My motivation changes from day to day. Some days I am motivated by the sheer force of my cellulite, while others I am called to action by a really informational article on the brain, gluten or killer leg muscles. And still other days I am motivated by nothing at all and that’s when I find myself getting motivated to make cookies.
But lately, maybe by the sheer grace of God, I have had a slew of motivation so powerful it’s led me to believe I should become an American Ninja Warrior. Here are some of the ways in which I have felt the pull to kick up my health and fitness regimen to ANW proportions.
(Quick Disclaimer: I don’t actually have any aspirations to become an American Ninja Warrior, but I do like their pep and determination and would like to follow suit with that sort of tenacity.)
TED Talks: There are so many fabulous TED Talks I hardly feel I have the time to devour them all, but my friend recently sent me a compilation of six TED Talks about getting in shape, and all of them offered up some way to inspire me. Whether it be running more, giving up dieting, viewing exercise in a different light or even happily acknowledging that chocolate and wine (in moderation of course ) can help me grow more brain cells I was positively pulled forward toward the ANW life.
I pulled this little gem from the talk entitled, “Your Genes are Not Your Fate:” “Walking for three hours per week for only three months caused so many new neurons to grow that it actually increased the size of people’s brains.” So no more knocking walking.
Andie Mitchell: I stumbled upon this stunner on Pinterest and began to read her blog. I found a couple of interesting things. For starters she too has done a TED Talk, which I watched and greatly enjoyed. She also has recipes and in no way seems to promote dieting but instead waxes quiet poetic on her food love. It doesn’t seem she’s into any sort of deprivation yet she is seemingly quite healthy. I like that. The girl has moxie. So check her out.
Workout Buddies: I have been very fortunate over the years to find people who mirror the kind of health habits I want for myself. This has been in abundance as of late. All summer long I had my friend, Dana who was always the first to accompany me on an exercise excursion or suggest one herself. Then there’s my sister, Kirstie who holds me accountable to a workout routine when I would sooner go out for a beer. And then during the ever-tumultuous holiday months I have been buddying up with my friend Ryan who definitely is in the ANW realm as he can do multiple pull-ups without assistance or stopping. I didn’t actually know real people could do those. I thought it was just ANW’s and trainers. Suffice it to say he pumps me up with his insane prowess.
Kind Strangers: The other day while running on the treadmill at the gym, I was consistently berating myself. I was annoyed that I couldn’t run very fast. I was disappointed that I couldn’t run very far. And I kept comparing the Cassandra of today to the Cassandra who could run a marathon and do sprints at level 14 on the treadmill. All the while, feeling low about my abilities I pushed myself hard. I ran as fast as I could go (which was at a level 12) and I sprinted as long as I could which was no more than 30 second intervals. I did this for 40 minutes. Sprint. Walk. Sprint. Walk. Until I was drenched in sweat and I had accomplished 3.2 miles. As I was walking to the drinking fountain with music still blasting in my ears I saw a woman on a treadmill to my right talking to me, so I pulled out my headphones. “You were kicking ass over there,” she said. I hardly believed my ears. And so I said, “really? I thought I wasn’t doing that great…” She shook her head no. “I was thinking to myself, I wish I could do what she was doing,” she said and smiled. I thanked her profusely and finished my workout with an entirely new perspective.
Cardio Chris: He was one of my personal trainers from the Ranch. He is a runner, like myself and during training while on The Biggest Loser he picked up on my running capabilities and cultivated them. I hardly knew he was doing it, as he was so efficient in his training, but soon I was doing less and less running/ walking combinations and could run further and faster until before I knew it I could run nine miles, eleven, thirteen, without a thought. So when I tried doing a three mile trail run the other day in the bitter cold, causing myself to have a near asthma attack and hack up a lung for the next several hours, I reconsidered my tactics. I had only made it two miles in which I also had to walk some. I hated to admit it to myself that I needed to start at the bottom again, re-work up to longer runs and quit expecting myself to do what I used to do, when I used to practice the craft of running everyday and now I practice it about one a month. I asked Chris for some help and he recommended one of my old (and favorite) assignments called a rundown. Run for 10 minutes, walk two, run for eight minutes, walk two, run six, walk two, and so on down. It ends up being thirty minutes of running and ten minutes of walking. Chris encouraged me to start with some rundowns again and in no time at all I could rebuild my running stamina. I felt bolstered. I did the rundown without any self-badgering and felt accomplished, especially when I noted that the rundown got me to three miles.
As it turns out, if you start looking for inspiration and motivation, you will find it. And don’t be surprised if you find it in exactly the places you would think it would be: in the gym, health magazines and blogs, and friends who care about what you care about. Happy Healthing!