Is Fitness Even Making You Happy?

I have an interesting post today. Well, some of you may find it interesting. I didn’t plan on writing this, but it’s 5:30 AM, and my coffee has me motivated. I wanted to leave something personal with you all for the weekend.

When you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see all of these stories of people working out, what goes through your mind? I’ll tell you what goes through mine. “Wow, I need to get up and go to the gym.” “I should be running more.” “No wonder she has the perfect body.” or “Dang, I’m lazy.”

But guess what? I tried to keep up. I decided to do Hitt workouts, half marathons, and new trendy classes, but my body said “nope.”

Here is what my body did instead.

My body got stressed. My body produced high levels of cortisol. My body swelled. My body packed on pounds. My body didn’t fit any of my clothes. I was getting depressed. My body hated me, and I hated the way I was feeling on the inside. I was getting stressed out because I was revolving my entire day around a stupid workout while trying to convince myself that I actually enjoyed doing it. Sure, there were times where I really enjoyed it, but others I didn’t even want to go. Why was I giving up my ideal workout (walking, yoga, hiking, biking, tennis) for something that made me feel miserable? It was because I wanted to achieve a certain look that I saw while scrolling through every day on Instagram. I just wanted to keep up. Why am I/we always trying to “keep up?”

I learned pretty quick that not all bodies react the same. Some people can weight lift, run, and attain the body they want. Some people have a body that won’t react well to it. I’m one of those people. I LOVE to be active but in less-stressful ways. I enjoy light runs, long walks, playing hours of tennis, yoga, bike rides, and just being on my feet. That is what I enjoy, and what my body reacts to.

Some of you have already noticed that in the past month and a half, I slowed down on all of the crazy workouts and I replaced them with long walks and tennis. Well, guess what? I can now fit back into my clothes, I don’t have insane anxiety, I’m not stressed about fitting in workouts, and I’m not sore all the time. I still don’t weigh myself, but I can see the difference and certainly feel it.  It’s not even about the physical difference, my entire mind and mental state are different. I’m actually happier for once.

I think the hardest part is saying “no.” I’d love to join a hardcore CrossFit or long run with friends, but I know it puts more stress on my body than good. Instead,  have to opt for long walks or something less stressful. Running ten miles is no different than walking ten miles. Faster isn’t always better.

It’s so easy to let ourselves believe we should be doing what everyone else is doing. I’ve seen comments on my blog from girls who started going more HIIT workouts because I was doing more HIIT workouts. I really don’t want it to be that way! I want everyone to do what THEY want to do, and when they want to do it. You know your body better than anyone else, so before trying to do what someone else is doing, really think to yourself and make sure it’s going to make you happy and healthy.

Always do what you wanna do and be who you wanna be!

Questions for you!

  1. Do you ever feel guilty for not working out after browsing social media?
  2. Do you ever try to do what others are doing?
  3. What is your relationship with fitness?

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Yes yes yes yes to all of this.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    You should go on a diet.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Zoe

    Do you ever feel guilty for not working out after browsing social media?

    Absolutely! But not as much as I used to. I’m not a work out person. I’d rather go PLAY. But I am trying to do 30 minutes of something (stretch, yoga, body-weight, or dumbbell workouts that I can do in my room) when I get up in the morning.

    Do you ever try to do what others are doing?
    Only if I am genuinely interested, or even just curious. I tried T25 once and only made it a week to ten days in because it hurt my knees. Now I look for workouts that don’t require a lot of stress on my knees. (So, no jumping)

    What is your relationship with fitness

    Complicated. I loved sports and I’ve had a hard time adjusting to not having a coach to keep me in shape. I also don’t have the time that I had as a kid.

    Reply to Zoe
  • Jen

    I did this and found myself with chronic pain and illness. I had my dream body, but it was taking up my entire life and I couldn’t even appreciate my body. I had to have pelvic surgery and I’ve been in PT for the last year now. I’ve learned a ton. To me it doesn’t matter what type of exercise is the best or the newest trend, it’s about doing the exercise that makes me feel good and keeps my body healthy. I still weight lift, but a lot more in moderation now and I tend to walk more and bike. Good job listening to your body! That can extremely difficult. As a fellow ED sister I feel you and I’m so proud of you!

    Reply to Jen
  • Nsh

    Have you read a book called Are you Wired and Tired? By Marcelle Pick? I came across it at the local library and the author suggests that for some women their adrenal system could be over taxed by our modern lifestyles (always on the go so soaring cortisol levels all the time) and that for many women extreme exercise might actually make us more tired and gain weight. She is a big advocate for “gentle” exercise like walking etc. Consistently walking and maintaining a sensible moderate diet has made me feel energized- more so than when I was running marathons! You might really like reading the book too.

    Reply to Nsh
  • Em

    Hey girl! Love the transparency here – much appreciated!

    I’m actively recovered from an ED and have an anxiety disorder. My former health coach told me I’m prone to adrenal fatigue – apparently it’s pretty common amongst perfectionists. I think I’m going through a flare up right now, perhaps from too much work, lifting and not enough fun. Would LOVE to hear about more of your ongoing plan to come back from AF. 🙂 I’m anxious about slowing down at the gym, but if it help me get back to my normal body, energy levels, digestion, and dietary cues, it’s more than worth it.

    Thanks again for being open with us on this topic!

    Reply to Em
  • Naj

    Good for you, Taralynn. As someone who has been on the journey of self discovery from overworking my body, to weight lifting, to starving myself, and now finally on a more intuitive path with regards to both eating and activity, I’m really overjoyed to read about this.

