and tired and unmotivated. Therefore, I say change it up; you can find a lot of nice, balanced work-out routines online, or if you go to a gym ask one of the gym peoples about different routines. Don't do the same one over and over. Do some yoga, go for a run. I practice yoga almost daily and I've found that it's helped me to improve in so many other areas-- and it also breaks up the mundane repetitiveness (Plus, if you spend a lot of time in an office chair like I do, your back will reaaaally love you for it.)

2. get to know your body

What feels good? What doesn't? Stretching is great, but when something actually hurts, that's not okay. Don't push yourself for the glory of a pose or exercise. Listen to your body and take note of which muscles you're using in each work out. What feels sore later on? Which muscles are you over using or under using? To me, analyzing a workout/run/yoga flow makes it fun and meaningful because I start to identify development and improvements as well as areas I would like to work on more. Connect with your body and get to know yourself better-- work for the "good tired" feeling. One thing that I can't even describe how much I hate, is this idea that working out is supposed to make you "have the perfect figure" (...yes, I am about to rant here, bear with me....)

3. THERE IS NOT SUCH THING AS THE PERFECT FIGURE. 

We are all different. We each have different bodies. No two bodies are identical. So why on earth is there an "ideal body image" floating around out there in the mess that is current day society? INTO THE ABYSS WITH THIS RUBBISH. If your goal is to work out to be healthier, awesome. GO FOR IT. That's the goal you should have-- to heck with trying to look like someone else. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL exactly how you were designed. Working out should mean: toxins going out, blood flowing, muscles building, feeling good about the beauty that we already are.

When you start paying attention to how various exercises make you feel, and which foods fuel you the best, and what you should rest and what you should work more, it creates connection. You're paying more attention to you (and believe me, you deserve that) and suddenly it's not just mindless exercise routines, or "just food" anymore. It means something. It has purpose, and you feel on purpose.

4. de-stress


This is literally one of the numero uno reasons why I consistently work out and hit the treadmill day after day. I'm a writer, I sit at a desk (a lot), I rip my hair out over plot-lines and creative slumps...(which, uh, pretty much sums up today) and getting active is actually scientifically proven to help us deal with stress better. Idk, maybe it's that, or we're just too freakin tired afterwards to really think about anything else? (haha) Either way, it's a tried and true method for me, and I know my tired, emotional brain thanks me for it. Whenever I fall into a creative slump, my answer is almost always lacing up, cranking up a Switchfoot, Owl City, or 21 Pilots album and going for a nice loooong run. It almost always helps, and I always feel better afterwards. It's like your body's way of venting.



5. get the gear

I've been slowly making my way through a great book called The Runner's Brain over the past few months, and there was a part in chapter I-can't-remember-which about "acting the part". If you're a runner for example, like I am, dress it. It's actually a good brain-power-up to buy yourself gear that makes you feel like a boss runner. You'll want to run more, you'll feel good doing it, and your brain will have more visual validations to stack up. YOU WILL AFFIRM TO YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE A RUNNER. Or a yogi, or a body-builder. Or whatever. Fill in le blank. But DON'T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT BUYING YOURSELF SOME GEAR. My mom bought me a new pair of Nikes for Valentines day (she is amazing and superhero goals, btw), and I have pretty much just been wanting to live on the treadmill because of the sweetness that are these shoes.

For the heck of it, I'm going to list a few of my favorite active-gear essentials:



favorite top: forever 21, nike runners: famous footwear, Camelbak: amazon, sports top and dolphin shorts: forever 21, yoga mat: gaiam 

Those are all items that I personally own and profusely enjoy. So boom. There are my recommendations if you are just starting out, or if you've been working out for forever and you're just like "eh, I want some new stuffz."

6. eat up

I will unreservedly admit that working out transforms my appetite into that of a teenage boy. I am a refrigerator raider. Unashamed. Making a conscious effort to take better care of my body has also made me a lot more aware about what I'm eating, how much protein I am giving my body, what vitamins and supplements I should be taking, how much sugar I'm eating, how much fiber I'm getting...the list goes oooonn. One big HUUGE misconception I have seen way too often is this "work out and eat less" concept for "getting skinny". (...again, pretty passionate about this one, so get ready for a short rant...) THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST UNHEALTHY CONCEPTS EVER. And if you're working out regularly? Your body is going to want to eat more food than usual. You're burning more calories and your body is going to need-- not want --NEED more, healthy calories in its system. The golden rule, in my good opinion, is: eat healthy, and eat as freaking much as your body is telling you to. Don't mess around with food deprivation stuff. Investigate what you should be eating based on the amount of work you're doing and EAT.

