The first post will be the hardest. At least that's what I'm hoping. I thought for the first post here on Highs and Lows, it would only be appropriate to write about the joys of fitness and the benefits of exercise. The title of the blog comes from the desire to better understand myself. Throughout each day, I go through highs and lows. Whether it be emotional highs and lows, self-image highs and lows or plain old unexplainable highs and lows, it's always a struggle to find a nice balance. One of the best ways I manage these fluctuations is through exercise.
If you're like me, motivation to go the gym doesn't come from a built-in microchip. A lot of days, convincing myself to get to the gym takes longer the actual time I spend working out. But, after all the time spent convincing myself to workout, it's always worth it. I've been playing soccer since I was a little kid and sports have always played an important role in my life, but after high school and years of running endless miles as a JV cross-country runner, I thought, "I've had enough!". I was ready to finally relax and gain some weight. (I'm 6'1"-6'2" and my senior year of high school I weighed about 150-155lbs) After my first two years of college, I'd finally put on some weight (I weighed around 170-175lbs). I spent a good amount of time lifting weights and I had cut out most types of cardio training. However, there was one problem. The weight I had put on wasn't healthy weight. Although I was lifting weights, my daily diet consisted of not eating breakfast, 2-3 sodas and at least one frozen pizza. Yes, a whole frozen pizza a day! I went from a skinny and toned, athletic build, to a normal weight but looked like I had big arms and small boobs. I was happy to have gained weight, but as a naturally insecure person when it comes to my physical appearance, I wasn't too happy about having A-cups. It was time to make a change.
Since my junior year of college I've tried to run, lift weights or do some sort of phsyical activity multiple times a week. So far I've done pretty well. I don't think Men's Health magazine will be knocking on my door any time soon to interview me about my workout routine, but that's not really my goal anyways. The real goal has simply to stay consistent and prove to myself that I can be dedicated to something. One of the most gratifying feelings for me is a good lift or run after several months in a row of sticking to a routine. Not only does the physical high from exercising feel good, but the sense of accomplishment you feel from sticking to something you set your mind to, is a high for me in itself. As an anxious person by nature, there are few better moments in my day than after a long run or a game of soccer, when I'm laying on the ground, completely exhausted. It's one of the few times in the day when my mind is completely shut off from thinking. I'm just there on the ground, focused on breathing. All the worries or thoughts I had in mind before starting to run take a back seat to the need for oxygen to get back into my brain.
The funny thing about exercise is that after exhausting your body, you leave the gym full of energy. Maybe your legs are a little tired or don't feel as light as they did before you exercised, but your mind is alert, and in my case, much more alert than before I exercise. I was talking with my roommate Rúben today and he mentioned the same thing. He told me he was going to go to the pool to swim with a slight look of depression on his face. I told him, "You look really excited to go." He replied with a yawn, "I know, right. But I always feel amazing after I go. I have to go." Exercise is a strange activity in that sense. You can dread doing it, but you know once you do do it, you'll leave thinking, "How could I have even thought about not exercising today?" The release of endorphins your brain receives does incredible things to the mind. If you're like me, a bit anxious in general, doing any sort of exercise can make a world of difference between having a stressful day and a calm, normal day. Some days it's not the answer to all my problems, but it always puts me in a better mood and I always leave feeling like no matter what, I accomplished something during my day.
That's all for now from Highs and Lows. Get out there and do some exercise. Whether you're a first-timer, not knowing where to start or a professional runner, get going! You can run 10 miles or you can walk up and down a flight of stairs in your apartment building. Every little bit makes a difference. And if you're lacking some motivation, this video hopefully will make you inspired. If he can do this, exercising for a half