    Have been following you for a while and could relate to so many of your struggles and victories, and I hope you know that there are people out there rooting for you to be happy and healthy. 🙂 which I know from personal experience is such an ongoing process

    Reply to Naj
  • Jen

    I think that the most important thing is that we find ways to remain active that we enjoy. That requires flexibility and an open mindset on our parts because what we enjoyed in the past may not be what drives us today….and what works today may change in the future. Likewise what works for us doesn’t necessarily work for others, and social media makes it so easy to compare ourselves. That comparison can be positive when it inspires but it can just as easily spiral into depression. It is important that we slow down and be mindful of that so we know when to put the devices down. Thanks for such a introspective post!

    Reply to Jen
  • Han

    Weren’t you trying out fat heavy diets for a while? Like when you came back from Hawaii, didn’t you do Keto for a while? When people take on new types of diets and dont change other factors accordingly, weight gain seems expected. Just another explanation for the weight gain/puffiness

    Reply to Han
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Han!

      I’ve never dieted or done Keto 🙂 My mom was doing it (and the family i was with in Hawaii), so I’d make her treats and foods for the diet, but I don’t ever diet. I actually went and saw a doctor about the weight gain and it was all caused by my levels of stress and cortisol. I also have some thyroid issues that I haven’t addressed on the blog yet, but I eventually will! Working out is great for me, but I have to do it in ways that keep my cortisol down. I find that walking, hiking, and doing MORE lighter activities help me. I went back and saw my doctor again a month and a half later after taking a break and he said I had dropped 6.1 lbs (which would explain why my clothes fit again), but I asked him not to give me a number on the scale. It just goes to show that all of our bodies react differently to different lifestyles.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Traci

    I absolutely love this post. I think you are 100% right – everyone’s body is different, and therefore everyone’s ideal combination of fitness / activity / food is going to look different! I’ve learned this over and over again through talking to several friends after doing a Whole30 – my body absolutely loved it and felt amazing, but some of my friends felt lethargic, had no energy, and were moody because their bodies needed a different balance of foods than what they were getting on the W30. Exercise is of course the same, but it is SO easy to see someone doing something on social media, notice how pretty/toned/happy/energetic they seem, and conclude that we need to do that same thing too so we can get the same results. That idea of “keeping up” has been on my mind a lot lately, not just in relation to food and fitness, but to pretty much everything. Our generation is the first one that has grown up totally connected to everyone around us – we know what clothes they’re wearing, what kind of house/apartment they live in, how often they work out, etc. etc. – even if we never speak to them in real life! I think all of this has taken a toll on people in our age bracket to all want to “keep up” with each other, but we need to take a stand like you have in this post and remind each other that everyone needs to do what works for THEM and not feel like we have to compare to one another all the time. So, so loved this perspective – thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you’re doing what feels good for you and that you’re feel better as a result! 🙂

    Reply to Traci
  • Jessy

    Wonderful post. I have been feeling the same and having a hard time explaining it!

    Reply to Jessy
  • Chelsea

    I was curious if you’re still tracking your food since you aren’t doing such intense workouts. I feel like sometimes that also adds stress, and I know you’ve said before you lost weight when you were eating more intuitively. I recently went back to just eating whole, nutritious foods (not tracking) and doing whatever exercise I feel like doing, and I feel so much more mentally strong.

    Reply to Chelsea
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I haven’t changed my diet at all if anything I’m eating more now. I tracked my food now and then while working out and stuck to a pretty clean diet. Working out didn’t make me feel hungry all the time like it does to others. I definitely follow an intuitive lifestyle the best.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily

    This is so great because it’s exactly me right now. The thing I was struggling with at first was that I DID love my workouts and I was enjoying it and seeing results. Then in August I started school on top of work and dropped everything. But you know what else I dropped – weight. When I started adding in workouts I realized my new lifestyle was making me stress eat and the added workouts were making me hungry ALL THE TIME. I am trying to move more generally but you’re right – I have started hating my workouts. Thanks for posting this. I think it’s important and a really good grounding for me as I wanted to really push through the next few weeks until Thanksgiving and finals and be on top of everything. Happy that things are working out for you as well!

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Emily!

      Crazy how we can all relate sometimes. It sometimes takes trial and error over time to realize what is best for your body and your lifestyle. Over-exercising can be a serious mental problem which takes the body into a stress mode. It’s great you’ve figured out what works best for YOU and YOUR lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with exercising on your own time, and skipping it when you can’t. Exercise schedules are overrated. 😉 Focus on happy! xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Harriet

    Thank you for being 100% real! It’s true we all at some point get caught up with every thing on social media, but a lot of that can be fake as well just to get likes.

    I stated seeing a nutritionist about 2 months ago to see what I could improve on with in my diet, I have cut out 90% carbs and upped my protein intake, the difference is amazing I feel better, fuller longer and have more energy. I have also started setting goals at the end of each day for the following day, like walk 7km and do a yoga class, or go running then a swim, I have found this has helped me a lot. I have gone down a cloths size! And I haven’t weighed my self since throwing out the scales. And I feel amazing! My relationship with fitness is an odd one, I love crossfit but limited my self to 3 days a week , I seem to work out so much that I burn myself out, so learning to know my limits has been a challenge. Thanks for a great post!

    Reply to Harriet
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Of course, you are 100% right.

      Seems like you have it all figured out! Congrats on your success. I love how happy you sound! 🙂 Totally get what you mean about being burned out on fitness. Toning it down helps a lot.

      Keep up the great work!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Addison

    Social media can be so stressful because it makes you feel like you should be doing more of what other people are doing! But, the more I listen to my own body, the better I feel. Everyone is different! I’m with you, I feel better when I actually enjoy what I’m doing and not pressuring myself to measure up! Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    Reply to Addison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Addison!

