Fitness

Fitness and I weren’t always the best of friends.

I hated elementary school P.E., physical fitness tests, and even recess. I was the type of kid that preferred indoor activities and loved it when we had to spend recess indoors because of the rain. It was only during these times that we could play board games and Heads Up 7Up, after all.

I did stay active through different activities growing up, like dance class and karate, but I did those things just to appease my parents like most kids at that age.

When I was in middle school, I wanted to be more involved and was yearning to be “part of a team”. I missed volleyball tryouts, but I had the nerve to try out for basketball (which I never had experience with AND which I expressed distaste for until I decided to try out). Needless to say, I made a fool of myself and didn’t even make the first cut…so a marching band geek I became ;).

I did sign-up for cross country the next year though, with my reason being it would add to my college resume (which I learned later it would not since colleges only care about what you do in high school).  I hated every minute of it, especially the races. I would always end up second-to-last and being one of the “slow girls” on the team didn’t exactly help with my athletic self-esteem. Looking back, it’s no wonder a lot of people my age show a dislike for physical activity, since schools at that time didn’t try very hard to make fitness fun. It was more like a competition, and the adrenaline rush came from making sure you made the mile time so your grade doesn’t plummet, rather than an actual runner’s high.

In high school, my outlook on fitness began to change. I found Tennis and was on my school’s team all four years, three on the varsity squad. My focus on weight wasn’t a big issue then until about my senior year, so I did tennis for fun and college applications. My focus on body image did begin around this time, and so I did include jogs around the neighborhood just for the purpose of calorie-burning.

In college, I began going to the gym for the elliptical and raquetball, and continued to play tennis and jog on the weekends, but none of this was done for recreation. I always had the calorie counter ticking in my mind, and had set numbers to follow. I would play tennis for only 40 minutes or jog for only 20, not eat the calories that I burned, and severely restrict the calories that I did consume…only to control my weight and body image. This left me in a depressive and anxious state for the early part of my college years.

It was only in the summer of 2012 when I started to look as fitness as a way to challenge and enjoy oneself. I started to incorporate resistance training and continued to jog. I found resistance training surprisingly enjoyable, since I had begun this new activity with the fear that I would “bulk up”. Instead, my muscles began to get leaner, more toned, and stronger. I found peace with this new activity, and felt like “one of the guys” every time I completed a set…even if the weights I used were no more than 25 lbs.

My relationship with jogging running also took a positive turn. As you can see, I now consider myself a runner rather than a purely calorie-driven jogger. I look to running as a challenge, seeing if I can keep up my 4-6 mi daily regimen with a long-run sometimes thrown in. I ran my first 5k race in a Turkey Trot in November 2012, and have since documented race recaps on this blog. To date, I have run in 24 races, five of which have been half marathons, and I am currently training for my first marathon. It truly is amazing what can be achieved in two-and-something years!

So I guess my current relationship with fitness can be summed up as this: just go for it. Whether it be through pushing the limits of my comfort zone by shakin’ it out in Zumba, or wobbling from DOMS the day after a long run, I just want to go for it and take advantage of my youth and current fitness level.

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