how i do “it” – exercise

June 28, 2011

Have you entered my Enjoy Life giveaway yet? It ends tomorrow!

Before reading this post, please remember that I am not a health professional. I am blogging about my own experience and what has worked specifically for me. For concerns about your own health and diet, please contact your physician or dietician for specific advice.

For the first installment of this series, see “How I Do ‘It’ — Healthy Eating

We all want to love exercise, right?

Right.

Do we all really love exercise? Probably not all of the time.

June 30, 2010 007
I am a firm believer in the “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality. Caitlin actually wrote a great post on it
here.

I would be lying to you if I told you I always enjoy exercising on a daily basis. I am here to tell you I don’t always enjoy it. Especially on those mornings during the school year when my alarm clock would start going off at 4:25 in the morning. Ew — just thinking about that now makes me shudder. I can’t wait for August to come.

For all you exercise haters out there, I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell my students and my niece and nephew — sometimes in life you have to do things you really don’t want to do. Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I love to exercise. I love the endorphins and the natural high I get after working out. Exercising is kind of like wine and beer — it’s an acquired taste that comes in time.

(source)

Do you have to be active to be healthy? In my opinion, yes. Health isn’t just about eating. Health isn’t just about exercising. Health isn’t just about your state of mind. It’s a combination of the three that make up a truly healthy person. For me, staying fit is not about how I look in the mirror. It’s not about how toned my body is. While those are some added benefits of exercising, it’s more about the health reasons. So, why do I stay active?

1. Exercise improves my mood. Whether I am angry or sad about something, I never leave a workout feeling bad about myself. I am always happier when I leave the gym or come home from a run.

2. It helps me manage my weight. I don’t think you need to exercise to be at a healthy weight, but I think it helps in the long run — which is odd that I’m saying this because I don’t know how much I weigh anyways. Exercising revs up your metabolism hardcore!

3. It boosts my energy levels. On days where I do not work out, I usually feel tired and lethargic the entire day. By getting in a workout early in the morning, I have already set the tone for the day by moving! I am more likely to continue my productive streak by continuing to move more frequently throughout the day.

4. My body is thanking me. Exercising is great for your muscles, flexibility, and keeping your heart healthy in the long run in life. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that I became a regular exerciser early on in life.

So how do I ‘do’ it? Dedication and hard work.

June 30, 2010 006

However, if you’re a new exerciser, treat this the same way you would with approaching a new dietary lifestyle. One step at a time.

Begin with baby steps if you’ve never worked out before. Start with walking. Just taking a 20 minute walk after work or dinner will boost your energy levels tremendously! Park further away from stores in the parking lot. Walk around town when you can. All of these things add up quickly!

I also refuse to compare my fitness level with that of others. Just because Susie down the street is training to run a marathon right now or Sally is training for a fitness competition doesn’t mean it’s right for me! I found what worked for me and recently shared it in the post where I talk about my current fitness routine.

No one changes overnight, as I have mentioned before. If you’ve never run before, going out and running 3 miles one day is probably not the best idea. Work up your endurance slowly, one day, one run at a time.

When I first started exercising, I found that writing it down in my appointment book was really helpful. I made it so it was an “appointment” — something I absolutely couldn’t miss. If I had my run scheduled into my calendar, it took a lot for me to skip it. There’s something about crossing a task off a “to do” list that makes me happy.

With time, I came to love exercising, I love the feeling of sweating and knowing my body is being challenged every time I go to the gym.

June 17, 2010 006

And to be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never once regretted a work out.

Question: How do you balance staying active with the rest of your life? If you don’t regularly exercise, what is holding you back?

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer (The Gourmetour) June 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I balance it all by constantly switching up my workouts. If my body’s feeling tired and in need of rest from running, well then I go for a walk instead. If I feel like running but realize that I’m bored while en route, well I take an unexpected turn and start a new trail. If I feel like doing weights well then heck, I’m doing weights.

It’s all about exploring the different exercise options, you don’t have to kill yourself to get a good work out in!