      I’m totally guilty of that. I see people making this or doing that and I feel as if maybe I should do the same. I know we all feel like that at times. But you’re right, you have to listen to yourself.

      XO

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelsey

    So needed to hear this today! I tried Kayla Itsines BBG workout and I tried to get into lifting because I was seeing girls on instagram doing these workouts and looking amazing. The truth was that I hated these workouts. I enjoy running, walking and boxing so much more.

    I’m actually looking into becoming a personal trainer and I know you’ve been studying for that. I was wondering what program you’re doing and if you’d recommend it?

    Reply to Kelsey
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kelsey!

      Been there! Done that! So many times. I always just go back to doing what I enjoy, so why change it or why not just stay consistent with what we love!?

      I’ve been using ACE! It’s pretty tough (for me anyway) but very organized and all online.

      Keep kicking butt!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Stacy

    I’m really glad I read this today. I was starting to get frustrated with myself for not feeling “motivated” to workout. My thought process has always been you need to workout because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I need to really start listening to what my body is saying. I need to tune in to what makes me feel happy physically and emotionally. So thank you!

    Reply to Stacy
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Stacy!

      I’m glad I wrote it. Sometimes that quiet time at 5 AM brings out the real talk!

      Who says we are “supposed” to do it? I mean, as long as we are active in ways that make us happy, we are completely fine! I’m a believer in being active, but doing it in stress-free ways! Most doctors would agree!

      Focussing on your physical/emotional health is the best thing you can do!

      xo xo xo

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amanda

    I love this post. I’m glad you reached this point and I definitely agree!

    Have you heard of cycle thinking? http://www.leefromamerica.com/blog/2017/5/1/cycle-syncing it’s a new (or maybe old) way of thinking for women to really listen to their bodies in terms of diet/exercise at dif times of the month. If you push yourself to go for a long run bc you feel like you should but everything in your body is saying no, it’s actually doing you more harm than good

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      That was incredibly interesting! Thank you for sharing. I agreed with a lot of those points for sure and could totally relate! I had never heard of cycle thinking, but now I’m super interested!

      Taralynn

      THANKS AGAIN!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Hrafnhildur Karlsdóttir

    1) Yes I can relate so much with the guilt! Which I have found out is so unhealthy
    2) Yep always looking for the magic fix that other people are doing…
    3) I was stressing about having a plan and doing certain things every day but I have found it put a lot of stress on my body. I am trying now to listen to my body and walking more.
    This blog post was very important for me and I can relate very much to this 🙂 Thank you so much for this post and honesty!

    Reply to Hrafnhildur Karlsdóttir
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, There!

      Very unhealthy for sure! Truth is, there is no magic fix. I think happiness fixes a lot though!

      Walking is so amazing for your mental & physical health! It always makes me feel so great after a long walk with my dogs.

      Glad you enjoyed the post & thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shelby

    LOVE THIS. I feel like people get caught up in running and lifting being the only options to get in shape. I’ll admit, I do the same thing. I truly don’t mind lifting or running, but it’s not tons of fun for me. I just want to be stronger and more confident with myself. I love that you’re removing the impression that taking selfies of yourself lifting at the gym is the only way to be fit.

    Reply to Shelby
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Shelby!

      Me too! I think MOST of us are guilty of this.

      I think the best way to be “fit” is to be happy. Happiness is the only fit I want !:)

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Luisa

    Thank you for sharing. This resonated well with me. 1) yes, I feel guilty when browsing instagram. Like, they can do all that fun stuff because they worked out regularly and became strong – go get up move, too!
    2) No, I usually just take that as inspiration for how I could freshen up some of my exercises but when back at the gym I usually stick to what I know (also where I know how the form is correct).
    3) My relationship with fitness is mixed. I like how I feel while and after doing it but somehow I struggle to get myself going beforehand. It’s weird. But just lije you, I enjoy yoga and team activities. It’s fun 😅

    Reply to Luisa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Luisa! (Love our name by the way)

      You just have to realize it’s just a picture! Gotta move when you want to and the way you want to. I like the “proud” feeling after I go and the endorphins. I don’t like the stress it puts on my body when I’m worried about fitting it in or feeling bad cause I forgot to. That’s when “going with the flow” method works! Yes, yoga is much more fun! Such a de-stressor!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Elisabeth

    I could have written this post!

    Do you ever feel guilty for not working out after browsing social media?
    I try not to think about it. I know some people dedicate themselves to fitness and dieting and I’m glad if they find happiness in their way of life, but it’s not what works for me.

    Do you ever try to do what others are doing?
    It happens – I have lots of coworkers really into crossfit and wheightlifting, and I like to join them sometimes, but my body clearly doesn’t like it. I’m their reference when it comes to running and it’s perfectly fine for me.

    What is your relationship with fitness?
    Now, it’s really healthier than in the past. I developed an ED after a traumatic loss 2 years ago and it came with a fitness obsession : effort was the only way to forget my pain, it wasn’t fun at all, I felt good only when exhausted, sore and drenched in sweat.
    Moving in an other place really helped me to get back in a sane way of life. My love for running came back and now I don’t exercise because I have to but because I enjoy the activity : dance, yoga and barre are my thing!

    Reply to Elisabeth
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Elisabeth!

      Glad you can relate. Sometimes we feel alone with our thoughts, but so many people are experiencing the same. This post was for anyone going through it as well. You are right. That lifestyle DOES WORK for some people, but sometimes not for me or the next person. That is great that you KNOW what works for you and you are confident in your department. I’m so happy to hear that you are on a healthy path. I know how scary an ED can be and it feels impossible at times. Keep doing your thing! It sounds like you are happy, and that is all that matters!

      XO

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelsey

    Amazing.

    Thank you!

