Exercise is important, but one day at the gym doesn’t entitle you to eat whatever you want. A healthy lifestyle is not just killing yourself at the gym to lose those extra 15 pounds. It is a process to slowly develop a better lifestyle. You definitely don’t just wake up one day and decide to change everything. It is a slow process; motivation is hard to find, for everyone.
What I personally love about exercising is setting personal records. Competition is great, but when I go to the gym I need to focus on bettering my own standards. Everyone has different goals and sets different targets. When I exercise with my workout partner it helps me to reach new goals, but I spend too much time trying to surpass her. Her core strength is much more developed than mine, but my legs are stronger than hers. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. My motivation when I workout is to set a personal best.
Cardio is my biggest pain. I don’t understand how people can just casually go for a run. That is anything but enjoyable, but some people find it to be relaxing. I interviewed sophomore at Texas State University, Alex Waldie, and he finds running to be especially satisfying and a stress reliever when classes gets to be too nerve-wracking. “It helps me clear my mind so I can do more and continue to do better in school,” Waldie says. He feels as if he is healthier and physically feels better when he gets a workout in. Waldie completes a full body workout over 4 days, working on arms, legs, back, and abs. “I clear my mind whenever I’m working out.” Waldie feels confident whenever he is putting out work. “The people who look amazing at the gym look amazing because that’s their main focus. I don’t feel the pressure to look like them because that’s not mine. My main focus is school and life in general.”
Although Waldie does exercise he pairs it with a good diet and eating well. “I fill up on fruits and vegetables.” He tries to drink protein shakes to balance out for the lack of protein available on campus. “I try to stay away from processed foods and [am trying] to completely stop on sugars.” He feels healthier when he puts better food into his system.
I watched a documentary this weekend, Fed Up, and it was quite the eye-opener. It goes into the lives of 3 kids and takes it one step further to show that being physically active is not the only determining factor in weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The number one contributor to obesity in the United States is sugar. Did you know that it has the same addictive purposes as cocaine? One of the kids was 12 years old and 212 pounds. She was frustrated with her weight, because although she was incredibly active, she wasn’t getting any progress because of her daily intake of sugar.
Staying away from processed foods is the easiest way to a better lifestyle. I try my hardest to switch out high starch options for fruits or vegetables. Simple switches get your body moving; I don’t feel sluggish or lazy when I choose an apple over a bag of chips. You know that saying “you are what you eat?” Don’t be fast or cheap!