This is not really what I've learned about fitness, but more what I learned about myself and fitness. I've been putting an emphasis on fitness for 18 months now. Sure, I had stints of "doing things" on and off most of my adult life, but for the last 18 months I've been trying to keep it in the forefront and my approach has been different, more organized. And I've learned a few things about myself.
I've realized that I am MUCH more successful if I have both a goal AND a plan. So instead of saying "boy I'd really like to be able to run", I decided to use a Couch To 5K program. It worked. I didn't cheat. I didn't quit. If I was supposed to run a certain distance, I did it. If I was supposed to run/walk a certain interval, I didn't stop running early and call it complete. I repeated steps that I didn't feel I'd done well or that I didn't feel comfortable doing. It worked.
After 5 months of "running", I decided I should add something else, something in the core/strength area. So I signed up for a 3x/week Crossfit Bootcamp (basically Crossfit without the free weights). I showed up and someone told me what to do and I did it. I never cheated on reps or sets.
After 6 months of Boot Camp 3x/week + running 2 times a week, they discontinued the bootcamp I was attending. So I decided to re-join the Y. I figured there were tons of classes from which to choose, options for running when it was too hot or raining, plus a bunch of other stuff. It was actually cheaper for the whole family than the bootcamp class.
The Y has been great, but I noticed something. After trying out a variety of classes (and not yet finding something I like as much as bootcamp) I found myself using the machines most often. I ran. I did elipticals. I did DIY boot-camp-like exercising. What I didn't do was push myself. In the fall, I went for a run outside and realized how my fitness level was not what it was in the Spring. I found this a bit distressing.
I tried picking up a Couch to 10K program about halfway thru, but found that I didn't feel comfortable with the times/distances that it required. I'd bail out of a run segment and that felt awful. It was frustrating. So I started over. I started from the beginning of the program, even though I wasn't "on the couch" anymore. That's working. Give me instruction and I'll follow it.
Again, I found myself thinking I could/should do more. About a month ago, a Groupon opportunity came up for a new Crossfit Gym ("box"). I grabbed it.
Thursday night I attended a Crossfit session. It's been a terrible, long January work-wise (already!), and I'd had to bail on 2 plans to run/crossfit already this week due to overtime work. So on Thursday, I had the choice of running or Crossfit or a Y cycling class I'd been thinking about trying out. What I really wanted to do was put on my flannel PJs and curl up with a book or in front of the TV. I opted for Crossfit. Why? Because I didn't have to think or negotiate with myself on a plan or distance. Because I knew once I showed up, someone would tell me what to do and I'd do it. And I did.
And since I don't have a photo of my new Crossfit "box", I'll just post these iPhone photos. On the left, one from a short run I took today, taking advantage of this gorgeous January day off. This cool little feature in the Nike+ App that lets you tag photos with your completed run. On the right, an iPhone photo from when I sat down at the beginning of the month to map out my workout plans.