    Reply to Kelsey
  • Jess

    I so needed this today!

    Reply to Jess
  • Annie

    This is why you are my favorite blogger! Thank you for being so real.

    Reply to Annie
  • Amanda

    This post really hit home for me! And what perfect timing too! In the past, I did HIIT too. Looking back, I think I enjoyed them because some days, I’d actually do TWO a day. I liked the feeling of being strong but I knew it was hard on my body. My back would hurt, my knees would hurt, and I while I was slimming down, I’d also get comments on the muscles I was building. Something I DIDN’T want. I’ve always wished I could look slim like runners BUT I’m not a runner and I’m naturally muscular. I’ve always heard you should enjoy your exercise because you won’t do it long term if you don’t. So true! I’ve been going through a massive diet change (primarily low carb to vegan!) and now I’m seeking out exercise that I enjoy but also is easy on my body. You’ve only got one and it needs to last! 🙂 I think I’m going to get back into yoga but even too much of that can be hard on you. Have you found tennis is tough on your knees?

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      HIIT twice a day? How! One a day was taking so much out of me. You are right, you have to enjoy your workouts. Not only do you have to enjoy them, you have to take a break from them. Change it up. Yoga is amazing. Great sweat session and a perfect way to relax and de-stress. Tennis can be hard on your knees if you don’t use the proper shoes, but Kyle and I only play weekends and stretch before and after!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    I feel like I’ve gone through very similar cycles! I started lifting heavy weights to ‘get a booty’ because everyone else was doing it. And it didn’t make me feel good at all (and killed my knees). I did trendy gym workouts because everyone else was doing it, but I honestly just don’t like being in a gym. I’d much rather do an at home workout that takes a quick 30-40 minutes!

    I don’t have ANY social media for almost that exact reason. I had such an unhealthy, comparison based relationship with social media, and it was constantly making me feel bad about myself. Ever since I deleted everything years ago, I’ve been way happier.

    I REALLY try to incorporate fitness in a way that makes me feel healthy and strong. When I start to beat myself up for missing a workout, it’s a red flag that I’m not in a good mindset with it. I like to challenge myself, but I also need to realize that fitness should make me HAPPY, not stressed. It’s a tricky relationship for me! And always a work in progress.

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Susie!

      Sounds like you did the trial and error cycle, but finally found what works for you!

      I think if I didn’t have a blog, I’d be social media free too. My boyfriend doesn’t have it and I think he’s a happier person because of it.

      Yes, glad you recognize that as a red flag!

      Keep up the good work and the good mindset.

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Paula

    Amen! Social media has us feeling so pressured to match or exceed what others do. We’ve completely lost focus on the fact that it’s about being healthy and happy -with balance, not looking a certain way. I worry what message this sends to younger women and girls who are very influenced by what they see. I wish more bloggers and Instagrammers would keep it real. Great post!

    Reply to Paula
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Paula!

      I think we all feel that way on Instagram or other social media platforms, and that’s why we live in such a weird world. Can we just go back to the early 2000s? lol

      I think we have to teach our (and future) kids that social media can be dangerous and we have to take what we see with a grain of salt & to know what is and isn’t healthy!

      🙂 xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Melissa

    I see photos of ladies with really amazing bodies and I feel a little jealous; but then realize they may spend HOURS a day exercising. I just don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to just exercising–nor, at 48 years old, could I do it.

    I just want to be healthy and look good–I don’t have to be super thin or muscular (nothing wrong with either of those things; but it’s not for me). I, too, like walks, yoga, belly dancing, hula hoop exercises, etc. (more sort of “low key” things) and once in a while I throw in a hard core kettle bell DVD just so my body doesn’t get too comfortable! LOL.

    I say–whatever you love to do it–do it! If you are “forcing” yourself to do a certain exercise then not only will you not be happy–you probably won’t maintain your exercise regimen either (and who wants to dread getting healthy)? If you love hard core/heavy duty stuff and your body enjoy it–do it. If you like yoga, meditating & walks–do it. Life’s too short to make yourself (or your body) miserable.

    Reply to Melissa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      You’re right, but also! It can be a lot about genetics, too! We may spend that much time doing the same workouts and eating the same foods as them, but we will never look that way. Or we may see a person have an incredible body, but they may not have to work for it at all. We just assume they do, but they have incredible genetics. I know a lot of people who never workout or eat right and look incredible! We just have to be happy about what God gave us! In the end, it’s not about looks that is going to make us happy. Happy looks good.

      🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    Like to keep my dashboard a very inspiring and motivating place for me to get motivation, and also self-love. So I’m very selective with the accounts I follow. I totally understand where you’re coming from, but I also know that guilt is also a total waste of energy that I could put into loving myself more, or getting up off my butt and doing something about the situation I’m in! I actually made a YouTube video about the workout guilt or any other sort of guilt people deal with and how much of an energy drainer it is. Do you have any fitness goals right now, Tara? Or are you just cruising the ride.

    Overcoming workout guilt(if you don’t mind me sharing!)

    https://youtu.be/riMIMI9Ffg8

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is a great idea, Linda.

      My fitness goal is to stay active, but in ways that I love and ways that are stress-free! I want to go with the flow and just enjoy life! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • debbie in alaska

    I also have one of those body types that puts on weight and stores everything the harder and more often I work out – especially with running and cardio. It used to frustrate me but somewhere along the line I just accepted that my body is unique and functions the way it sees fit. I only dance these days. Ballet, tap and jazz. And I love every second of it. I won’t go to the gym. Or run. Or lift weights or do anything that doesn’t make my body happy. That doesn’t mean I am afraid to work hard — I’ll dance for 3 hours and love every second of it. I just refuse to do anything my body doesn’t like. I think my body definitely responds better that way 🙂

    Reply to debbie in alaska
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Debbie in Alaska (lol that made me laugh)

      Yes, there is a point where you just need to accept yourself. I love that you’re doing what YOU WANT! That is the best kind of workout you can possibly do. So cool you dance 🙂 I love to dance, but I’m so so so bad at it lol

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! As much as I love your blog, I was thinking of unfollowing because I believe some posts were putting me in an unhealthy state of mind. Not because of what you were posting but because I was trying to “keep up” and achieve things that weren’t what I loved to do. So thank you for that insight and personal post! Sending love! Xx

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Lauren!