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Cait's Plate June 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

For me it’s just a matter of doing it. I’m out the door by 7:30am and home by 7pm most nights so I’m either getting up early and doing it or doing it when I get home. I agree with you that it takes dedication and hard work. I could easily blow it off and just skip it, but the benefits outweigh the laziness (no matter how good the couch would feel after a day of work!). Nice post :)

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Thanks Cait – I always like to do it in the morning because if I don’t, I will never do it when I get home!

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Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles June 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I *LOVE* that you compared exercise to wine, it takes time and is an acquired taste! Couldn’t be more true…. smarty pants!
It has taken a long time to make it completely regular but I need to not compare myself to others and just be darn proud of what I’ve done! Go me!
Quote of the day: I’ve never once regretted a workout. (I’ve never thought of that, but it is true) 2 outlandishly smart things in one day…. you’re on a roll!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Woohoo! I’m being a smart cookie today! :)

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Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) June 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Exercise for me is TOTALLY a thing that I LOVE to do, so no motivation really required! Except for those REALLY early morning workouts like you said which do require a lot of willpower and imagination to get me up! :P And I LOVE how it boosts my energy levels too and I have an endorphin high for the rest of the day! :D

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

As seen by all of your smiley pictures! :)

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I do the “appointment” trick too — it is SO helpful, since I almost never miss something in my datebook. ALMOST ;)

When I decide to wake up early for a workout, I try to make a reward system. Usually with food! Haha. But often, if it’s summer or a weekend, I’ll promise myself a giant smoothie and long nap after my morning workout. Works every time!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

oo naps get me every time! Especially on the weekends – if I get up early, I always think to myself “well, I can definitely sleep later!”

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eat healthy. be happy. live well. June 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I listen to my body to see what it needs/wants. Lately, I haven’t been doing as much and I’m okay with it. My body desperately needs the break, so I’m taking it.
I also get up early, usually 5am, to get my workout in before my honey even gets up! There is no way I can get it done in the afternoon or evening with getting home at 6pm or later and having to make dinner.
I’m pretty much the same as you as far as why I do it. I feel better and have way more energy so it is totally worth it! Plus, I just love exercising :)

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Amen for listening to your body and taking a break – I think that when we exercise regularly and pretty hardcore(ly? haha) – we need the break.

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Terrie Ray Logan June 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I do strength training only 15 minutes per day / 6 times per week. I work only one muscle group everyday. I do it when I wake up and I’m still in pajamas. Then, I toss my pj’s in the hamper, jump in the shower and get ready for work. Done for the day! Saves time with changing clothes/washing hair etc. I do occasional cardio when I have extra time.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

GREAT tip for people who say they “don’t have time” – thanks Terrie Ray!

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candice June 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

im a new reader to your blog and LOVE It! Im totally with you on the “fake it till you make it” I don’t always feel like working out but once I get it done I feel better about myself!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Candice! Glad you’re hanging out! ;)

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In Sweetness and In Health June 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I love this! Why can’t I be as good a blogger as you are? :) . I love to exercise, but I’ve definitely had to learn to like it for the good reasons and not just to be “skinny”. I love how it makes me feel, and I love feeling strong and accomplished- that’s what motivates me!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Oh please girl! You’re amazing!!!

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In Sweetness and In Health June 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thanks :)

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Jess@atasteofconfidence June 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I have days where I want to, and days where I don’t– but most days I want to, so it works out pretty well. Makes me feel good!

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Jess@HealthyExposures June 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

It’s just recently that I’ve come to realize that I truly do love and enjoy exercising. This time last year, or even earlier this year – it was a “I don’t enjoy this, but I know it’s good for my health.” sort of thing. i’d do the bare minimum, and that was good for me. Lately, however, I’m actually surprising myself at how much I love doing Bodyrock and runs.
How do I balance it? Well, I pretty much go to bed thinking about it. It’s always “I can’t wait for my long run tomorrow!” or “bodyrock in the AM!” which, some people probably read and think I’m a mental case…but the night before a long run, especially, I’m honestly so eager for the next morning. Gosh, I’m turning into one of those people that I used to think were crazy…

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I ALWAYS talk up my hard workouts for like days in advance. I use the power of visualization a lot too – it helps with those long runs!

