I, like many others, have struggled with my self-image, fitness, and weight over the years. And now thanks to COVID I find that I have more time to think about self-care than I can
ever remember before.
At the beginning of the pandemic as we were shut down and isolating, I started with some home work-outs, and recently I have been able to get back in the gym. The biggest thing starting back to it this time was that I was adamant that the sole reason I was doing this was for my own benefit. I was determined that I wouldn’t allow this to get me down on myself.
I have always wanted long, skinny legs! In our sport of riding this is the look we often aspire to, whether for fashion or function. However after much research there doesn’t seem to be a way to make my legs any longer; and, after much time spent I have concluded it is just not my conformation to have skinny legs either. A bit skinnier, maybe, but not what I’m really after. So after all this time I’m getting to be ok with that. I’m also going to be ok with being strong instead of skinny.
One of the biggest hurdles as we head into the next season is that my bed holds me down in the mornings. How does one pry oneself out of its warm clutches?! Here are a few things I have tried, with success:
-Pick a time of day, don’t just wing it. For me it’s got to be the morning, before I do anything else. I say I’m going to go in the afternoon once I’m done a few tasks for the day, and I rarely ever make it. So, morning it is.
-Get up early, plan for enough time. I get up early enough that it isn’t a rush to get out the door. There’s no better reason in my world to skip a work out than to conclude I don’t have enough time.
-Pick a schedule that is realistic, and you will actually adhere to. I go every second day, but everyone has a different commitment and goal. If you can’t make time to go to the gym as often as you might want, at least go for a walk. The point is to pick something that you will actually do, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Literally, something is better than nothing.
-Show up. That is exactly the most important. Even if when you get there you half-heartedly walk on the treadmill and do a couple crunches. GO! Being there and creating the habit is the hardest part.
-Set realistic work outs for yourself. Yes, you should push yourself to grow, get stronger, and so on. But make it so that you won’t be too sore tomorrow and therefore convince yourself not to go, breaking the good habit.
-Allow space for life’s changes. If you have a horse show, a trip, or whatever, don’t berate yourself for not working out that week. Or if when you get back you skip Monday too. It’s ok to be tired, it’s ok to focus on other things. Just get back to it when your life settles down. The point is to let this help you, not for it to grow a life of its own to control you and make you feel like poop!
Here’s an example of a home work out I have done, it takes 30 minutes and is a good reference if you’re getting in the game and need some inspiration:
First, get a Tabata app on your phone to help with the timing:
30 second set with 10 second rest Sit ups Plank row X2 Lunge Squat X2 Jumping Jack Mountain Climbers X2 Curtsy Lunge Sit up-Stand X2 Bicycle Super man X2 Child’s pose Lunge stretch X1 Kick backs Knee raises X2 Bridge kick back Side Crunch X2 Burpee Twisted Plank X2 Russian Twist Sit-ups X2 Twisted Mountain Climber Star Jacks X2 Stretch X2