      Love your honesty.

      I think we all go through trying to keep up, and eventually realize that the only person we need to keep up with is ourselves. And how can we do that if we are trying to keep up with others as well? xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Alexa

    I really like this post! I often feel guilty when I scroll social media and see accounts I really like working out all the time. It does the opposite of motivating me because I think “ugh, I SHOULD be doing HIIT, or lifting weights, or doing 45 minutes – 60 minutes of intense workouts” when that’s not what I enjoy doing at all. I have tried to do what others do and it has led me to not doing much and just feeling guilty! I love hiking and walking with my dogs and my husband and I are attempting to improve our tennis game (we are so so bad). I always feel so happy after a hike or a long walk outside or even on the treadmill, but in the back of my mind I think about how I should be doing other things. So, i’m working on improving my relationship with fitness! Thanks again for posting this! It really put my mind at ease as this is something that has recently been stressing me!

    Reply to Alexa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Alexa!

      I agree and have been there as well. Most of the time when I try new things, it’s because someone else is raving about it. I always end up going back to what I love. Learning my lesson this time. It’s great you recognize that those workouts aren’t for you. You sound a lot like me! I also love hiking and tennis and being with my dogs! 🙂 That is fitness to me! There are more things in lie to be stressed about! Don’t let this get to you!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
    • Linda @ The Fitty

      “Shoulds” are a waste of energy because they foster up so much guilt! You’re doing incredibly well with teh hikes and long walks–there is a season for everything, and perhaps this just isn’t your season for HIIT or other super intense workouts–but that’s not to say that you won’t ever have that season of your life again 🙂

      Reply to Linda @ The Fitty
  • Ashley

    LOVED THIS. It’s also exactly what I needed to see today =).

    Reply to Ashley
  • Mélodie

    1.Do you ever feel guilty for not working out after browsing social media?
    I don’t feel guilty as I already developed the habit of working out 6x a week. I’ve been doing that for years and it’s now a habit. I don’t think twice about it. However, I sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough when I see fitness models everywhere on social media. I have to keep reminding myself that I would feel miserable trying to achieve that look, that I have other passions than just ‘working out’ and that I’m most happy living a healthy balanced life. Having to worry about fitting in ‘macros’ or doing a certain amount of strength training is not worth being ripped or having a six pack. I’d rather do what I love (HIIT, hiking, running long distance and a bit of weights) while eating a balanced diet and treating myself when I feel like it ;).

    2.Do you ever try to do what others are doing?
    Everything I love is because someone else did it before me. I just found out what I liked and what I disliked while experiencing with fitness trends.

    3.What is your relationship with fitness?
    I think it’s relatively good. I used to be so obsessive about the workouts I did and the food I ate. It didn’t take long before I developed an eating disorder. I’ve been free from it now for a few years but I had to make important changes, both in my mindset and in my habits. Fitness shaped me as a person and is now an important part of my identity. It helped me gain self-confidence. It made me realize that I could do so much more than I told myself I could. It helped me deal with emotions, anxiety, depression. It gave me a sense of identity and it offered me a sense of community I could not find else where. It made me proud of who I am.

    Reply to Mélodie
  • Jordan

    It’s always important to listen to your body! When I was working out crazy amounts, I started to gain or just became stagnant and I was wondering what was up with my body?! I started counting macros and then I realized that is where my problem was … I was definitely eating too much. It’s all about calories in vs calories out! Now I eat intuitively because counting macros became obsessive.. like an eating disorder. and I have struggled with that before. I am much happier now working out 4 days a week, eating when I know I am hungry and staying at my current weight, which I am very happy with at the moment 🙂 compared to the 6-7 days a week of working out and restricting my food.
    I never make myself feel guilty for not working out. I learned not to “punish” my body.
    I don’t really give into the hype. I like to mix things up. my favorite is weights for when I am mad/upset and yoga for stress and flexibility. my relationship with fitness is so much healthier now than it was a year or so ago.
    I hope your weekend is great!!

    Reply to Jordan
  • Marissa

    Wow! This post really resonated with me. There have definitely been days that I feel guilty for not working out. I had to stop following some IG accounts because they were making me feel guilty for not working out or working out as much as I thought I should. Thank you for posting about this!

    Reply to Marissa
  • Shaina

    I have felt the same way! I tried doing HIIT workouts and it only caused my body pain and me to get migraines. I feel like social media makes you believe that those workouts are the only thing that will work but that is not the case! I enjoy more of a laidback approach to working out myself and I have felt much better since.

    Reply to Shaina
  • Abbey

    I so agree with all of this! I’ve tried many different kinds of fitness classes and trends and had similar experiences as you. When I ran a half marathon, I gained weight. I tried Crossfit, and I was sore ALL the time.
    As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized you don’t have to beat your body up! Not at all! Lighter forms of exercise that make you feel good are where its at! I also love walking now, whereas before I would have felt lazy for not running. I also love pilates, yoga, and barre. When I do these exercises that make my body feel good, I want to do more, instead of feeling like I HAVE to do more.
    This was a great post. I’ve been reading your blog for years and it makes me happy to see you gaining insight and learning what’s best for you! Xo

    Reply to Abbey
  • Katie Dake

    When I see people who look amazing on Instagram, I think – “They must have worked really hard for that!”, and here’s why.
    “Comparison is the thief of joy” is my favorite quote, and I have it posted everywhere to remind me of that. No matter what you accomplish, if you compare yourself to someone who does better it diminishes it. It’s such an excellent reminder to be who you are, and not worry about what other people are doing.

