sweaty smiles

Monday! A beautiful new beginning.
Between working every day, a brief visit from my family, seeing a musical, lots of delicious food and (trying) to catch up on my NASM studying, the past few days have been crazy. I’d love to say that the weekends are a time for me to rest and recuperate but that’s rarely the case. Oh well! I definitely can’t complain. PS: Jekyll & Hyde at The Pantages was phenomenal. Recommended.

Jekyll & Hyde

Last week, I began talking about the importance of finding your own unique version of happiness. I was thrilled to see  that the topic resonated with so many of you and decided to turn it into a series, of sorts. Because building your bliss and doing what you love shouldn’t only apply to one area of life.

So, today I want to discuss the importance of exercise happiness. 

Exercise Happiness

Let’s face it, there is a never-ending list of questions when it comes to exercise. How many days a week should I work out? How often should I lift weights and do cardio? Are rest days necessary? Is lifting heavy going to make me “bulky”? Will I lose more weight if I work out on an empty stomach? You get my point, right? Everyone wants to find answers that, frankly, don’t exist.

The most common question? What is the best exercise?

Let’s take a step back. Sure, tests have proven that certain exercise regimes are more beneficial when looking for specific results (ex: lifting heavy weights to gain muscle, HIIT training for fat loss, etc.) but there are always exceptions to these rules. And, when push comes to shove, it doesn’t really matter. 

The best exercise is the one that you’ll do and that you enjoy. Plain and simple.

If you love being outdoors, walk or hike. If you’re a social butterfly, take classes at your local gym. If you enjoy being in the weight room, get in there and lift. If you’re competitive, sign up for a race and challenge yourself to train for it. If you love to dance, take Zumba or hip-hop dance classes…
Exercise is an extremely broad term and, if you keep an open mind, I promise you’ll find something that you actually enjoy doing. Life is too short to force yourself through workouts that you find miserable. I’ve been there and done that and, let me tell you, it’s not worth it. Exercise should be fun.

Don’t get me wrong, change is always going to be uncomfortable at first but it won’t feel as horrible if you’re doing something you love. Plus, setting goals for yourself, conquering things that seem daunting and making accomplishments is an extremely rewarding experience.

So, this week, I challenge you to try something new! Take a yoga class, attempt to set a new running PR, overcome your fear of joining the “big boys” in the weight room…anything! You might hate it and decide it’s not your thing (which is totally fine!) or you might discover something you absolutely love.

On Thursday I decided to change up my ab routine and use the decline bench. I’m definitely guilty of getting in exercise ruts- particularly when it comes to core training. After talking about the importance of stability and core training in my previous post, I knew it was time to try something new. This little workout doesn’t take very long (less than 15 minutes!) but my abs were on fire. Give it a try!

Ab Killer

(If you’ve never done a Swiss Ball Pike, there’s an explanation/demo here. Swiss Ball Knee-Ins are done in the same position, just roll your knees in towards your chest instead of pressing your butt up.)

What workouts leave you feeling the happiest? 

Here’s to a happy mind and body…

-Emily

12 comments
  1. Lisa said:

    So true! The best exercise is the one you enjoy the most, not something you dread or do because “you have to”. That and putting family/friends before exercise is true health in my eyes. Skipping out of a Dinner or birthday because you “need” to do that workout, it a no go. Ah, I could possibly go into this topic forever so I’ll stop there;)
    Love the looks of that ab killer!
    My favorite workouts are spin and pilates for sure!

    • Emily said:

      I couldn’t agree more! Exercise should never get in the way of spending time with friends or family. Making memories with the people you love is SO much more important.
      And thank you! You always inspire me to take spin- I love that you’ve been creating your own spin routines recently as well!

  2. P said:

    I am always getting into exercise ruts, but I still stick with running/weights as my “regular” exercise routine and include some Zumba or tennis if I have the time/if I am up for it. I do want to try out some other classes though, like kickboxing or another aerobics dance class.

    • Emily said:

      Running and weights tend to be my default workouts as well. But, it’s always fun to change it up! You should definitely try kickboxing! I’ve taken a few classes and it was a ton of fun.

  3. Today I tried something VERRRYYY new and went snowshoeing in the old olympic track 😀

    • Emily said:

      What?! I’m jealous! That sounds amazing!

  4. I get into exercise ruts a lot, but I think with spring just around the corner I’ll be able to switch things up by adding tennis and hiking back into my routine more often! Right now I’m really loving lifting but I want to try a hot yoga class soon–it’s fun to do at home but I want the experience of a class too.

    • Emily said:

      Warmer weather will definitely make it easier to change up our routines. I get so sick of being stuck inside!
      And hot yoga is quite an experience! I’m not going to lie, I was miserable the first time I tried it. But it gets easier and easier- I love it now!

  5. I loved this post! I definitely think it’s so easy to get caught up in what workouts everyone else is doing, and feel like we need to copy others even if we hate what they’re doing. I feel like I’ve finally found what works best for me which is usually running 3x a week, strength training 2x, and yoga thrown in there one to two times. I also think it’s SO important to take rest days. I cringe when some people say they never take them. Recovery is just as important<3 And I've been totally stuck in an ab exercise rut, so I will definitely be giving yours a shot!

    • Emily said:

      I completely agree! There are a few people that go to my gym who rarely ever take rest days and it kills me to watch them! Their muscles never get to recover.
      And yay! Let me know what you think of the ab routine when you try it. (:

  6. Hey Emily! So glad to have you back in the blogosphere :). Yes, I basically think that any exercise you will DO is the best exercise lol! And also, I really promote thinking of it as ‘movement’ if exercise is too daunting or rigid for some people. Moving around more in your daily life, rather than dedicating 30-60 minutes to intense exercise each night might work better for some people’s mindsets and lifestyles. Thanks for the post!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much! I’m happy to be back.
      And I completely agree- it all depends on the person. (:

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