Working Out When You’re Not Athletic

When I was in elementary school I LOVED being physically active. I had an endless supply of energy, I was incredibly competitive, and I may or may not have possessed a need to be the center of attention. I loved being athletic! It was second nature to me. But then I grew up a little and I did a 180.  I hated PE. I didn’t want to run and I wasn’t involved in an organized sports team. With my Dad’s encouragement I joined the girls’ basketball team in sixth grade and I HATED IT. There was this competitive serious attitude and I remember thinking, “We are in the sixth grade. This means nothing let’s just have fun.” And everyone was like, “No we are athletes.” And I thought this is the last time I do this. So I started Irish Dancing as my form of physical activity. But I did it for fun. I wasn't extremely into the activity and I really just wanted to hang out with my friends.

I was participating in a twitter chat last night and some of the questions had to do with athletic backgrounds. Almost everyone said the same thing, “I’ve always been athletic. It’s just who I am.” And I thought, wait a minute…are you telling me you always loved being active? I hated physical activity! I hated physical activity at 23 when I started running. It wasn’t until that day when I ran 3 miles without stopping that I started to enjoy it. I have a really hard time relating to the group of people who have always been athletic. You know the people who have always loved working out. I also don’t really trust them and I say that as the newest member of their club. I wouldn’t trust anyone who loves running as much as I do. It’s just not normal!

I’m not gonna lie, when I see people working out at dawn I still think “that person is crazy.” Then I remember I'm one of them. Even though I run marathons for fun now, it wasn’t too long ago when making it to the gym to get on an elliptical for 30 minutes felt impossible. It was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do because it was embarrassing. I never wanted to go to the gym. I don't enjoy planks and squats because they are literally the worst! (I still hate planks. Squats and I are on good terms, but I like to pretend planks don’t exist.)

Just because you don’t necessarily share the same enthusiasm for physically activity that others possess doesn’t mean you may not like it. I didn't realize running was only hard and unbearable when you get started. Once I was able to run comfortably, everything changed. I was limiting myself because of how I defined myself. Because I wasn’t an athlete or physically active I told myself it just wasn’t for me. It’s all about trying something new and sticking with it. What do you have to lose? A few weeks of your time? Try spinning, lifting weights, cross fit, running, swimming, zumba, walking, golfing, or just getting on an elliptical. Even if you hate working out you may surprise yourself. People change. You may find a love for something you never thought you would enjoy.

So try something new. Sign up for the couch to 5k challenge! Buy a cycle of spinning classes. Join a group that walks. Invest in a gym membership. Just try it for 4 weeks, stick with it, AND SHARE YOUR PROGRESS! Take a picture of yourself and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SIX02Moment! Re-evaluate after 4 weeks. If you still hate it, try something else and don't stop until you find something you enjoy. Because it is possible to enjoy working out.

Just because you aren’t athletic doesn’t mean you can’t try something. You never know, you may love it! Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.  

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.