21 Day By Day Changes

21 Days of Exercise

Day 1: February 15th

I was proud of myself for getting up at 5:30 to work out for 20 minutes.

Day 2

I was out of town but I still went to the hotel gym and worked out for 30 minutes. I kept looking at this huge mirror that they had in the room and telling myself that I could do this. I was reminding myself that I had done something like this before and that if I take one day at a time, I can do it again. This helped me relax and plan each day with success in mind. I am wondering if these 2 days of early morning movement had increased my appetite, because I think that I feel more hungry throughout the day than ever. It is a good thing that I have opted to load up on healthy snacks. I vow to change my body shape, my weight, my perspective on my purpose and my trajectory towards my future. 

Day 3

I had to squeeze this one in. It was getting late and I wanted to eat dinner. But, I did not want to eat before doing some exercise. I multi-tasked by microwaving each part of my meal while I was walking in place. This particular video that I was moving to was focusing on legs by adding knee lifts, kicks and kickbacks. I managed to get the 15 min mile, fast paced micro workout in and all of my dinner courses were done by the time I finished.

Day 4

I ate my dinner first tonight because it was getting late. Then after allowing for proper digestion, I proceeded to work out. I challenged myself again with this tough leg workout. I could feel the burning in my thighs with each knee lift. That is probably the place where I need the most toning. I just closed my eyes and tightened my abs for support. I am moving and doing it, but I am really hoping that there are only a few more of these lifts before she starts counting down to 1 and says go back to walking. I’m pushing because I do not want to go back on a promise that I made to myself. I said that I would do some planned movement for 21 days in a row. As I am doing this on day 4, I am realizing that I really can do anything that I put my mind and my mouth to. I am trying to shape my body, but that is not the only thing that is changing. I am feeling so empowered that I am making a commitment like this and making the choice to do something to elevate my heart rate into a fat burning zone.

Day 5

I came home late, worked out real quick. I ate, showered and went to bed.

Day 6

This was a quick workout too because I was tired and I had to go out to a rehearsal. After my short session, I ate, then left for a couple of hours. When I got back, I showered and fell fast asleep.

Day 7

I came home on time since I did not have to do any work afterschool. I ate a little snack and then I relaxed for a bit. A couple of hours later, I did my basic workout for 20 minutes, ate dinner and went back to relaxing.

Day 8

By this day, my body was moving like it was made to be walking and doing all of these squats. I had been having a little ankle pain and I felt like my knees were cracking on day one and two. But I remember that my former trainer, Ricky from Slaughter Fitness, told me that even though I may feel weird and tight at first, if I keep going and push through it, eventually things would ease up and I would start to feel a little bit better. I know that is happening in my body right now. 

Since it was an unusually warm day, even though it was almost the end of February, I decided to go outside and walk. My focus is on consistency rather than intensity. I just want to walk a mile or so as much as I can.  I was walking and thinking to myself that this was a great way to get some fresh air and that this was also an excellent opportunity to watch life going on around me. Kids were playing on park equipment and dogs were running free in the fields. In my ear, I was listening to some meditative worship music that calms me and helps me to reflect on my life. It helps me think about what is next for me in the big scheme of things and even what I could be doing on a day to day basis to reach my dreams and goals. So, I am walking and I do a mile and then I do my cool down stretches. That is it! Day 8 is done. My body is feeling great, my respiratory system is good as I got my heart rate up to my target, and my mind is feeling like it is down for all of this.

Day 9

I did a later workout today. I cleaned, cooked and ate first. After 9 days, my legs are actually feeling stronger and this exercise thing seems necessary, normal and a fitting thing to be doing. I am feeling like I need to do this as much as possible to clear my mind, while getting in shape and strengthening all of my muscles. 

Day 10

I came home from work, put on my workout clothes and started doing an indoor walking video right away as if  it were purely natural. Who knew that after just 10 days, starting a workout could become a thing that is second nature? I am pushing and making myself do these workouts because I do not want to feel like a failure, not even to myself. As I am walking, I am thinking about all of the things in life that I cannot control. But then there are a few things whose endings I can manipulate. Doing this for myself is one of the things that I can have a hand in deciding. Accidents, freak events and the actions of other people are all unpredictable. But what I am doing right now, in this moment that I am walking, is helping me change the way my body might look and feel. Feeling and looking my best may be an important  foundation for how I proceed through my daily routines with confidence. This might chase away the mid-life crisis blues and help me have a feeling of perpetual accomplishment. It seems amazing that I can propel myself positively into my future by just doing this one 20 minute action each day.

