Recently I met someone who had just started running. I swiftly suggested the "Couch to 5k", which she had already said that she was doing. My next suggestion was to get a good running playlist. Lots of people overlook this step, but for me it's crucial. Before I share it with you, I need to provide a little bit of backstory. A few weeks ago while I was on vacation and jonesing for a run, I realized I had forgotten my ipod charger. Yes, I know I could have just used my phone, but I like what I like, and I like my little old 2007 ipod nano. I took to facebook to poll my friends as to where the best place for a cheap charger would be, and I got lots of comments from people who run without music. Um, I'm sorry what? Yes, I said WITHOUT music. They suggested that running without music will allow me to be alone with nature, feel more peace, and help me to be more grateful. I totally get it. I do. And looking at those making the suggestion, I am not surprised at all. They were all really wonderful, lovely human beings. Of course they would feel that way! But while peace and love may motivate some (and I'm sure that this divulges more about my character than I'd like to admit)...this girl runs ANGRY. I think about people who've called me fat over the years. I think about men who wouldn't date me because I was "too big" for them (and yes, that really happened). I think about people who have done me wrong professionally. I even think about the people who may be driving by me thinking "she doesn't need to be out here in a sports bra." These things motivate me. They help me to keep going. And maybe this is wrong...Maybe I need a therapist...But for me, running has become my therapy, so that when I get home, sweaty and exhausted, those feelings are behind me and I can go through the REST of my day in peace.
There I was, up at 7am, doing my 21 Day Fix Pilates workout. I couldn't believe I had actually rolled out of bed when the alarm went off, but I had made a commitment to get up early and work out with my husband before he went to work. So were on the floor, at 7:22am, doing our scissor lifts, when suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder blade. I finished the move and sat up. It felt like I had woken up with a severely stiff neck, only minutes before I was just fine! I must have pulled something. I finished my workout and got into a hot shower. It helped, for sure. "Ok", I said to myself while getting out of the shower "that was the worst of it." I rotated my head all around and felt very little soreness. I got dressed and plopped in front of the computer screen to do some work. I heard something outside after a few minutes and turned my head to look out the window...OUCH! The pain was back. I spent the rest of the day trying to stay in motion, because everything felt better until I stopped moving. I went to sleep that night hoping that I would wake up in the morning and feel better. No such luck. Another hot shower and I was feeling good again. I consulted facebook (obviously) as to what to do and whether I should exercise. I got exactly what you would think I got in response...Lots of differing opinions. Some saying use ice, some saying heat. Some encouraging exercise, and others cautioning to stay away. I sat back and decided to really think about my situation. When I got out of the shower, I had full range of mobility in my neck and shoulders. Only when I sat stationary did I tense up and start feeling pain. So, instead of opting for a workout where I would be using lots of shoulder and back strength, I decided a run might warm me up and get some blood flowing to the area. I got dressed, laced up, and headed out, thinking I'd just go a mile or so. I got about a quarter mile from my house, and looked to my left...no pain. Right? None there either! Up at the sky? Nada. Down at my feet? You guessed it! No pain anywhere! Here's what I'm getting at folks. I could have used this "injury" as an excuse to lay around all day wrapped up in a blanket watching E!. But I knew that I WASN'T injured. I knew that it was a sore muscle. Inconvenient place for it..sure...but still just a sore muscle. While enjoying the rest of my triumphant 4 mile run that day, I was reminded of the excuses that people give themselves. I say that because when you give an excuse about your fitness, it's not anyone else that you're bullshitting. Just you. The person that you are spouting your excuses to, about why you can't do what they do could not care one bit, so you're better off just saving your breath or commiserating with other bullshitters.
"But MY excuse is different..."
No. It's not. Before you call the gratitude police here, I realize that my sore muscle affliction was not a serious disease or life threatening injury. I am not, by any means, attempting to call out people who have legitimate medical problems that truly prevent them from incorporating some form of exercise into their life. I realize that my sore muscle doesn't compare to some of the ailments that I am fortunate enough not to have, so please don't get it twisted. Who I'm talking to, are the bullshitters. The people that say they "wish" they could exercise, but they have "a bad back" and use that as their reasoning for being out of shape, instead of calling it like it is, and saying "I don't have the motivation to find a workout that I CAN do with my issues." Why am I saying this? Because I WAS a bullshitter. I had "bad knees"...I still do! But nowadays, instead of using it as an excuse, when I power through a Turbo Fire workout, I do everything I am capable of, and when we get to that certain move where something just doesn't feel right for me, I MODIFY. What I don't do, is quit. I just keep moving, changing up the move however I need to, in order to make it less painful for me. Trust me, we ALL have issues. We ALL have aches and pains. When I first started running, using the"Couch to 5K" plan, I was 210 pounds with severe sciatica pain. I would literally not be able to walk upright after a run. I did all of my runs in the evening, ate dinner, and got right into bed, because I knew I would be out of commission until the next day. My DESIRE to run and get my weight down, was greater than my excuses. These issues, compounded with a lot of knee pain began to effect me less and less as I got fitter and lighter. My sciatic pain went from every night, to once in a blue moon. Again, I'm not trying to make light of anyone's reasons for not exercising, as long as they are legitimate reasons. However, if you tell me you have "bad knees", I'll tell you about one of my challengers who has the same problem, yet got a membership at her local "Y" so that she could swim (swimming is a great workout for people with injuries). If you tell me you're "too old", I'll tell you about one of my friend's fathers, who took up running at age 68 and trained for and ran his first half marathon while he was undergoing chemotherapy (Check out his amazing story,here.). If you tell me that you have kids and are too busy, I'll tell you about countless women I work with DAILY that make the time for themselves to exercise, even if it's just 25 minutes a day after the kids go to sleep. I have challengers with thyroid issues, and fellow coaches with MS and fibromyalgia. They exercise on their good days, and rest when things flare up. EVERYONE has an excuse. EVERYONE has an ailment. And if you don't want to exercise or eat healthy, that's just fine...Honestly! It's your health, and your life. What drives me, and I think a lot of other people who strive to be in good shape crazy, is the excuse spouters. Please just stop offering up excuses, because not only do we mentally "check out" of the conversation once we realize what you're doing, but you just may be giving a lame excuse like "bad knees" to someone who has recently lost 150lbs, or continues to work through a potentially debilitating illness to get into the best shape of their life. Instead, please just say that your WILL to get in shape is not strong enough to OVERCOME your excuses, because that's all it is. If you have a MODERATELY healthy body, you have every ability in the world to get out there and do SOMETHING, even if it's just walking. If you are ready to quit giving in to those excuses, and you feel that WILL inside of you saying that you need to make a CHANGE, now is the time to strike. Put an end to your excuses and focus on that DESIRE! There is no reason why YOU can't be a success story. You CAN be someone who overcomes their situation. All it takes is belief in yourself and the desire to get out there and get started. If you choose to believe in yourself and need some support or help modifying your exercise routine to INCORPORATE whatever your excuse is (age, injury, or time), reach out to me. I'm here, and happy to help you, because I've been there too.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.