Friday, April 4, 2014

How This Mama Started (Fitness Friday)

I want to start a series, Lord willing, on my journey to fitness. Not exactly sure what it will look like, but I will randomly share snippets from this really exciting journey I am on. My hope is that my story can inspire the every day mama. The mama who comes from a long line of health issues, has lots of children, has even been very sick. I love seeing strong YOUNG women who workout and are a size 0, but that is just not my reality. I am not saying these women haven’t had their own struggles, I just hope to bring a dose of reality and my spin on getting fit.

First, some background. I am a 47 year old mama to nine children here on earth and have 6 babies in heaven. That means I have been pregnant and breastfeeding A LOT. I have led a pretty sedentary life. Even though I am a busy mama, still, by most definitions I have been sedentary. Over the years I have had spurts of exercising, but never consistently.

I have had lots of problems with my back, SI joint and feet. These issues as well as, well, being a mama to NINE have certainly not helped in getting fit. I won’t go into all of it, but there is so much more that has really inhibited the half-hearted fitness goals I may or may not have had over the years.  I am not using these as an excuse, just letting you know the factors. I know women who have more on their plates than I do and still make time for fitness. It’s simply where I personally have been.

Something has recently ‘clicked’ in regards to exercise and a desire to be fit. Several months ago I began to exercise in earnest. It literally has become a lifestyle and I am so thankful for the grace to do it. Learning all I have about health and fitness, I just felt so compelled to get at it while I could. I read somewhere that we lose 1% of muscle from the age of 25 if we do nothing to keep it. That was frightening to me. I know the benefits of muscle mass and if I was losing 1% of muscle mass for the last 20 plus years, I knew this was not good. My goal quickly became to build muscle mass.

I am so pleased with how far I have come in five short months! I began doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) and short Tabata routines.  All free videos on YouTube. My favorites are from Fitsugar Fitness (be careful of the bikini workout, don’t say I didn’t warn you!)  and Fitness Blender. You can search for them. I always did a 10 minute workout or two. Anyone can do 10 minutes, I would tell myself. Often, after the 10 minutes I wanted to do more. If not, 10 minutes was more than sitting in a chair. In a few short weeks I began to really notice a difference and sense of well being. When I reached to pick something up, there was such strength. Squatting, bending, lifting all felt strong and natural to me. Aches in my back began to go away.

I believe that exercise should be very functional, meaning doing exercises that you would do in your every day life. Like squats, balance work and lots of core strength workouts. Full body workouts.

When I started, I could not do ONE military type push up. Not one! I could do about 20 on my knees, but I have always wanted to do ‘real’ push ups. Within a few months I was able to transition from ‘girl push ups’ to more than 20 military push ups at one time. This was so exciting to me, to actually SEE the improvement! I could out plank each of the nine other people in my house.  Also, I can do more proper form squats than anyone here, over 100 straight. I am talking about perfect form, measured squats!

I have a very, very long way to go. Reality hit recently when I realized that while I have gotten so strong, I am still likely at a beginner level. That goes to show you how far to the negative I was. I am perfectly okay with this, I have learned to LOVE the challenge and the ensuing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) of which I have some hilarious stories about. Apparently, when you first start a new routine you might not want to do the whole thing.  I can’t blame myself, it was only 10 minutes, how hard can it be, I would think. Um, let’s say a couple of times I literally could not walk the next day. I am talking, crying with each step, crying when I had to squat to go to the bathroom, crying each time I got up, crying just sitting there. Yes, perhaps a bit much for this mama.

My next goal is to begin a serious heavy weight lifting/training program. I hope to be able to do it all at home, I want my testimony to be that ANY mama can get fit and you don’t need a gym! Who has time or money for that, right?

I also started running! More on that next time.  Yes, this out of shape, never run a day in her life (except when being chased by a dog at age 5) is now a runner!! Woo Hoo! this one really excites me. I can’t wait to tell you about this one!!

Do you workout consistently? What do you love to do? Have you accessed your level of fitness?


Alicia said...

Thank you Michelle for sharing your journey! You are an inspiration for sure..Love ya girl!!!

Michelle said..., while I was following you on the no scales challenge, I kept thinking, "I think this "She looketh well" Michelle. I remember reading years back about some of your health issues. And if I'm not mistaken you wrote a piece about marriage and your husband that I LOVED. But I hardly EVER sign into blogger so I never checked to found out if it was you. Then I saw your post on facebook today! It is you. I followed your blog when I followed blogs. Now I have four kids 6 and under and I don't blog anymore. I wish I did but I just never make the time for it.

Anyhow...I love this post. I work out at home ONLY! I've done two rounds of Insanity and am now running 2-3 miles 3 days a week. I love HIIT/tabata type exercises. On Monday this week, I did a burpee challenge. You should try it! Look up a burpee with a push up on youtube if you're not familiar. I'm sure you've done them. Anyways, I did a ladder and started with a set of 11, rest 30 sec., set of 10, rest 30 sec...and on down to one. AND then work your way back up the ladder. I was SO sore I've only managed to run this week. It was a total upper body workout.

It's nice to visit again! :)