(...I feel like I'm going to do another post in the near future about food and being a veghead and how to get lots of protein into your daily diet. I feel like that is probably going to happen.)

7. do community

Run with a partner. Do yoga with a friend. Or, if you like working out in cold, hard isolation like I do (confession), blab about working out with your friends that work out. You can learn sooo much from other kiddos who are staying active too. I've picked up a lot of good habits and hacks from other gym rats. Also follow work-out channels on YouTube. My personal favorite for yoga is Fightmaster Yoga (I do her guided yoga flows almost daily-- she is an AMAZING teacher. I can't recommend her highly enough.) Tweet/Insta progress, share ideas, goals, etc.

8. go mental
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This goes for any kind of work out really, but I've learned from running specifically that (I almost venture to say) 60% of the workout (at least) is mental. Goal-setting is one of the most important things you will ever do with a workout activity, in my opinion. And I don't care if you're competing in something or not-- I don't run competitively, (though I think about it off and on) and I LOVE setting goals for myself. Setting healthy long and short-term goals, working towards them and celebrating new levels of achievement.

A practical way to apply this would be:

Short-term goal e.g.: to do 30 push-up reps per workout when you are currently doing 20 per work-out.

Long-term goal e.g.: to be able to do 100 push-up reps in a weekly session when you are currently doing 30

Both types of goal-setting are super important, but short-term goals are most important. They're reachable-- they make you work hard, but they are very, very reachable over a short span of time. They supply you with the dopamine to keep going. Achieving a short-term goal makes you stoked to set another short-term goal-- and another. And eventually, boom, that adds up to the achievement of a long-term goal. WOO!

Write down your goals, tape motivational stuff to your walls, TALK YOURSELF UP BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME. Give your brain a work out as well as your body.

Another mental-ish component for me is using my workout as a mode to spend quality time with the Lord. This is like date-nights for us. I work out alone, I turn up a Hillsong album or one of my favorite teachings and I get into the zone. Food for the spirit; working out every aspect of who you are.

Those are often some of my favorite times to talk to God. I feel the one-on-oneness in a very strong sense, and it helps me shake the stresses of the day and refocus. Feel Papa's love.

SO THERE WE HAVE IT.

I hope this was (somewhat) coherent and not just a ramble. The number one thing I want to hammer home is: LOVE YOURSELF. Love that body-- it's hand crafted. Keep it healthy. Hug it, kiss it, enjoy it. You are sacred ground, so don't say bad things to the mirror.

(...there's a song for that)


How do you get active? What are some of your favorite methods? Aaaaand what are your favorite after workout foods? (I'm always looking for ideas to steal.) Music while you workout or nah?

& P.S. yes, the surfing picture was included because this is ULTIMATENESS. My favorite.







XX
KATE

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19 people commented on this post.

  1. KATE---- I LOVE THIS. i just started kickboxing AND I LOVE IT and i also (sometimes, when i don't die) love to run. but TOTALLY RIGHT ON on the no-perfect-body and eat-healthy-as-needed. plus: i loved the go mental section. i gotta do that. excuse me while i go exercise because THIS POST= INSPIRATION.

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    1. GAHHHHHFGHKBVHGJKK MUST INTERRUPT TO SAY THAT I WANT TO LEARN KICKBOXING SOOO FREAKING BAADDDD. oki bye xD

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    2. THANK YOU SO MUCH, SAMI! I am so glad that this inspired you. And I echo Abbie-- I reeeaaally want to learn kickboxing! I will have to pick your brain about this in future

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  2. "Achieving a short-term goal makes you stoked to set another short-term goal-- and another. And eventually, boom, that adds up to the achievement of a long-term goal. WOO!" < haha COULD NOT READ THIS without the voice of Joy in my head. XD

    Also do you like write articles for LiveStrong now or something?!?!? Because you should. ;)

    Gah yes there is a song for that my dear. XD yer such a pumpkin ❤️

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  3. I haven't gone for a run or done a formal workout in forever... I lifeguard at the pool and teach aquafit classes every day, so I get my heart rate up that way. :p I used to swim a couple laps every now and then as well, but my schedule got busier and now I don't have the time. I do often walk part of the way home instead of taking the bus! It's nice to get away from the chlorine smell - and my legs have that awesome good/tired feel after. :) Reading this made me want to go for a run, though...