Day 11

Today is a quick workout: A short walk, some squats, 100 waist whittlers and a cool down walk and stretches.  Remember, I’m striving for consistency and not intensity!

Days 12-14 

I did quick, easy workouts. I even threw in some toe touches and a few yoga poses. 

Day 15

I did an indoor walking video with leg lifts, kicks and upper body presses. I just kept moving until my watch told me that I had done a mile. This usually takes about 20 minutes or so. Afterwards, I cool down for 2 minutes and do my stretches.

My body is definitely feeling different. I feel stronger. At work, I am now able to walk to the top of this long staircase at work without stopping and,  in general, I don’t feel as winded when I put in miles of steps as I’m walking around the whole school all day. I am really feeling good about my workout today because in the past, I would have quit by now.  I am persevering through this hard day of working out while I am sore and tired; doing a quick and easy exercise, just to know that I did something. I am staying in the game because, in reality, whatever I am doing to make progress in my life, will be challenged with days like this. There are going to be high points and valleys on the road towards progress and betterment. So tomorrow when I look back,  I will know that I got past the valley and I am experiencing a peak; the sweetness of what it feels like to put in work and get through a complete workout session. 

Day 16

It was 60 degrees in March, so I went walking outside. I did a quick and easy 1.1 miles, with 3 intervals of high intensity, fast paced walking. I did that,  all while I was listening to my brother Jaz-O’s latest project, “The Warm Up”. Afterwards, I did my cool down lap and my stretches. All of this was just in the nick of time because a few minutes later, it was raining.

Day 17-18

Day 17 was Primary voting day. By the time I got off, voted and ran an errand, I was tired. I did a quick mile inside and did my cool down and stretches. That’s all, that’s it…..done! I showered, ate, watched a little TV, then went to sleep.  The next day, I followed the same workout and night time routine.

Day 19

Today I went on a college trip with the 8th grade students and got my walking workout in during the day. I set my watch to calculate my steps for the outdoor walk that we did as we toured the campus. I ended up accumulating steps that totaled over 2 miles. My workout was done!

Day 20

I am tired again today and my body is aching a bit. I did a few crunches and some waist whittlers and called it a day. My watch says that I walked a total of 4.9 miles while I was at work all day. That is pretty much my normal distance each day, as I visit all of the classrooms that I work in. Even though I want my actual moments of exercise to be movement for a focused 10 minutes or more, for now, for today, I am going to take that mileage above as a part of my workout. 

Day 21

Today is the last day that I committed to myself. You will not believe that I almost blew it. I did not do my quick workout until after 10 pm. Also, In case you are wondering, I did lose some weight during these 21 days. However, it is not worth mentioning how much because the excitement of that was totally overshadowed by the things that I was reminded of and the lessons that I re-taught myself during these days.

Updates

One week after my 21 day challenge to myself, I am consistently working out every 6 days per week. I have lost inches in my waist and trouble spots and I have added a few other healthy things to my lifestyle. I mostly embrace a pescatarian diet and only eat between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. During my last several workouts,  I did something that I have not done in years. I jogged! When I am outside, I like to do what we called intervals when we were in High School. I walk about ⅓ of a mile or so, then jog for about 200 meters. I do this until my watch signals that I have completed a mile. I followed a plan like this a few years ago and it was a way to get me from walking to jogging by alternating between the two. It seems that ever since my stint with the track team in high school, I marvel at joggers and I really want to become one again. But I was convinced that my body was not made for doing that anymore. Some time ago, I tried jogging during my workout. I did not get that far before I felt heaviness, jiggling and all kinds of pain in my ankles and knees. But now, if I pick the right terrain, all I feel is the wind behind me as I lightly jog for 3 intervals. This is an outdoor exercise game changer for me. I get excited everytime do it.

May 8, 2020

I am calling today my crossover day.  I’m calling it that because today it is dreary and raining outside yet, I am determined that I am going to walk. I know that today I am going to look like the people that I used to see walking and jogging in the rain, as I was in my car driving by. I was going to walk for 2 miles, (that is my new minimum) and I’m walking an additional .23 miles to show support for Ahmaud Aubrey. This is a new day and a new thing for me. I can’t believe myself; Pushing to walk when it’s so uncomfortable outside. I even got my daughter Christeena to go with me. The whole time that we were walking, she kept saying that she did not understand why I was walking today, instead of either forgetting the workout or choosing to do something  else inside.

Have you ever had a day where you worked out, but you really didn’t want to? Tell me how it went in the comments below!

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

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