How My View of Exercise Has Changed

Hi hi hi! (P.S. Who says “hi” three times in a row? I guess it’s just me getting really excited to talk to you guys.)

Today is my rest day and I’m totally diggin’ it. I used to hate rest days… I felt like a big blob and that little devil on my shoulder kept telling me that I was lazy all.day.long. Hence the reason I rarely ever took rest days back in the day. Well, I brushed the devil off and can happily say that those days are long gone.

I take two rest days per week now (some people would actually argue I take three since I consider walking a workout some days), and it’s totally working for me. My body doesn’t feel run down like it used to be, I enjoy my workouts rather than dread them, and I get more time with my little man and husband! Oh and even better? I feel more confident than ever!

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I do love fitness and exercise, and it’s something I will always be passionate about, but I will never be obsessed with it like I once was. It wasn’t good for me mentally or physically, and it was constantly wearing me down. I still make a point of being active, getting my heart rate up, strength training, and breaking a sweat, but I don’t stress about it … I just let it happen!

Some days, weeks, and months will involve more high intensity exercise while other times it’ll be more low key – it just depends what I’m feeling. Like lately? Lifting weights and circuit workouts are my jam, and I’m not really into the whole running thing. I know my passion for running will ignite again, and I’ll get back into it someday. I’m sure I’ll go through a phase that I’m addicted to group fitness classes when I get my gym membership back. Yoga hasn’t made an appearance around here in awhile, but I absolutely loved it pre-pregnancy and during my pregnancy. I’m sure I’ll eventually get back into a yoga kick again though.

What I’m trying to say is that whether my current fitness love is high intensity, low intensity, or somewhere in between, I’ll always be doing something that I enjoy and will always be doing something active. I’ve never considered myself an incredible runner or master yogi, because I love a mix of everything. My goal in exercise used to be how many calories I burned, but now it’s more about enjoyment and my personal health. And you know what? Life is SO much more fun that way!

Health...

Speaking of all this, I have a post planned for tomorrow regarding “Life After HA (hypothalamic amenorrhea)” that I’m excited to share with you guys. It’s been awhile since I’ve touched on the topic, so hopefully you will enjoy it.

Alrighty, well I’m off to go clean, organize that guest room, and hang out with my favorite little boy.

Hope you’re having a great Thursday!

How do you view exercise? Has it changed over the months or years? What’s your current fitness love? Do you go in phases with fitness?

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Comments

  1. angele says

    OMG!! SO EXCITED For your post about HA tomorrow!!! I’ve taken your advice, joined Fertile Thoughts forum and it has done the WORLD of good to me!!! Day 14 without running/working out, and that forum has helped me stay in the game. Cant wait to hear from you on here about it, loving all the success stories I can get a hold of, it’s a tough road to travel :)

    • says

      Sorry to interject here, but wow! That’s such amazing news because your life is becoming transformed! :D

      And Ashley, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this topic. Although there are days when I do feel blob-like if I do or don’t do x, y, and z, I try to brush it off and let myself just….be. I’m also like you in that I do stick to some of my favorite fitness things, but in general I just looooove everything and like to mix it up! After all, it can only be beneficial in the end, right? Too much cardio without muscle strength isn’t good, and vice versa. Have a blessed day <3

  2. says

    That’s great that you will share about it again. I’ve had my bout with HA when I was in high school, and it’s always good to read about others’ experiences and to see how others get back to living healthily :)

  3. says

    It sounds like you are in a fantastic place with your feelings on exercise. I am in a similar place although I have recently started running more and signed up for a few races. I don’t have a gym membership so having a goal to work towards helps to keep me motivated.

    About the HA topic; I stopped taking the BCP about 9 months ago to see if I would have regular cycles and they have been normal up until I started running which was a little over a month ago. I still got a cycle but it came late and it makes me wonder if it had something to do with my longer distances in my runs now.
    I’d really like to do more yoga but I’m like you- I’m not a master of anything. I just like to dabble with different things and have fun!

    I love your easy going approach though. Exercise should be a fun release; not something you stress about and let control your life.

