Exercise is in the Eye of the Beholder

When you think about “working out,” what enters your mind?  Going to a gym to lift weights?  Attending a fitness class?  Training for a 5k or triathlon?  And how many times a week do you fall short of your vision?  My vision of “working out” has changed many times throughout my life, and I could not feel better about where I have landed.

There is no question that I am a bit of an extremist, very competitive, and an overachiever.  When I set out to do something, I go all in.  I became a runner just after college and have since completed 10 marathons, decided to do a triathlon, which led to my first Ironman, fell in love with yoga and went through an intensive 200 hour teacher training program to become an instructor myself.  I thrive on fitness goals and pushing my body to the limits….well, at least I did at one point in my life.

As our three boys have become involved in sports and their own activities, life definitely has changed.  There seems to be so much less time to squeeze in workouts of any kind around our crazy schedules, let alone have the ability to establish a consistent workout routine.  Needless to say, without the ability to have and exercise routine, to have a plan and a goal, I have found myself feeling a bit lost and unsettled.

When my husband, Stephen and I started really leaning into studying health and wellness, I became obsessed with learning more from those who were considered experts on the subject. I read many books and blogs by author Mark Sisson, Paleo and Keto enthusiast and former professional marathon runner.  The shift that I experienced in my perception of healthy exercise after reading his work and research has changed my life.  I no longer feel obligated to plan out a strict regimen or beat myself up if I don’t get to the gym.  Using Mark’s healthy exercise tips below has given me a freedom to embrace our hectic station in life while still being active and enjoying the ride.

Stephen cheering me on at IronMan Arizona in 2012

Tips for a Healthy Fitness Regimen

  1. Do the thing you love: Doing what you love will ensure that you continue doing it.
  2. Workout with a buddy: Having a partner to exercise with not only holds you accountable and makes the workouts more fun, but also lessens the perception of the effort being exerted.  Grab your wife/husband, kids, or a neighbor to make your workout a healthy time for your entire tribe.
  3. Workout outside: According to Mark, “Outdoor workouts result in greater revitalization, increased energy, and more positive engagement with the activities, along with less depression, anger, confusion, and tension.”  Bottom line here, the fresh air and unfiltered sun are good for the soul.
  4. Make your workouts purposeful: Shift your “workout mentality” and help a neighbor move, work in your yard, walk or jog with your dog, jump on the trampoline with the kids.  All of these things are amazingly purposeful and are fun forms of exercise that get your heart pumping.
  5. Savor how exercise makes you feel: After you exercise, you are relaxed and at ease.  Everything around you seems better and more calm.  The only way to bottle that feeling is to exercise again, and that is good motivation!
  6. Try something new:  Yoga, spin classes, jumping at a trampoline park……new exercise routines make things fun and enjoyable.  Go into the new settings with a sense of humor and grace for yourself as you experience something new.


Mark Sisson says that the Paleo lifestyle implores us to “lift heavy things”……Stephen and I sure did! We spent 3 full days hauling slate and stone for these stairs and walkway….not your typical exercise, but rewarding just the same.

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