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    1. Olivia, that is SO cool that you lifegaurd! I remember reading tidbits on your blog about that and thinking wow, that is such a cool experience to have under your belt! Way to go!

      Running is a joy for me, gotta admit. I think we all have our "thing" when it comes to getting active. It's just finding what makes you feel the best! :D

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  4. I loved this post!! It was seriously fabulous I don't know why you would even question that.

    AND THANK YOU FOR THOSE RANTS YES YES YES PREACHHHH!!

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    1. awwwwww thank you, Grace, for your encouraging words!!! They completely made me day :')

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  5. I want to stand on the top of the rood and shout all the points written in this post because IT IS TRUTH. "there is not such thing as a perfect figure" oh yes. the world needs to hear more of this. love the gear by the way ;)

    I'm trying to start exercising and running more regularly these days to improve my health and stuff and this list mhmm. AMEN BABY.

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    1. AAAAAHHHHH THANK YOUUU <3 golly, your comment blessed me big time. I am SO pumped that this could be an encourager to you!

      And I'll be cheering you on over here! Start with one thing that makes you feel GREAT and keep at it! :) Thank you so much for your sweet and inspiring words.

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  6. GALISDHJGLKSDJFLKSDJF. THIS WAS SO INSPIRING I WANT TO GO FOR A RUN RIGHT NOW AND I DON'T EVEN NECESSARILY LIKE RUNNING (???)
    going to use all these tips 24/7. also yes yes yes yes yes yeskljdflkdsjf to everything you said about body image and all that stuff. legit lecturing my friends about stuff like that all the time. it's actually ridiculous. I exercise (at least try) to be more healthy for myself and be a better steward of what God has given me! Not to look like some half starved, photoshopped "ideal". "There's a song for that..." hehe, riiiiight. ;)

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    1. THANK YOU, OLIVIA!!!

      oh my goodness I think there is just so much to be said about the body image issues in this world because society is so messed up and there is so much garbage out there making amazing girls (and guys) insecure about how they look. And meanwhile God is like "HEY, YOU OVER THERE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZE AND STOP LISTENING TO VOICES OTHER THAN MINE"

      thanks so much for your encouraging and sweet words, girlie! They seriously just make my heart so happy and blessed.

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  7. OK so for the last two weeks my workout routine seems to have gone down the drain, along with my whole attempting-to-eat-healthy thing - so basically my body is not getting any tender loving care. THANK YOU for these inspiring tips because now I just feel like buying myself all this workout gear and going for a jog. Looking the part really does help so much!! And maybe I should ditch any routine and just do what I feel like... but then will I do it??

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

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    1. I am so happy that this post could be an encourager, M! I like to say (and this is how I started out) is: start with one thing that makes your body and soul feel great and work from there! I'll be cheering you on, girl!

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  8. YES we totally wanted this post! (Or pretty much any post you write for that reason...) Thanks for the awesome tips!

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    1. p.s. I nominated you for a tag over at my blog:) I wasn't sure if you ever wanted to do one, but I'm sure your adoring fans, including myself, would love to hear your answers. So yeah. Keep being awesome.

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    2. AAAAHH you are too sweet, Elissa! Thank you-- for your kind words and for the tag! <3 I will certainly head over and participate!

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  9. NUMBER 6. SIX. 6. SIIIIXXXX.

    Seriously. When I first started trying to get fit, I did the whole crash diet thing and was working out like 6 days a week...which is fine...but I restricted my calories a ton to the point where I had to stop in the middle of my workout because I was shaking and weak, not because the workout was strenuous, but because I had like, zero energy and yeah...then I was like, "Hm. Maybe I should start eating more." And that's never happened ever since x) SO YES. EAT THE FOOD.

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comments are like dark chocolate and they make this kid way happy. I love hearing from you guys! (check back because I reply...and I love checking out your blogs, so don't leave me without a link to yours!) ♥