    • Ashley says

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the longer distances had something to do with your cycles. Running is one of the biggest physical stressors you can place on your body! Not that it’s a bad thing by any means, you just have to be aware and watch yourself. ;)

  4. says

    Looking forward to your post tomorrow! I mix it up a lot these days and I do really miss working out if when I don’t; even on my rest day when I make myself fully rest! Sets me up for the day. LOVE spinning at the moment!

  5. says

    Love it! Just got my period back when Brooklyn turned 1. I think it was due to breastfeeding so much though, and i didnt mind not having it for another year :)

  6. says

    I love this post! It’s a transition I’m making as wel. Last year at this time I was obsessed with exercise and it really took a toll on my body, I felt lazy if I took one rest day. Now I try to get at least two rest days a week. And a bike ride or something else easy is considered exercise for me now, when before I thought if I didn’t push myself to the point of almost dying whole working out, it didn’t count.

  7. says

    Looking forward to reading your post tomorrow! I adore your current approach to exercise – you do what you enjoy when you do it, without running yourself into the ground. Exercise is meant to be supplement to supplement a healthy life, not become the absolute focus! Seriously awesome to see that you’ve come so far from the obsessed days – I know I was definitely in the same position but I’ve made a ton of progress, and now I 100% enjoy rest days a few days a week.

  8. Stacey M. says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! So glad to hear you’re in a much better place now. Isn’t it a little ironic to think that back when you were pushing yourself to be so much more healthy and fit you were actually becoming increasingly less healthy and just wearing yourself down? I have been in that boat before and I don’t think I’ve ever been as sad, lonely and depressed as I was when I *thought* I was my healthiest. Looking back on those 4 years of my life now, I see just how disordered my thoughts were. I’m SO much happier now that I’ve let go of the vices that used to control my world. I’m able to just enjoy my life, friends and family without worrying when and how I’ll be able to burn off the calories in the yogurt I just ate for lunch. It really is a silly, destructive way to live. Glad to hear you’ve turned a corner in your own healthy living journey! Between your blog and Courtney’s (@SweetToothSweetLife), I think I’ve found my favorite healthy living blogs. You both have overcome so much to live healthier, happier live and you have inspired so many other girls to do the same. Thank you for always being so honest and willing to share! I look forward to tomorrow’s post!

  9. says

    Great thoughts! So glad you’re happy with where you’re at. I think what I struggle with most is feeling like I’m where other people THINK I should be. Like with training and everything, it’s hard sometimes to not feel like I’m supposed to be keeping up with the Jones’ or pleasing everyone else. When in the end, it’s all about me and MY body and what I know I’m capable of!

  10. Abbey says

    Love this! Thank you! I am about one month into my HA recovery plan and its been quite a month! This post was exactly what I needed today. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post as well.

    • Angele says

      I’m with you girl, two weeks into my own recovery and its been rough! My poor hubby lol.. It’s a struggle but seeing people succeeding and having babies strengthens my faith :) we’ve got this!

      • Abbey says

        Thank you Ashley and Angele!

        I found this book to be very helpful (still helpful!) to me in terms of keeping perspective, listening to my body and finding peace: http://www.amazon.com/Fully-Fertile-Holistic-12-Week-Fertility/dp/184409507X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377281658&sr=8-1&keywords=fully+fertile

        Also this post http://www.paleoforwomen.com/overcoming-hypothalamic-amenorrhea/ helped me to understand why I was not ovulating or having a period. Based on my blood tests and the way my OB was treating me, it is classic HA, but she never would diagnose me. She just said, “some stressor is telling your body not to get pregnant.” It was hard not having her support, but I really believe I am on to something now. Even though I am a “normal” BMI, I have way less body fat than when I went through puberty. That to me was key. The leptin and estrogen levels that my body thinks is normal are not there.

        Thank goodness for this blog and other strong women out there willing to support each other and share their stories. If it weren’t for all of you, I would still be in the dark. Now I feel there is light at the end of the tunnel.
        Thank you, thank you!

  11. says

    Love this post and how your thoughts have changed- its very inspirational. I still go through phases. Right now I’m really enjoying working out and it’s solely for pleasure. But I have a feeling once the school year starts and my free time decreases, the pleasure will subside. I certainly hope not!

