Truth Is, I’m Still Kind of a Pansy

I know it seems early for a New Yearsy type post, but today’s workout really got me thinking about how differently I approach working out now in comparison to this time last year, even in comparison to this summer.  In 2011, I’ve really changed the way I view working out and I’ve toned up a lot, but Jillian Michaels still kicks my butt.

My typical workouts from July 2009-March 2011: Running when I felt like it.  More running during periods of time when I was eating more than usual (i.e. holidays and breaks in the school year).

My typical feelings about working out from July 2009-March 2011:  When I got married, I was really happy with my weight/size.  I figured out, between 2007 and 2009, the combination of workout/diet that I needed to get down to that weight/size and maintain it.  After the wedding, I enjoyed working out when I wanted, for however long I wanted, since I wasn’t worried about making my arms look good in the strapless dress or making my abs look good on the beach for our Jamaican honeymoon.  With this approach, I pretty much maintained my weight and could count on it being around the same amount every week when I weighed myself.  At that point, working out was about weight loss, gain, or maintenance.

My typical workouts from April 2011-July 2011:  Even before I was diagnosed on April 28, I was working out more (running daily during spring break and then running even more from the stress of all the appointments prior to my diagnosis).  After I was diagnosed, I committed to running 100 miles in May, I did the 30 Day Shred, and I made daily gym visits.

My typical feelings about working out from April 2011-July 2011:  One of the bits of advice I was given early in the diagnosis process that really stuck with me was “Every mile you run today is another mile you’ll walk in the future.”  I took that, perhaps, a little too much to heart.  I would do anything to avoid going a single day without running, including getting up crazy-early, running late in the evening after getting home from my mall job, and even running with injuries or while sick.  At this point, working out was do-or-die.  Working out had nothing to do with weight… it was about my future mobility.   I felt that I couldn’t skip a day and I felt a tremendous amount of guilt when I took even a day off.

My typical workouts from August 2011-Present:  I run 4-5 days a week and do some form of cardio 6 days a week.  Sometimes the non-running cardio includes other gym equipment, sometimes it includes workout DVDs, and sometimes it includes the surprisingly excellent Wii NFL Training Camp.

My typical feelings about working out from August 2011-Present:  I still get frustrated when something comes up that means I have to miss a scheduled workout, but I don’t go crazy about it.  I know that sometimes things will come up that keep me from working out, but I just have to be discerning about what I let get in the way.  I try to log 15-20 miles a week running, and sometimes I end up with more and sometimes less.  I’ve learned to find a middle ground between my old, laid-back attitude and my crazy focused attitude to find my current approach.

So, what’s my current approach?  I run because it’s good for me.  It makes me healthy, and  not just by keeping me at a healthy weight or at a “normal” BMI.  It makes me feel that I have at least a little control over where MS might take me.  But I also know that it’s healthy to take breaks, not to let running consume me.  It’s all about balance.

A little addendum to this post about balance:  I started Ripped in 30 again today and plan to use it 5-6 days a week for the next 30 days.  Around the holidays it’s hard to get in longer workouts, but it’s hard to make up excuses as to why I can’t handle 30-40 minutes of Jillian each day.

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