#1: Cardio is NOT the answer!!
… Well, not the only answer. Please, before you swear off reading this blog and curse my name, allow me to elaborate. A little more than a year ago, I hit a bottom in my work out routines. At the time, I had about 8 years of consistent working out and had tried everything under the sun. From pilates to at-home dvd’s, to running, to yoga and back again. Well, they all worked… for a brief period. Without fail, about 4-6 weeks in, everything became repetitive and results began to diminish. My weight training “experience” consisted of “high reps/low weight,” “arm day,” “leg day,” “abs EVERYDAY” and I never seemed to get the results I had wanted. Now mind you, the only “results” I was searching for were to aesthetically please and appease my vane perspective. A few months prior to my bottom I had a *ahem* “procedure” done that prevented me from doing a lot of weight training… or push-ups. (Judge if you shall, but I had my reasons… and don’t really give a crap.) My routine was made up of treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, sit-ups, crunches, and a ridiculous amount of running. The only components preventing me from the category of “Cardio Bunny” were my lack of any make-up, done-up hair or cute outfits. My body hurt, my joints ached, I was tired all the time, and I struggled opening a pickle jar. As someone who was always comfortable being active and decently strong, I became extremely discouraged and eventually depressed.
In walks RKC certified instructor, Danny Sawaya… I turned to someone I trusted when it came to fitness. I practically crawled on hands and knees, begging for Danny’s help… until he told me to stop running. At that point, I stood up, wiped myself off, tied my running shoes tighter and, almost, bolted out the door, all while waving the middle finger. Then he handed me a kettlebell. Although the fear of “bulk” began to set in, I was intrigued. My passion for bells began and took off. I followed Danny’s advice and worked with weight, starting off light, focusing on technique and eventually increasing the weight. I participated in kettlebell classes and within weeks had started seeing results. I was happy I finally found something that worked. But I still had a dark secret…
About 6 weeks in to kettlebell training, I began having an all too familiar experience. My results began to slow down and it was difficult to move up in weight. My enthusiasm and energy started to fade and frustration began to set in. I sat down with Danny and explained my dilemma. He asked me one honest question, requiring one honest answer. He asked me if I was still running. In fact, it was more of a rhetorical question because he already knew. Here I thought I was so slick, sneaking my running shoes into my gym bag, wearing a hat and sunglasses to disguise myself while on the track so no one would find out. Justifying it by telling myself it would “speed up my training results.” How did he know? Who saw me?! I came clean. We made an arrangement. I got to go on one run a week and it couldn’t be supplemented before or after with a training session. Well that was about a year ago now and I haven’t looked back, and I haven’t found boredom in what I do. I followed instruction and managed to dramatically alter my body composition as well as my emotional state. To my surprise, 6 weeks in, I discovered I had an insatiable appetite for gaining strength. I still run, once a week. Instead of for “exercise” and “aesthetic results,” I run for mental clarity and fresh air. My message is in no way to give up something you love doing, but only to compromise it just enough to make room for something new and outside of your comfort zone. We always think we know what is best and as humans are so resistant to change. Stay open… you may discover, like I did, a new love and newfound passion for something different.