I am still going strong on The Road to Fitness, although since I finished P90x and wrote last (in December of 2008) I have just been picking and choosing what to do based on how I feel each day and how much time I have. I even went without exercising at all for about 20 days in March, when we went on a trip to California. Not only did I not exercise, but I sat on my rear end for days in the car getting there and back, and ate lots of crappy food. But I couldn't wait to get home and start working out again, and that really pleased me because it proved that I have made fitness such a habit in my life that I don't get totally derailed when I take time off. Now I don't have to be afraid that taking a break will begin the inevitable slide back into slugdom. I do try to fit some kind of movement in most days...sometimes that's a challenging weight workout, sometimes it's a walk outside pushing the stroller, sometimes it's just throwing the frisbee outside for Moppet 4 to fetch. But even the smallest physical activity seems to keep me on track.
But tomorrow I am moving into another big and more challenging physical commitment! Another 90 day program from Beachbody! This one is called Chalean Extreme, and the weird name is a fitness take on the name of the instructor, Chalene Johnson. She is also the creator of the popular DVDs called Turbo Jam, which I personally can't stand, but I can tell I am going to love this program. It has three phases and the focus of the entire program is learning to lift heavier weights in order to build muscle and therefore boost your metabolism - the second phase calls for you to lift heavy enough that you reach muscle failure in 6-8 repetitions. That is something I have never tried, and I am interested to see how much weight it will take for various exercises and body parts. Tonight I borrowed two 30 lb dumbbells from my father, and I am going to see if I can lift those doing squats and lunges, both of which I hate, but if I only have to do 6-8 reps I can handle it.
I love starting new fitness programs, but what I love best is seeing how I am growing in both my fitness capabilities and interests. A year ago I would have been so sure I would never want to try squatting with 60 lbs, or that I'd never like or even try any kind of high impact cardio. Now I am doing both, and I am planning to order a set that is due out in June, called Insanity, which would have looked like a horror movie to me even 6 months ago. I'm not even sure if I am fit enough for that one yet, but I know that I can get there in time if I just keep working towards that goal. I even think it looks like FUN to suffer that much.
I also know now that within my genetic limits and limits imposed by things like childbearing (read stretch marks and not-so-taut belly skin), I really can get my figure to look VERY GOOD, if I am willing to put the work in as far as exercise and nutrition goes. I still don't know how much work I am willing to put into the eating side of it, but for most of my life I really thought that I couldn't have a really fit looking body because I just figured I wasn't blessed with one - I did not realize that most of those bodies come from hard work, and I now know that I CAN work that hard if I want to. It's nice to have that option, and even nicer to realize that translates into anything I or you might want to do, and is not limited to exercise.
I'm really starting to sound like a self-help guru, aren't I? I'm not trying to, but learning to exercise has taught me that it is fine to be a beginner at something, and it won't take long from your first feeble effort to the point where you are well versed and competent in the new field. It is almost exactly 2 years ago that I got my first workout DVD - Leslie Sanson'e VERY moderate 3 Mile Fat Burning Walk. I was pregnant at that time, but even taking that into consideration, the workout was a real challenge for me. Now I would have to use a high step and add jogging intervals to bring it to a challenging level. So, any of you who might be starting to exercise and feeling discouraged, just give yourself some time. In anything that is new to you, there will be a learning curve - a lingo that you have to decipher, new tools you have to figure out. etc. Be patient with yourself, and remember that making something a habit takes a while - and you need to make exercise a habit if it is going to be something you stick wth lifelong, which is what you need to do to reap its benefits.
You might never love it as much as I do (that still surprises me!!), you may have physical issues that keep you from lifting heavy weights or doing anything high impact, or whatever. But there is some kind of exercise you can enjoy enough to make a regular part of your life, that can keep you from being too overweight, too inflexible and too weak to enjoy your time on earth both now and as you age. I saw a decrease in my fitness level just in the 20 days I didn't exercise while on vacation; there is definitely a Use It Or Lose It component to your body's fitness - but I also saw that I was able to regain that fitness and even surpass it in some respects very quickly, much more quickly than it originally took to develop it. So, start small, but start now. You won't regret it.