June 8, 2012

Loving Exercise is a Journey of Self-Discovery.

When you think of “getting fit,” “losing weight” or exercise what comes to your mind?

Do you think you have to join the rows of people sweating it out on treadmills in the gym? Do you think you have to wear tight, sweaty and unflattering gym clothes? Do you think you have to start pounding the pavement in an effort to get fit? Do you think of having to get yourself in an uncomfortable, breathless state?

I was the sort of person that avoided school physical exercise (PE) classes. I mastered every excuse possible to escape them. The embarrassment and shame of having to wear our school-regulation shorts made of forest green toweling material was certainly enough to put any chubby girl off exercise for life! They were so tight we called them “bum suckers.” They were truly awful.

I’m still not a “gym bunny”—far from it, but I figured out a way change my relationship with exercise and lose over 60 pounds.  Now I love doing things that feel great for my body and my health.

At our school, girls played either netball or hockey.

Unfortunately, I was never good at either of these sports. At a young age, I made some assumptions. One of them being that I wasn’t athletic! Running, going to the gym…yep, tried both of these but not really my thing! A bit later on I found walking. This is something that I really enjoyed. But, after a while, I felt like I wanted to add something more into my regular and personal exercise routine.

All this left me with the feeling and notion that I didn’t like exercise. Every weight loss book I read, supported the myth that you had to sweat it out to lose weight. I felt despondent. Even years later, the idea of having to exercise filled me with horrible flashbacks and memories of school!  For many years the word “exercise” was a dreaded word to me, something to be avoided at all costs.

Fast forward a few years and I accidentally stumbled upon something that was radically different from anything I had ever experienced before. Now here was a way of moving my body that I truly loved.


This was well before yoga was trendy or cool.

And importantly not only did I love it, but my body loved it too and started responding positively.

Even after only a few yoga sessions, I noticed that my body fat was miraculously reducing and my body was starting to tone up. Beyond the physical benefits I was feeling great within. My mind was feeling calmer. I felt more relaxed. I loved this feeling. I felt different, almost instantly. This was like a miracle! It wasn’t long before I fell head-over-heels in love with yoga and couldn’t wait to go back to the next class.

Often, my clients and student tell me that they don’t like to exercise. And they have their reasons. I remember this feeling too.

Remember that even within an exercise (for example, yoga) there will be many styles and teachers. I have certainly been to my fair share of yoga classes that I did not enjoy.

I really encourage people to be creative, to play with different types of sports and physical activities, to keep trying different forms of exercise until you find one that you absolutely love and can’t wait to do every day.

Do you know what type of exercise that you love?

If so…great! How often do you do it? Are you able to partake in that exercise more regularly? If something becomes a part of your life then it is easy to do a little every day.

If you haven’t yet found an exercise form that you enjoy, have a think about what you really love to do and bring this into your regular exercise program. Be honest with yourself.

There are no right or wrong answers!

Use the following questions as a guide and ask yourself “What do I really like to do?”

>>Do you like to exercise alone or with a group of other people?
>>Do you like to exercise with music or silence?
>>Do I like to move my body fast or slow?
>>Do I like to partake in sports that require hand/eye co-ordination?
>>Do I like to be involved in fast, hard and dynamic sports?
>>Do I like to be in or around water?
>>Do I like to be out in nature or do I prefer to be indoors?

Your answers to these initial questions will start to give you directions about your path.

Falling in love with yoga was my path. It helped me to find myself and transform myself from the inside out.

What is your path to moving your body, losing weight and feeling great?

Know that finding an exercise, a way of moving your body in a way that you love is the real journey. Let the search inspire you allowing you to grow beyond who you are and more fully express who you are in the process of becoming.

Be creative and use the answers generated from the exercise above to find a sport that matches what you enjoy. Then start experimenting with different activities until you find something that lights you up! I encourage you to really take the time to try new things.

You owe it to yourself to live an amazing, incredible life. The answers to these questions could literally transform your life and help you to find a movement that you love. When you do it will help you live a life that you love.

Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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