Become a Workout Warrior

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Today I’m writing about how to turn yourself into a workout warrior! Many people I know despise the very word exercise. It conjures all sorts of images like pain, the gym scene, pain, hours and hours of pounding your body, deprivation and did I mention pain? Those notions about exercise are so last season and today I’m here to deliver the best news. Exercise can actually be…wait for it…ENJOYABLE!

We all know moving the body exemplifies a great way to stay healthy. But let me just list a few of the benefits (as described by the Mayo Clinic) of exercise. 1. It helps keep you at an ideal weight. 2. It helps combat disease. 3. It improves your mood. 4. It boosts your energy. 5. It improves your sex life.

If we know that exercise provides multiple benefits, then why oh why do so many people find it soooo hard to do everyday? I think the answer lies partially in perception. William Blake once wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, man would see everything as it is…. Infinite.” Meaning that your perception colors (and in the case of exercise, limits) everything you do. Part of this negative perception of exercise comes from the industry itself, which works very hard to convince people that they need special powders, potions, lotions, equipment, shoes and pills in order to get in shape. The fact of the matter is you don’t need anything special, except a little motivation, to start your journey towards fitness.

First of all, I suggest forming a picture in your minds eye (a perception) of how you see yourself in six months to a year of kick ass working out. I’m not talking about getting a picture of some skeletal model in your mind. I’m talking about you: Fit. Buff. Awesome! Skinny is also so last season. Don’t aim to be skinny, aim to be healthy! Second, throw away the tired notion that working out has to be an arduous process. If you haven’t been moving your body much, start out with a simple goal, such as, I’m going to walk twenty minutes, three times a week. Get your day timer out and schedule in when you are going to walk. Make an iron clad deal with yourself that you will not miss your workout dates. Treat it like an important business meeting and keep that date with yourself. No.Matter.What! If you can find a friend to walk with you, it might be easier to keep your exercise appointment, because you know someone else is counting on you to get your butt out the door!

After you’ve met your walking goal for several months, begin upping your time. Add in another day of walking, or lengthen your time walking to thirty minutes. Keep adding on time until you are walking 45 minutes per day 5-6 days per week. Then, begin exploring other options of working out. You might decide that you want to throw in some running while you’re out walking. If not, not worries. Not everyone is destined to be a marathon (or even 5K) runner. Try looking at your local library for workout videos, such as yoga, weights or Pilates. Take in an exercise class at a YMCA or yoga studio. In my small town, we have a yoga coop, several gyms, a YMCA and a few ballet studios that offer great deals on all different types of classes. I personally never go to classes or gyms, as they don’t really appeal to me. Your goal should be to work out an hour a day, everyday. You can have one “rest” day, but try to at least get in a walk or put on some music and dance!

I have a motto about working out: I exercise one-hour everyday unless it’s Christmas or I’m vomiting. No Excuses. Once you make exercise a habit, I promise that it will become so important to you that you will miss it on the occasional day that you can’t fit it into your schedule. I sometimes have to drag my butt out of bed at 4:30 am to exercise because I know the day is so full, I won’t get it in otherwise. But it’s totally worth it. I always feel like a badass when the blood starts pumping and it’s only 4:45 in the morning! Just make a goal and start. Before you know it, you will be feeling stronger, seeing muscle form and perceiving yourself as a workout warrior!

Be sure you are eating enough high quality calories of complex carbohydrates so you have the fuel you need to make it through your workouts. If you’re not eating enough, you won’t have the motivation you need to exercise. The following recipe is gluten free, plant based and full of veggies and complex carbs. Keep Shining. Peace Out!

Workout Warrior Pasta Bowl

16 oz package of spiral brown rice noodles (I use the Tinkyada brand)

2 Onions, diced

4 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Bell peppers, diced

1 Cup mushrooms, chopped (any kind, use more if you like)

2 Zucchinis, chopped

2 Cups cherry tomatoes, halved

½ Cup Kalamata Olives, chopped

¼ Cup pine nuts (optional)

Fresh cracked pepper

Sea salt

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Oregano

Fresh Basil

High quality balsamic vinegar

Cook noodles in boiling water for 14 minutes. Drain, rinse and put into very large bowl. While noodles are cooking, in a heavy bottomed skillet, add zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, garlic and onion. Add about half a cup of water and sauté veggies for around 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender. Put veggie mixture into bowl with noodles. Add the cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste. Add in as much fresh thyme, oregano, and basil as you desire (if you don’t have fresh, add in dry spices to the sautéing veggie mixture). Splash a good bit of balsamic vinegar over the top – to taste. Mix the whole dish well with salad tongs. This dish is good hot or cold. Enjoy!

Note: you can also add a high quality ready-made pasta sauce over the top as well. Sometimes I use one of the Muir Glenn marinara sauces.

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