    Reply to Katie Dake
  • Nicole

    My question isn’t entirely related to this post, but more of a general question for you. I know that you struggled with getting healthy in the beginning and I’m struggling with that now. I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I seriously feel like I binge way too often and I’m always eating when I’m not hungry. I can’t seem to get myself to stop doing that, and I also can’t seem to get myself to eat healthier. I have good intentions and buy healthy food at the grocery store, but when I get home from work at night I decide on something horribly unhealthy. Your food in your posts always looks so delicious, but for some reason it’s not at all what I reach for. How did you get yourself into the habit of cooking healthy meals and even ordering healthy things when you’re out? I really need to get over the hump to get into the healthy lifestyle because I love the taste of healthy food and I love how it makes me feel, but I just never do it.

    Reply to Nicole
  • Kelli

    It’s like you read my mind with this post! My friends are all extremely fit and very active, my husband is a gym rat who wakes up at 5am to lift. I tried so hard to keep up with my friends and husband, but I wasn’t happy. Honestly, I’m still not but I’m better off than I was when I was trying to keep up. It’s helped me learn what works for me mentally, and I’m still waiting to see if it works for me physically. I learned that I’m not a runner…I forced myself to run several miles and I always felt awful afterwords. My body is not meant to run, I have chronic shin splints and plantar fasciitis so I got 0 enjoyment out of it, more of a mental check mark. I get anxiety when I go to the gym, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and that I’m being judged (I’m not…but that’s how it feels). What I’ve gained over the past few months is knowing that I benefit from the structure of fitness classes. I’m being led and instructed so I don’t have to wonder if I’m doing it right or not. This has helped me mentally for sure, hoping the physical results will be soon to follow!

    Reply to Kelli
  • Hannah

    Wow, this is exactly what I’ve been struggling with! I’ve been seeing this one HIIT workout program that so many girls have been loving and seeing great success with but each time I force myself to do it, my body hates it and I hate it. But I keep trying it because it’s supposed to give me the body I want even though I hate every second of it. I end up feeling like i’m not doing enough when I’m doing what I enjoy – walking, light runs, sports, and some strength training.

    Thank you so much for this encouragement and perspective! We need more of this on the internet.

    Reply to Hannah
  • Kylie

    One of my favorite posts of yours recently! It is so easy to scroll past what everyone else is doing and think I should be doing that too, but I’m starting to be more comfortable with my body just the way it is doing the kind of workouts I like to do. After struggling with disordered eating and disordered workouts, it feels good to go for a walk and actually feel like that’s “enough” of a workout for the day. 🙂

    Reply to Kylie
  • Emily L.

    Girl, I am right there with you!! I picked up running in college, and since then have run 12 half marathons. But over the last year and a half, I have slowed up on running. I tried my hand at more intense workouts and weight lifting, but I played tennis in high school and have gotten my fiance into it. I love walking when the weather is so beautiful (especially fall!) and if my body feels like a HIIT workout or a run, I’ll do it. Great job on this post. It’s just what I needed! 😀

    Reply to Emily L.
  • Stephanie

    I love this! I needed to hear this! I’ve been trying to become a runner for years, but injury after injury keeps holding me back. And why do I want to run so bad? Because of all these strong, amazing women on social media making it seem fun and awesome. Maybe it’s time for me to admit to myself that running isn’t for me….At least not in this moment. I admire you so much! You inspire me every day! Please don’t ever stop blogging. I’ll be so lost….❤️

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Leah

    So much this! I remember reading about you doing HIIT and I thought “I wonder if my Y offers those kind of classes?” Yet, I know I don’t like those workouts. I’ll see people at the Y doing body pump and boot camp and feel like I need to do them…but I HATE those type of workouts. I finally figured out that what I like doing keeps me doing it! I love step class and dance blast and they make me feel so good! I actually enjoy them and look forward to going. I’m not a runner, but I LOVE walking. It really is about finding what fits for you and what makes you happy. If it’s going to be your lifestyle, make it something fun that YOU enjoy! Thanks for this post!

    Reply to Leah
  • Orsi

    Hi Tara! Great post and it is so true! I actually lost 23 lbs in the past 8 years and never really give credit to myself because I always compare. I feel like if I could only run, I would be skinny because that is what I read everywhere. That running is the one thing that will do that. I have struggled trying to run so many times but it never really sticks because I don’t enjoy it. I played Division I tennis and I could be out on the tennis court for hours moving around (which also burns tons of calories) but I never really considered it THE work out of the day. I went and ran after tennis as my workout. And I was exhausted. But our bodies do work differently, I found tennis, barre classes, and yoga helpful and even doing weights I enjoy sometimes. My friend did a genetic testing to figure out couple things about her body and she found out that her fitness make up was 70% power and 30% endurance. She always enjoyed doing weights more and struggled with cardio. We are built differently, we just gotta find our own thing and embrace it! Have a great weekend!

    Reply to Orsi
  • Dana

    Great post, and something that has been on my mind since yesterday when I found old photos on my computer; I had taken “befores” when I decided to commit to getting back in shape (I had a stress gain) and decided to do Kayla Itsenes workouts and she says to take befores to be proud of your results. Well, I didn’t get the Instagram-able body in 12 weeks like her guides say. I was so miserable. I didn’t even like her workouts to be honest, too much much the same thing over and over again. It’s 2 years later and I can see a big difference in the healthy changes I’ve made. (Exercise I like, mindful eating, rest…) But it’s 2 years not 12 weeks.