  12. says

    I’m really glad to hear all of this! I have to admit that there are times I think I am overdoing it and scale back the workouts. I know what you mean about doing it for enjoyment and not for calories burned. I do still love running but not everything is right for everyone! You have to find what makes you happy. I am really interested to read your post tomorrow!

  13. says

    Love love love this (hey look I said “love” three times. kinda the same thing?)! I can totally relate to your before and after attitudes toward working out. I also used to hate rest days. Now I embrace and enjoy them, and when I work out again, I feel more refreshed and energized! Same goes with shifting my focus from calorie burn to just enjoying the exercise and the ability to move in the first place. Your previous blog posts about dealing with HA has definitely helped me make this attitude change in these past few months. Thanks so much, Ashley!

  14. says

    I’m almost 35 weeks pregnant so my fitness routine has changed significantly this year. While I miss my workouts and running, I have realized during my pregnancy that I was probably a little too intense with my workout routine. I think it is great to push ourselves, but I think sometimes I was pushing myself too hard (i.e. not incorporating enough rest days). Pregnancy has taught me that I can love my body on the days I’m not working out and enjoy other forms of low intensity exercise, like walking.

    P.S. I just discovered your blog & I loved reading all about your beautiful baby boy and breastfeeding journey! Hunter is a doll!

  15. Amelia says

    We don’t mind when you post so often. :) It is fun to read about your updates.

    I hear ya on the fitness front. Honestly, I think it is great that our bodies go through cycles in regards to how we work out/ eat. I used to have the same boring (and predictable) routine each week. Now, I do what I want, when I want and it is really nice. The other morning when I would have opted for a high intensity class at the gym, I said ‘screw it’ and went outside and enjoyed the weather on a long walk. I even incorporated some running intervals into my walk, which is a shocker in itself because I loathe running. Outside > inside = clears the mind + vitamin D!

    Same goes for eating. I’m not training for any events, competitions, body building, etc., so why restrict or eat a certain way? What’s a little extra ‘cushion’ in my belly, booty, or girls really matter at the end of the day? Our bodies are incredibly SMART and will usually let you know what they need. If I die tomorrow, I want to know that I enjoyed that piece of chocolate cake, extra scoop of ice cream, or glass of wine with my husband. :) Thanks for keeping it real around here Ash!

  16. says

    Great post! I think exercise and the desire to be “healthy” can easily overtake your life without you even realizing it. I’ve been there myself and it definitely wasn’t a “healthy” state as I was overtrained and I kept having little injuries. I took a step back and learned that more is not always better.
    I too am interested in your HA post tomorrow. I had it but didn’t realize it because I was on birth control. It actually makes me wonder how many more women have it than actually realize it because they are on birth control. After I have my baby in November I plan to avoid going back on birth control so that it won’t mask HA again.

  17. says

    I have been the SAME way recently. I’m over the pressure of doing certain things and certain amounts of exercise. Much prefer the flexibility and doing the activities I truly enjoy here and now, which can be ever changing. Loved this post, girl!

    And PS – ordered some JamBerry nails from your link. Can’t wait to try them! They were my bday gift to myself. :)

  18. says

    Rest days are so crucial, but they are certainly hard to take. Prior to being pregnant, I used to feel guilty when I took a day off, as I would think of all the calories I’m NOT burning or that I’m being lazy. This pregnancy has made me listen to my body more and take it easy when I’m not feeling the greatest. I’m hoping it continues once the baby arrives. I look forward to reading your post tomorrow!

  19. says

    you’ve learned to appreciate your body and exercise for health and family, not to fit in jeans. That’s the way God intended it, yes? Well said friend!

  20. says

    I always wonder if I’d get HA again after Nia because it definitely wasn’t intentional before, but if I start running like I used to, I’m not sure what would happen. Luckily, food is my best friend so I shouldn’t have an issue! haha

    My fitness is kinda ‘take it as it goes.’ I work out 3-4x a week and that works for me. I wish more of that was running, but healing comes before getting it back into the mix!

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