In diversity there is beauty and strength (and friggen biceps and bums)

This week's blog post is another guest post by the wonderful Emily Wermund. Emily texted me about a week ago (I hope you sang that in your head like I did) with the idea of this blog topic and I was like ..."ummm...that's all you girl. Can't relate". Because in this blog post she says "Who wants to lift for 7 days straight?" and the answer is ME lol and I LOVE leg day in the most merciless way. HOWEVER - I can definitely relate to her when she says she used to be religious about getting her lifts in and entered panic mode if she missed a day. It wasn't until this summer I felt okay swapping out a lifting session for some hot yoga or a hike with my husband and the pups. I've found some versatility in my regime and there's freedom in that. Finding your "healthy" is so much more than crossing X,Y,Z off your list. So I think its a great post with a great message. And here we go --

Everybody knows how to run. Even if you aren’t a Runner, you know what running is and you’re able to do it. My first attempt at some form of exercising was just that: try to run. I was never an “athlete,” per se, growing up. Like at all. But several years ago in college – once I realized I needed to get my butt in gear –  I ran. At first it wasn’t much, but I still ran.

I still run. I don’t love it, really. Some things about it can actually be quite miserable. But I do it every now and then because I feel great afterwards, and it’s a nice change-up from my other exercise regiments. Running challenges me in ways other activity doesn’t, and for that, I appreciate it.

With that said, the point of this post is to advocate for incorporating versatility in your workout. Running can be a phenomenal way to stay in shape and build endurance, but overall physical fitness encompasses so much more than just cardiovascular health. I aim to include some form of strength workout, cardio, HIIT training, and yoga into my regular routine for a multitude of reasons.

Here’s the lowdown on why I believe in changing up my workouts:

I feel stronger.

When I first started running, I was able to significantly increase my cardiovascular endurance (well, anything’s an increase when you start from nothing, really), but that’s just it. Cardio was the only form of exercise I was doing. I wasn’t building muscle mass, improving my core strength, etc. Honestly, it was when I started to lift weights that I could actually feel myself getting stronger (thank you Rylee Mcsmiley Mcbenchpress queen). Holding a plank for more than a minute would have been out of the question back then, but building core strength is another integral part of overall fitness. Lifting weights helps tremendously, but it’s using that muscle in conjunction with my other workouts and vice versa that makes me feel most productive.

I never get bored.

Who wants to lift for 7 days straight? I can barely run two days in a row without getting bored. Changing it up every day of the week allows me to prioritize, look forward to the variety, and do lots of different activities within an entire week. I hate Leg Day just as much as the next guy, but it’s all part of the bigger “total body workout” plan.

It continually challenges me.

Between trying a new kickboxing class, or tackling some different supersets in the weight room, there always seems to be something that tests my limits. Just as in life, it’s my philosophy that workouts should always be challenging. If it’s easy, it’s not productive, and you aren’t improving. Faster, stronger, more flexible, what have you, I’m always working to be the best version of myself.

I’m always discovering new things I love to do.

Did I EVER, in a million years, think I’d be a regular on a stationary bike? 1000% nope. But because I said “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ll just go and try it, sit in the back, and leave if I don’t like it” to my first ever Spin class 2 years ago, I now have a semi-obsessive love with cycling. I discovered a love for Pilates, and I ENJOY going to the gym (says the girl who spent 25 years refusing to justify spending money on a gym membership). The point is: you never know until you try it.

The beauty of working on being healthy and fit is that you are able to regularly be doing full body workouts, constantly improving, and challenging yourself.  However, I can acknowledge that not everyone is as adventurous as I’m suggesting, and that’s ok. Do what makes you feel best! Sometimes outside or unforeseen circumstances can hinder our ability to mix it up. There was a period of time where I was religious about making sure I was lifting at least 5 days a week. If I missed a day, it would throw my entire week off and I’d enter Panic Mode thinking, “how am I going to make this up?” Missing a lift or swapping it out with another exercise like a run or a yoga class felt so wrong, like I was selling myself short. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to say, “Hey, sometimes it’s alright to go for a hike instead or do some interval sprints. You’ll be OKAY.” When your lifestyle revolves around making these things a priority, it can be a mental challenge to be ok with the “Non-Doing” of life. But it has made me more mindful of acknowledging how I feel each day and what I choose to do. The bottom line is I think in all things, there is beauty in variety. How I choose to workout is ultimately what works best for me and my body. That in itself is worthy of honor and acceptance. And now, I continue to grow, improve, and learn how to be the best version of myself.