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Kristen @ The Red Velvet Life June 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I’m so much happier when I exercise regularly (especially lifting weights), so for me — it’s non-negotiable. I’ve always been an athlete, and I have to work out to be my best. Period. :)

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cottercrunch June 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

amen to all that! fake it till you make is a great tip because it really works!! And then your body starts to appreciate a good sweat. ;)

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Dorry June 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Exercise is a priority to me because I LOVE IT! It’s just a part of my life these days and although I take rest days here and there, I’m always ready to jump back in. With that said, it’s definitely time consuming. I’m fortunate to work for lululemon because they pay for us to go to countless yoga studios/gyms/etc. in Dallas so my workout schedule can be pretty flexible which is very convenient!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

That’s amazing – I need to get that side gig! :)

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Jess June 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Love this post!! Your attitude towards exercise is SO healthy and balanced. I love exercise for the feeling afterwords/during. It’s the before that can be tough ;)

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I am a living and holy sacrifice June 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Thanks for this post. : ) I think it’s very important for everyone to remember not to compare themselves to others around you when working out. Some are just naturally stronger, faster, better and it only hurts to tell ourselves we suck. Well, I enjoy running 5Ks. It’s going to take a while for me to run in a half marathon and even longer for me to run in a full marathon but for now, I run 5Ks with my boyfriend, my brother, and my friends. It’s so much more fun to run with others. I would get totally psyched out if I ran it by myself! I enjoy just being outside in general. This past weekend my boyfriend came into town to visit me and we spent about half of the weekend outdoors. Just being outside makes me sweat! It has GOT to be a workout! Haha.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I agree! Today I was at a water park with my niece and nephew and I feel like I got a workout from just doing that!!!

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glutenfreelindsey June 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I use the appointment trick as well! On Sundays, I’ll get out my planner and schedule in my workouts for the week. That way, everything else has to fit in around the workouts. I’m not sure where I heard it, but I love the quote “You’re only one workout away from a good mood”!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

love that quote!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Exercise is just a must-do.

Without it I am a cranky mess! it does my body, mind, and headspace all tons of good…just like brushing my teeth, going for a run or yoga is absolutely necessary :)

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Christina @ This Woman Cooks! June 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm

“Exercising is kind of like wine and beer — it’s an acquired taste that comes in time.” Absolutely, 100% agreed! I’ve been “exercising” on and off for years. When I started I was a junior in high school and I hated it! I worked out at home with DVD’s in my room. But I wasn’t consistent with it and now I see those workouts I had just weren’t for me. I didn’t feel challenged. It wasn’t until I got married and moved into an apartment with a free gym in my clubhouse. Now I try, really really hard, to exercise 3-4 times a week, whether it be on at the gym or with my much larger DVD collection.

I’ve never regretted a workout either, even on the days when I’m not feeling so great and have to stop early. At least I went, or busted out some crunches on my floor. :)

Great post Chelsey!

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Amanda @ Running with Spoons June 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I used to absolutely hate exercise because I was using it only as a way to burn calories and I wasn’t fueling myself properly which got me into even more trouble. But ever since I got healthier and started treating my body properly, I have a tonne of extra energy that I just have to expel somehow, and I’ve come to love being active for how it makes me feel. Happier. More energetic. More accomplished. Even on the days that I feel “meh” about getting my workout in, I still do it unless my body is telling me not to, and I always love it once I actually get my butt up and moving. Exercise is good stuff.

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tiedyefiles June 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Could not agree more about the early-morning workout! I need something to wake me up before I start my school day, so my alarm goes off at 4:40 almost every morning. Luckily, so does my roommate’s! I’ve found a fitness routine that I truly love, and I’ve stopped beating myself up if I miss a workout. I also find it helpful if you don’t tell yourself you HAVE to do something. When I say “I have to run today” I find myself dreading it all day long. (Another reason why early mornings are key-no time to dread!)

I think the advice to start small is so fantastic. To start running, I’d go out and do ten minutes. The next time, it was 15. I didn’t worry about distance until I could run a good amount of time without stopping. Now I’ve done a half marathon!

And I have regretted one workout. A run in 90 degree heat after eating a yogurt. Blech

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Oh gross – I would have regretted that one too.

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sunshinevegan June 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I love to exercise!! It helps me clear my mind and does amazing things for my energy levels. I feel so accomplished and strong when i finish a run or workout! I’m really glad I acquired a love for exercise at a young age too, so I’ll carry this healthy habit with me all my life.

