Finding Your Balance

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During day 3 of snowmageddon (I am currently on day 5!) I posted a picture of me after a treadmill run. I titled the picture Sweating It Out On a Snow Day. The picture was a little more revealing than any that I have posted before. I had on a sports bra (not too skimpy) and a pair of workout leggings but my torso was exposed. I hoped the possibility of inspiring someone to get their workout in might outweigh anyone’s judgment.


What I got next was unexpected. I really didn’t think the picture would be so popular. I was sweaty, sans makeup, and had my hair pulled back in a ponytail, which looks great on some women but not so much on me.

Anyhow, the picture got tons of likes and people kept commenting. They wanted to know what I did to get the abs, would I tell them my secrets, would I help them train? Someone even jokingly asked when the fitness video would come out.

Woo, let’s hit the pause button please. I wasn’t trying to pass myself off as a fitness guru, or personal trainer. I am just a woman who has found her balance. There really isn’t one special secret to share.

So what do I do? Well I talk a lot about my nutrition and exercise journey in chapter two of Single Mom Chic but I will give you the abbreviated exercise version.

As a single mom, I always struggled to get my workouts in. I knew that I needed to be as healthy as possible to be able to juggle all the demands that come with single motherhood but it was tough. Feeling tired makes you not want to work out but not working out makes you feel tired. Bad loop right? I also didn’t have my thing!

I tried everything: working out with my kids at the YMCA, taking them to neighborhood tracks, parks, and riding bikes, but nothing really stuck. As soon as the kids lost interest or found something else to do, so did I. I worked out with really fit friends and that would wax and wane as well.

I thought about when I was most active. Unfortunately, I had to go all the way back to childhood, but I don’t think I’m alone in that.

So, what did I like to do? I loved to ride bikes but I had already tried that and as soon as the weather changed the bike went away. So what about those spin classes? They use bikes. I wasn’t sure. I was a little intimidated by the dark room and the loud sounds that came out of them, but I am always telling other people to Do the Thing That Scares You! So I decided to take my own advice.

I am so glad I did! Spinning changed my workout life because I realized that I could actually work out and love it! I got so much stronger and started doing other things. It was my gateway exercise! The one thing that made it easier for me to try other things!

Suddenly I could do more than ten dreaded minutes on the elliptical and started a running program. I tried lots of different things and now my fitness life is pretty balanced. I do lots of yoga, cardio almost daily, and take new classes to see what else I might like.

So how do you find your balance? I promise you it’s easier than you think!

Find your gateway exercise!

● Think about when you were most active. What did you like to do when you were younger: swimming, dancing, skating/roller blading, or horseback riding?

● Tap back into the joy you felt when fitness was actually fun! If you were a more artistic type and haven’t been quite as physically active try out a couple of classes at your local gym or recreation center.

Once you find your gateway exercise fitness will become a part of your well-balanced life!

Until next post,

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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