Practice Makes Perfect… or at least better than before

 

THIS JUST IN!!!

If you want to be good at something, do yourself a favor and don’t not do it for a month (unless you have a good excuse). Today I practiced yoga for the first time in about a month and it felt as foreign as it did when I first started.

It seems I’m still having trouble adapting to the humbleness yoga requires, especially if you are a beginner. When I first started yoga in January of this year I thought I would have an edge because of my dancing background. I was horrendously wrong. When it came to dancing I was what many people like to call a “natural”. I just got it. Because of this I safely assumed that anything requiring balance and flexibility would just come to me as though I had been doing all my life. I’m not sure if there are “natural” yogis, but I’ll just say that it was hard for me to admit I wasn’t one. I don’t like be bad at things. In fact, I’d rather not do something at all than try it and be bad. This makes me both an awesome and terrible competitor (depending on my mood, mostly).

But the thing about yoga, and the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that your body will do things when its good and ready to. What you are doing at that very moment, no matter how mangled of a pose you are holding, is exactly where you are supposed to be. All you can do is practice, push yourself and enjoy it when you fall out of half moon pose (which you probably will).

The sad truth I learned today was that since I’m not a natural yogi, if I don’t practice all the progress goes away. A month ago I was working on inversions and today my wrists were crying simply from downward dog.

So two things:

1. Don’t be lazy – you might end up having to redo some of the progress you made.

2. Be patient – progress does not happen over night

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Exercise- How To Maybe Not Hate It So Much

Working out can be a daunting task. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning the mere idea of getting off the couch to make myself food seems like an insurmountable task; and that’s before I factor in my achy joints that think I’m 40 years older than I really am. I really can’t blame anyone who doesn’t exercise; sometimes it’s really no fun at all. But when you are reaching for a goal sometimes you have to do things you don’t necessary want to do. But how on earth do you get started?

The first step is to actually get started.

It probably won’t be fun… you’ll probably want to punch the instructor of whatever exercise DVD you choose to do (I’m talking to you Jillian Michaels); you’ll probably want to shorten your runs because “you’re just not feeling it today”; you’ll probably want to reward yourself with an extra day off to celebrate the fact that you worked out a few days in a row.

The next step is to not stop working out.

I’ve found that scheduling a day off (I do Sunday’s) is enough of a rest. The only other time I’ll skip a workout is if I’m sick or injured. Don’t let me steer you wrong, it’s not the end of the world to skip a workout providing you can get back in your routine. But if you are just starting out you might benefit from sucking it up and doing your workouts even when you don’t want to. I had to do this for a couple months. The result was that it became such a habit that I began to dread my workouts less and less… it’s just that thing I do in the mornings now… it’s second nature. Now I’m at a point where I have no clue how I ever didn’t work out. I wish this feeling upon everyone on the planet… because it’s awesome. I can’t lie and say I never skipped workouts, but I do it less and less now. In fact I haven’t skipped a work out for over a month now (an accomplishment I am overly proud of).

The art of fine-tuning your workout– listen to your body.

Anyone that tells you that you NEED to work out for hours upon hours a day and burn x amount of calories in order to be fit is, quite frankly, a ding-bat. Part of making a healthy life-style work for you is listening to your body and knowing your limits. If I spent 4 hours a day exercising I’d probably get in shape a lot faster, but I’d probably also be miserable and tired and my DVR would overfloweth with late night melodramas. On the other side of the coin, if someone loves spending time at the gym and working out 4 hours a day, as long as they are properly fueling those workouts there is nothing wrong with that either. You have to find out what works for you and your schedule.

With this idea also comes knowing when you NEED to rest. Are you about to puke? Maybe take a breather there, buddy. Just feeling lazy and want to stop so you can watch Letterman? Get your ass back on that weight bench and quite whining. It’s also important to know the difference between muscle soreness and muscle pain. Soreness = good (as long as it’s not lasting FOREVER) pain = bad. It might take a while for you to figure out a routine and schedule that works for you and your body while still allowing for ample DVR time. But once you figure it out everything gets easier.

Push yourself daily

I’m the first to admit there are days where I pull back a little so that I don’t want to die, but can still say I did my workout. But the truth is that in order to improve, you have to push yourself. If you do the same run everyday at the same speed for the same amount of time, all you are going to do is become more efficient and doing that same run everyday at the same speed for the same amount of time. Try running faster. Try running up a hill. Try intervals (this is what I do.. it helps with the feeling that death is coming for me that I get when I run).

The same goes for lifting. Lifting the same amount of weight every workout will only do so much. But increase that weight every few workouts and your muscles will scream.. and screaming is good.. it’s means they are getting stronger.

And most of all…

Have fun! If you are doing something you hate… chances are you are less likely to do it. So find something you enjoy doing so that your workouts become less of a chore. But don’t limit yourself. I use to HATE running. But now… I only slightly dislike it… change can happen, my friends