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Cait @ Urban Fencepost June 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I made exercise a part of my day, just as work is. I have to work to pay the bills and I have to exercise to stay healthy. No excuses.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes June 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I used to think working out was all about calories and such, now I believe its just about moving your body and enjoying yourself! I love the feeling of challanging my body with something evveryday :)

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! June 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm

When I was younger I honestly used to hate exercise! My mom and I would take bike rides and I would start to wine as soon as we got only 5 minutes away from home……over time though all that has changed! I’m like you….my love for exercise has truly grown and now I can’t imagine my life without it…..I honestly feel so amazing when I get in a workout during the day, even if at the time I didn’t really enjoy it lol :)

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lpodolsky410 June 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Wow, I feel the same way! When my alarm goes off at 4am every day, my initial thought is ALwAYS, Crap! But then as soon as I get moving, I am fine and I honestly could not imagine starting my day without it. You are so right, I NEVER regretted a workout.

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olivewineandfood June 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

i used to work out 6 days/week in college, then 5 then maybe once or twice a week in grad school. now that i’m done with school and just starting a new job, im still getting used to my routine so i try to run every other day and take walks on the other days but i need some spice in my work out life. i know that mornings would work out best but i really really love my sleep. i just need to make a routine!

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Amy @ Second City Randomness June 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Won’t lie, I become a little hateful when I go a span of time without. I think it’s a good energy release for me… and it’s less destructive than baking/drinking (my other two loves).
I like that you bring up people have to ease into it. It’s great that someone gets excited to do it… but they hit that wall and burnout quickly if they’re not careful (been there, done that).

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Um, I do too – I seriously turn into a cranky little girl!!

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Chelsey Kight June 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I balance it by planning my day the night before. I am kind of OCD about my planner, so I always pencil a workout in. Just like you, I know I’ll feel great, no matter how tired I am..But it’s about priorities. If working out is truely something someone wants to do, they’ll make time… easy as that!

p.s. You are the first girl I’ve met that spells Chelsey with a Y (besides myself) YAY!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

It’s like staring at my twinnie! I haven’t either!

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Jessica Leigh June 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Chelsey!! Thanks so much for answering question (that I posted a few days ago on your post about how to work out while teaching!) I’ve always wondered if I was crazy to workout before teaching a full day, and low and behold, I’m not alone!! I am definitely a morning person and endorphins are wonderful and help with certain students, hah! :)

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Christine (Merf) June 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I don’t exercise as often as I wish I did. It’s all about scheduling for me. I have very few small windows of time that I can work out. What I need to do at this point is make sure I do SOMETHING even if I can’t get into the gym.

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Katie June 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I always find this question hard to answer, because without exercise, my life wouldn’t BE balanced. So how do I balance my life with exercise? I don’t know….I just do. Because I have to.

I didn’t know beer and wine were acquired tastes. Maybe its just been so long since I first acquired them, I can’t remember it. ;)

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Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee June 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I’m glad you mentioned that you don’t compare your workout routine with others’. That’s a bad way to go, cause someone could overwork their body and that would stink.

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Michelle {The Lively Kitchen} June 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

After coming off a few years where there really wasn’t much time for regular exercising (thanks to a busy work/travel schedule, having babies, etc), being able to get into an exercise routine feels like a luxury. I truly appreciate having the time and resources to work out and therefore I don’t miss too many workouts. I am a happier person when I’ve had a good sweat session.

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Carissa June 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’m blessed because my husband is my trainer. That pushes me to get to the gym. But I also workout because it’s a healthy habit, like teeth brushing or grocery shopping for clean foods. It wasn’t always that way, but having a support system in my husband makes it easier. And knowing that it’s true…you never regret a workout.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 29, 2011 at 6:32 am

You are lucky!!! I would love to have a personal trainer on hand!

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Jackie @ That Deep Breath June 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I totally agree about turning it into an “appointment”. It makes it easier for me when it’s a class because I know that if I don’t go, I’ll have to wait a couple more days to go to that class again. I love crossing things off my to-do list so it really makes a big difference for me!