    So I’ve stopped following a lot of results based ‘Grams. I feel bad where I’m at instead of proud. I also think that people are putting in more work than they say or if they say some admit to going to the gym twice a day. I find that behavior a little unhealthy and unrealistic. (I know everyone’s healthy is different, but as someone who has struggled with disordered eating and issues, I see red flags in a lot of their behavior.)

    Right now I’ve found my fitness sweet spot, 2 classes a week at Orange Theory (I love here so much, and I’ve never liked classes except yoga before), and 2 home workouts (I’m mixing yoga downloads and barre and some pinned workouts.) It seems to work for me. When I try to workout 5 times, I get tired and hungry and 3 isn’t enough. It’s taking longer to get where I want to be, but I’m happy with it right now. That’s the thing about mind/body work, what worked a year or even a month ago might not be the right thing for you at the time and you have to listen to yourself.

    PS- perhaps the readers that you inspired to try HIIT love doing it, or were glad they’ve tried it and said “not for me”, see it positively. 🙂

    Reply to Dana
  • Lauren

    Thank you!!! Thank you so so much for this post! The last couple of months I have been throwing myself in to every pump class, bootcamp session and gosh knows what else because I’ve wanted to feel better about myself after putting on over 14lb in the last year!! I used to love these types of workouts so I was sure that they would work for me, but low and behold, I’ve actually put on even more weight and I need to start looking at buying new clothes as nothing fits. The thing is, I really don’t enjoy the classes and exercise that I used to as much as I thought I did. I’ve recently really started enjoying a 30/40 min run outside at the weekend, hot yoga and the odd spin class and swim session so why aren’t I doing more of that!? Thank you for inspiring me to stop with the gruelling workouts which just lead me to feel miserable (and reaching for the nearest tub of ice cream/cookies as ‘reward’ and completely overeating!), and focusing on activities which I enjoy. I hope you have a lovely weekend! xx

    Reply to Lauren
  • nicole @ bento momentos

    This post. I can relate 100%. My body likes long walks, yoga, and occasional lifting session. My body can tolerate pilates or barre once in a while. And it doesn’t care for running. I keep telling myself I’m going to sign up for X, Y, and Z fitness class to be long and lean, but my unpredictable schedule and “thriftiness” convince me to do YouTube workouts instead. And I don’t always go through with those. Definitely listen to your body, it’s easier said than done. A lot of these girls with the “perfect body” on instagram? They might be posed, or photoshopped. It might’ve taken them drastic measures to get where they’re at right now. It’s easier to post the highlights and not the entire picture. Take care, Taralynn.

    Reply to nicole @ bento momentos
  • Kaitlyn

    I thought I was the only one who felt crummy after hard workouts! In the last year I’ve gained some weight, and I really want to get back to where I was. I’ve tried so many different things and I hate it all. Whenever I see things on social media along the lines of “I love the high I get when I run!” “Exercise is how I fight my depression!” I feel so defeated. I don’t feel good after a hard work out. Even when I drink enough water, eat the “right” food, I still feel nauseous and exhausted. I’ve felt guilty about just walking on the treadmill at the gym while everyone around me is lifting and sprinting. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been following your blog for year and years, and I always feel so encouraged by you. Thank you!

    Reply to Kaitlyn
  • Melissa Sutton

    Thank you so much for this post. After I gave birth and then a few months later, I decided to get active and “diet” to get back to my prepregnancy weight. I would treat myself occasionally on the weekends but still worked out at least 25 minutes a day every day. I did lose the weight and I did feel great but then something changed. I had a sick kid who clinged to me so I couldn’t get up and work out before work or I accidentally slept in and didn’t get to work out that day. I started being defined of what the number on the scale was and thinking I was a failure if I missed my daily workout. I am trying to find a happy medium for myself and so far that is hard. Thank you for writing this post. It spoke volumes to me.

    Also social media is the worst. Always comparing ourselves with others.

    Reply to Melissa Sutton
  • Hayley

    This. Is. So. Relevant. I’m so glad you wrote this because I feel exactly the same way. I always feel guilty after being and social media and seeing some of the workouts/bodies of these people.. even if I had just worked out! I definitely have tried to do what others are doing and I think that’s when I completely fall off the wagon.. I get so bored and spend weeks lessening my workout because I don’t look forward to doing them. I do love fitness though & this definitely put me in a new light of doing fitness because I love what I’m doing and it makes me feel good. Thank you thank you thank you for being you and writing stuff like this.

    Reply to Hayley
  • Anonymous

    Hi Taralynn,
    This is such a relatable post! I unfollowed all fitness accounts for this reason a while back. Social media can be a great way to connect but it’s challenging not to compare yourself to others while scrolling. Zumba is my favorite workout and I’m excited I get to do it this morning 🙂

    Thanks,
    Karissa

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Vanessa

    Lovely post and so well timed because I am experiencing something similar at the moment! Over the last years I repeated had phases in which I thought I’d have to follow certain training schemes and get my daily workout in no matter what. Needless to say that it was super frustrating and I was stressed instead of happy and healthy as these instagram people seemed to be. Now in the last weeks I have been super busy with uni and had no time for such workout schedules. Still I noticed that after a day behind my desk I needed some physical activity. So I started biking to uni instead of taking the bus, I regularly go for runs and to the gym (without any pressure of having to reach goals), I do yoga and most of all I learned to enjoy walks and bike rides as a lovely way to spend my free time. Now I certainly do not work out more than I did before, but I feel so much more happy and energized! I think I even lost a little weight, at least my pants fit a bit better now. It is so wonderful to see what a positive mindset and an open attitude towards being active can do to one! 🙂

