Today, on the treadmill, I got halfway through my planned workout and just about gave up. It was my first "regular" workout in about a week, and I just wasn't feeling it. The TV wasn't working on my treadmill, my music wasn't pumping me up, and my legs were like lead. I considered switching over to the elliptical, mostly because I felt like continuing to run would be too hard.
But something clicked in my head before I clicked off the machine: This is the whole point. Pushing myself, sweating a lot, feeling uncomfortable, hurting a little bit (within reason)--that's all part of the deal. Working out isn't supposed to feel like a spa day. As Jillian says...
So I launched into the second half of my cardio and pushed a little harder. Rather than increasing only the speed, I kicked up the incline, too. It SUCKED. Seriously, by the time I was at 8.0 mph and 3.0 incline, I felt ready to hop off the machine and curl up on the couch. But when I finally reached the end and completed my strength workout, too, I couldn't help smiling. Honestly, nothing beats a tough workout for making me feel accomplished in an hour or less.
We need to give our bodies more credit. We are capable of so much more than we even know, but we can only figure out our limits by pushing past the usual barriers. Most of the time, those obstacles are simply mental blocks--telling ourselves we can't. But we can! Whatever your fitness level, consider pushing yourself just a little harder during one workout per week. See what your body can do! Of course, stay safe and know your limits (heart rate monitors are a great way to track your stress level during a workout), but bumping your weights up by 5 pounds for that last set or increasing the speed on the treadmill by 0.5 mph are simple ways to push yourself. And you'll feel so great afterward!
So here's today's cardio workout, inspired by Tina's Best Body Boot Camp.
The first time through, I skipped all the inclines, so you could try that, or you can push it and climb those hills! To make it easier, slow the pace (you can even walk!) and/or only increase each speed interval by 0.1 or 0.2 mph. To make it tougher, increase the speed and/or the incline. Remember that you should feel at least a little uncomfortable!
I also wanted to share some pretty awesome articles from around the Interwebs:
- Fitnessista: How Much Cardio Do You Need?
- Tina Reale: Find Your "Happy Weight"
- PBFingers: Exercise Obstacles
- Buzzfeed: 20 Reasons Why Going to the Gym is a Huge Waste of Time (hilarious)
What's your favorite way to push yourself in a workout?
Hope you have a great day today!