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Mac June 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I think I could like this series! When I’m in ruts I like to drag friends along to keep me accountable :)

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ashleyatcookingforjohn June 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm

great post with some awesome tips! i really have a hard time faking it ’til i make it though, i usually only work out when i am 100% ready for it.

this afternoon i came home from babysitting and was sitting on the couch for way too long, getting grumpier and grumpier.
i was grumpy because we had no food and i didn’t want to go grocery shopping. because our financial situation isn’t great. because x,y, and z. all of the sudden, i just HAD to go for a run. i wasn’t even going to exercise today, but my body was telling me just what i needed.

and i bet you know how i felt after that run… awesome!

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Stefanie @TheNewHealthy June 29, 2011 at 12:04 am

I’ve never regretted a workout either! And I don’t think I ever will! :)

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over June 29, 2011 at 3:45 am

I fit as much exercise into my life as I can. I know it’s too possible for everyone but walking to work is an easy way for me to incorporate activity into my day. Doing this means I can spend less time doing cardo during my workouts.

I try to do a BIG workout on Saturdays when I have the time – during the week I keep them short and sweet.

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes June 29, 2011 at 4:59 am

I love to exercise, without a doubt. I fell so rejuvenated afterwards and have so much energy. :)

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 29, 2011 at 6:58 am

I love to exercise too, but I do NOT love it enough to get up at 4:25 am to do it. :P You are such a rockstar for doing that throughout the school year!

Luckily since I’m a student I have lots of chances to work out during the day – last year my classes all ended around 2ish, so I would always work out then. I just made it part of my routine and it became habit.

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Baking Serendipity June 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

I didn’t love exercise until I stopped forcing myself to wake up early for it! I realized my best work-outs come in the afternoon…I think because I’m awake, hydrated and in need of a lil time to move around by then. Plus, I love the excuse for a pre-workout snack!

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Lisa @ Healthy Diaries June 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

Great post! i agree with every point you mentioned and I love how you said “Exercising is kind of like wine and beer — it’s an acquired taste that comes in time.” SO TRUE!! :)

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Marissa June 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

I love working out so, so much. There is absolutely nothing better in the whole world than sweating your eyeballs out. I’m so grateful for every second I exercise and I don’t take any of it for granted anymore. I used to only like it for the after effects, but I’m at the point now where I actually love DOING it! I’m so happy that its summer right now and I can workout whenever I want for however long I want.

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beckafly June 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

Excellent post and thoughts! I love to exercise or do anything active, so its rare I don’t feel like doing something. Even if I’m just cleaning, I make it a workout ;) I’m an early bird too, but those 4:25 workouts are rough. Still, I love the feeling I get after exercising. You can be in the worst mood and a good walk puts you in better spirits :)

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char on a mission June 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I really have been slacking lately (ie: the balance isn’t there) so what I need to do is write down what days I want to workout, because I’m like you, having it written down means I need to do it! It would be unbearable to not do it..ok, I exaggerate. But honestly, it’s just a matter of making time/room for it and doing it…now I need to go do that!

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katshealthcorner June 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I have been working on working out every day. It makes me feel INCREDIBLE! I like it better when I work out in the morning because it makes me feel so good ALL day, instead of just before bed (if you get what I mean). If I have no choice but work out in the evening, then I won’t worry about it, but I just like how I feel all day when I do it in the morning.

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tasha June 30, 2011 at 10:57 am

It took me a loooooooooong time to make exercise a non-negotiable part of my day, and then even longer to make it a HAPPY habit.I enjoy it so much now that I get a little cranky when I [have to] miss a workout. And if for whatever reason I find myself cranky after a workout, you better believe I’ll try to grab another one to counteract that, ha! Most days, i consider my workout my me-time (although I confess some days I’d rather that time be spent reading a good book!) My workouts are done and over by 6:30a most days: my two youngest kiddos are up at 7a and after that I enter “mom mode” and all bets are off on getting (more) workouts.

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Megan@eatmybeets June 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I used to think that exercising was what people made themselves do because they wanted to look thin. I decided that I would rather watch what I ate than go to the gym. But then I started dating my boyfriend and his enthusiasm for exercise sort of rubbed off and once I started actually going to the gym I realized that I LOVED it! I currently try to do 2-3 strength training days, 2 moderate cardio days, and 1-2 intense cardio days.

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