    Reply to Vanessa
  • Kat Nesbitt

    I have recently come to the exact same place in my relationship with fitness. I was crazy over the summer. I’d workout twice a day plus walk miles on miles on top of that. I work nights at a hospital and I would get off work, sleep a couple hours and go run or to the gym when I was just so exhausted. I would go to the gym for hours before work started and sometimes during my break to walk on the treadmill. My body was stressed, I was stressed. My body hurt and honestly it hated me. It was trying to tell me to slow down but I wouldn’t listen. I would see you working out even when you were busy and think well she can so there’s no reason I can’t! Not to put pressure on you but that’s just how I felt with anyone I saw on instagram! Finally when school started this semester I had absolutely no time for crazy back breaking workouts. I was forced to slow down. Light runs once or twice a week. A light gym session once or twice a week and stretching and short walks outside in between heavy study sessions. I have never been happier and my body has never been happier! I don’t weigh myself but I see and feel the difference as well! You always inspire me and make me want to be my healthiest, not my skinniest! Thank you for all you do! ❤️

    Reply to Kat Nesbitt
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kat!

      I was right there with you, and it did more harm than good on the body! Hitt workouts plus walking the dogs 6 miles a day. Workouts can be stress-free when we want to workout, or when we choose calming ones. It’s funny you’d think that about me, because I’d think that about others. I think social media has us all thinking that we are superheroes!

      I’m so happy to hear that you are feeling so much happier after cutting back on the stressful workouts! Light is key!! 🙂 I’m very proud of you!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anastasia

    Taralynn! I have followed your blog since the very, very beginning and I think this may be my first time commenting… You are so freakin amazing!!! I love, love, love this post. It is something I have been struggling with a lot lately and I couldn’t agree with you more on everything you said. I used to be a long distance runner and then I did Crossfit and I remember feeling so frustrated that my body kept gaining weight. Why the heck do we care so much about what we look like???!! Society can make us feel really sh*tty sometimes. I hope you know you are not alone and that you are such an inspiration! (You are one of the reasons I started my own blog!) I hope you continue to do what makes you happy!!

    Reply to Anastasia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Anastasia!

      Wow. First off, thank you for following me for all of these years! Incredible. & Please don’t be a stranger! I love getting to know everyone who comes across this blog!

      I’m so happy you came across this post and I hope you don’t feel alone on this! So many are feeling the same. I don’t know why we care, but I’m guessing it’s a lot of the social influencing. Even influencers are trying to keep up and it’s just a revolving circle. We also base our looks with how we think people portray us and we need to stop. We judge ourselves so much!

      Thanks for the kind words!!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amanda|The Kitcheneer

    Hi Taralynn! Love your post! I completely agree with you! I get SO much anxiety and put a ton of unnecessary pressure on myself when I can’t make it to the gym or if I am too sore/exhausted to do my best at my Crossfit gym. I love lifting weights and the intense cardio that is thrown in. It’s my jam, but sometimes it can become too much and I see all these super fit girls on social media and it adds to my anxiety. It’s silly. I have been really trying hard this past year to learn about my limits and about not comparing myself to non-realistic standards.
    You do you. Do what you love and your body will respond in a positive way! (and you are awesome- in case you didn’t know that already ;))

    Reply to Amanda|The Kitcheneer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      Thanks so much.

      It’s great that you LOVE your workouts and are so dedicated & good at them! Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make it! 🙂 I think it’s hard to break a routine sometimes and we feel bad about letting ourselves down. Just do you, girl! love it!! Thank you for so much positivity throughout the years!!

      TARALYNN

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jessica

    Good post 🙂 Everybody is different! I have to constantly work at not worrying about what others are thinking of me. I thought I would grow out of that, but being in my late 20s with a career it seems like it intensified. My relationship with exercise is weird. I played softball in college and so I have this need for a sense of sturcture and routine with exercise and if I don’t have it, then I don’t want to do it. Which isn’t good! So I’ve picked up other ways to be active like tennis so I don’t have to focus on reps, what exact muscle I’m working on and whether or not it’s cardio or strength training. I read the happiness project and it talked about how important having a sense of growth is to happiness. I thought that was interesting but I think it’s applies to life and to exercise. When I feel that I’m improving or maybe just evolving, I enjoy it more! 🙂

    Reply to Jessica
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jessica!

      A lot of us can relate to that for sure. I never really thought of it that way, but I think you’re right. Maybe that’s why I love walking and playing tennis. No worrying about reps or weights!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    This is a great post! Thank you for this! I cannot even stress how stressed out I feel if I don’t exercise… 🙁

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Charmaine!

      You should never feel that way if you can’t do a workout. You should be happy that you have the choice to do it or not! Your body loves a good break! 🙂

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ayla

    So glad you’re saying this! I absolutely loathe fitness. It makes me feel awkward, painful and I just hate hate hate it. Since we’ve moved to a place where long walks are actually nice (nature vs. big city) I feel better than ever. Still packing too much weight, but that’ll come. All in good time. The most important thing is that my mind is now feeling good, and losing weight is so much easier when you are happy! I was always a bit envious of your workouts, they made me feel as you described. So thanks for your confession!! Happy that you are feeling happier too!

    Reply to Ayla
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Ayla!

      Nature is the best kind of fitness! 🙂 I love walking and doing things that calm me. I’m more motivated that way for sure. It does come down to how the mind feels! So right. Stress can totally put a hold on your weight loss, even if you’re doing everything right in the fitness/eating category. I enjoyed them at first, mainly because I was proud of myself, but I grew so stressed!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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