Feel the Burn
Being a runner for a good part of my life, I thought my overall health was good. Really good.
My legs and lungs were strong and I felt running burned off all kinds of calories. It wasn’t until I turned 50 that I started to see some changes:
- Core: I thought running was great for building core strength but I had a flabby middle.
- Injuries: One morning while I was on a run, my hamstring ceased up. The pain shot up the back of my leg and back. I slowed my pace and tried to work through it. I had to turn around and walk home. In a snap, I was sidelined. I struggled with this for almost a year.
- Back: When I looked at myself in the mirror in a dressing room one day, I noticed I was slouching – badly. I sit at a desk for most of the day, hunched over. I had to consciously pull my shoulders back. Slouching was the new norm. Not good.
When I started on my journey to turn my health around, I learned from all my research that strength and stability training are necessary for overall health and wellness to improve. What I learned is that my lungs and legs were strong, but I didn’t have great muscle definition or strength.
While I could get out of bed most mornings and run in just about any kind of weather the Midwest delivers, I just could not get excited about strength training. We have equipment here at home, there are videos galore I could watch but I just didn’t do it. Working out at home allowed me to fit a workout in whenever I wanted or time permitted. I didn’t do it. A home workout would give me something to do rather than lie on the couch and do nothing. I just didn’t do it.
When I got to the end of my rope, not feeling my best and seeing my middle expand, I made a decision. I decided to seek out a personal trainer. There is a new gym right around the corner from where I work (convenient) and I made an appointment for a consultation. The owner, Erin Cantrell, met with me, and I told her my entire story. She wasn’t surprised. She told me that muscle is an absolute necessity for overall good health for several reasons:
- Cardiovascular health is only half the equation: For a balanced fitness program, muscle strength is necessary. Running was good but I needed to broaden my exercise regimen.
- Weight loss: Not only does strength training help tone your body, building muscle helps burn calories.
- Bone health: Building muscle strength also increases bone density, reducing the risk of injury.
In addition to building muscle, I also have come to appreciate the need to stretch – both before and after a workout of any kind – especially since I’ve gotten older. However, even after the hamstring injury, this is another area I struggle. I’m still a work in progress here. I need to do this more and on a consistent basis.
Working out with a personal trainer is a financial commitment but I believe, for me personally, it was money well spent.
- For one, I’m worth it. Health and wellness are priceless.
- Showing up at the gym two times a week holds me accountable.
- Paying out money is a motivator.
- Working with a personal trainer has been more fulfilling in ways I didn’t imagine (I’ll write more about this later.)
Was it easy? No. Did my muscles ache in ways I didn’t even know existed? Yes. Did I sweat? Beyond belief. Did the trainer push me out of my comfort zone? You bet. Have I thought of other ways I could spend the money? Absolutely.
Working out with a personal trainer is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. The investment is far-reaching and priceless. I have been working out at Erin Cantrell Fitness for over a year now. However, I realize not everyone has the financial resources to make this commitment. There are many apps and YouTube videos that are free and some communities have local exercise programs that are budget friendly. The most important thing is to take the first step to make a change in your life. This holds true not only in health + wellness but also other parts of your life as well.