By Michelle Owens
Registered Yoga Teacher
Well, we’ve reached the time of the year when the New Year’s resolution crowd has run out of steam. Gone are the swells of newbies who flock to the gyms and jogging trails in search of better bodies. Most won’t materialize again until bathing suit time.
The number one reason why newbies burn out is because they try to take on too much too soon and get frustrated when they don’t see immediate results. Someone who has never walked a mile at a brisk pace suddenly decides they want to run a marathon. Someone who hasn’t exercised in 10 years suddenly decides to take a 90 minute hot yoga class in a 105-degree classroom. A walking program or a gentle yoga class would have been the smarter way to go.
For fitness success, try adopting one of the guiding tenets of yoga, which s to do less than you think you can do, because less really is more. When you exercise, find something you really like to do, and only do enough at first to break a sweat. If you push past the point of exhaustion each and every time, you won’t look forward to the next exercise session, and soon you’re finding excuses not to do it.
This reminds me of a time I was vacationing in San Diego. I was enjoying breakfast with my husband, when he stopped mid-bite and said to me, “Don’t look right now, but that lady over there has great legs.”
Of course, I turned around and looked.
He was so accurate in his assessment that I forgot to be mad that he was checking out some other chick’s legs.
Her quads were that perfect teardrop shape. Her calves, firm and defined. They were truly spectacular legs, so I instantly pegged her as one of those female athletes who’d been running since she climbed out of the cradle. But I was wrong.
Later, when we both happened to be in the ladies room at the same time ( o.k, o.k., I admit I followed her in there) I just flat out told her, “You have amazing legs, do you run?”
She grinned – because really, who doesn’t like hearing that – and told me she was a runner, but only for the last few years. She grew up hating to run. But having babies and a love of ice cream made her desperate to find an activity that would help her stay in shape. Her husband was a runner and told her to give the sport another try. He taught her the proper way to run. She read a few books by Jeff Galloway and began to follow Galloway’s training plan of RUN-WALK-RUN.
Sound familiar? It’s ok to walk when the goal is to run!
A running program like Couch to 5K, follows that same premise to help couch potatoes get fit enough to run a 5K. You build up to running 5Ks, half marathons and marathons by starting with low miles a few times a week, doing a combination of running and walking. It’s painless and gives you a chance to truly enjoy the benefits of running. This same principle applies whether it’s yoga, cycling or a self paced circuit training routine at the gym.
So stick with your fitness plan. Start slow and keep going.
Before you know it, crazy women like me will be drooling over your great legs in a public restroom!
About the author: Michelle Owens is a Yoga Alliance-registered yoga teacher and owner of Yoga East studio (www.yogaeastorlando.com) in downtown Avalon Park. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.