I’m gonna let you in on a secret: if you’re a girl, Karena and Katrina at Tone It Up are simply brilliant. If you’re a guy, I’m sure you can enjoy them too, but they specifically focus on women’s health and fitness using a fun girlfriend-to-girlfriend approach that makes me feel like I have two great workout partners no matter the weather or how little I feel like getting it done.
I’ve known about them for a year or two, but I started really following along with the fitness challenges and workout routines at the beginning of the year. The current challenge is their Love Your Body challenge combined with 100 miles of cardio by V-Day (or 150 if you want to push yourself further). They post weekly workout schedules, complete with “PM Challenges” to treat yourself and enhance your daily life. They also have monthly calendars with tips and thoughts to help you get your mind to start thinking the way the lifestyle demands.
I’m taking a quick break between the Love Your Body with HIIT routine I just did and the ab workout I’m about to do, and I just wanted to share some thoughts I’ve been having about my own health since I started the challenge.
First of all, it’s amazing how quickly I’ve noticed progress in my strength and endurance levels. There are things I could barely do a month ago that I can do decently now, and there have been times when I noticed that kind of change in only a week. It’s a testament to how little awareness we may have about our own capacities to grow and get stronger, because things that I thought would take me months to achieve have come more easily than I ever imagined. It’s amazing and inspiring to me to have such an obvious transformation that I can remember and cling to when I’m struggling in other areas of my life. I suppose it all boils down to this: Don’t give up! You may be closer to your success than you realize.
Secondly, I have to express gratitude toward the positive attitude K&K exude because it kept me from beating myself up over my shortcomings. I did get frustrated with myself a lot at the beginning for being unable to do things that seemed effortless for pretty much everyone else in the Tone It Up community. I was extremely disappointed in myself when I did a particular cardio workout and my heart rate jumped through the roof before I was even halfway into it. I had to stop because it was dangerous to keep going, and instead of the intense workout I’d imagined, I got a boring 15 minutes or so on the elliptical trainer before I gave up. It was a really low point for me, because a lot of the workouts boost the heart rate and obviously that means I simply can’t do as much as they say to do without endangering my life and health. I came home from the gym in a pretty foul mood, with a headache, and it could have been a quitting point for me. It really could have been the excuse I used to give up, and maybe I wouldn’t even have been very disappointed in myself for quitting because I would feel justified in sticking to laziness.
But I really enjoy the atmosphere Karena and Katrina create, and they really make me feel like I can be amazing. And when I was talking to my mom about my experience at the gym, I found myself excitedly sharing how I’d been able to jog for a minute straight on the treadmill without stopping, which was a big deal for me. And she reassured me that the more I work out, the better my heart rate will be at staying in safe zones, and the more I’ll be able to do. And that reaffirmed in me a valuable lesson that I’ve learned before and continue to be reminded of: Be patient with yourself, and do as much as you can every single time. Always demand your best effort, and don’t allow yourself to get frustrated if you truly feel like you pushed yourself as far as you could. Your limits will stretch. Your strength will increase. If you’re not where you want to be, just remember you will be someday. Be happy that you did all you could, today, to get yourself there.