Changing Motivations for Exercise

Every Sunday morning I ride my push bike down to the Waterfront, run an epic set of stairs for a half hour, go for a dip in the water and cycle home. It’s a routine I started about 18 months ago and it’s my preferred routine on a Sunday. It means though that I can’t and don’t go out on a Saturday night. Trust me,  stairs + hangover = spew.

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Esplanade Stairs with Weights Vest – Because I can

So while I was cycling down to the Waterfront at 7:30am this morning, I was reflecting on what exercise has meant to me and how my perceptions and motivations for exercising have changed over time, and what has been the catalyst for these changes.

Like most kids in the 80’s, I grew up outside. We had a farm, lots of places to explore, trees to climb, dirt roads to ride bikes on or go for a run. We played backyard cricket with bats that my dad carved out of a few planks of wood. We chucked the lid of the dog food container around like a Frisbee, we had roller skates, a trampoline and played shuttlecock. Life was simple and active.

Motivation: Family time, wear the kids out.

Then school happened and I played more organised and competitive sports, until I hit teenage years and like most females, my participation dropped.

Motivation: Compulsory school activity.

At 18 I moved myself to Sydney and did what most young adults did, smoking, drinking, partying and not really looking after myself. I was studying and working and I didn’t have time to think about working out.

I went to uni at about 21 and there were so many sport clubs you could join, so many options. I joined boxing for stress relief and then started kickboxing for fun. I continued this and weights at the gym for many years. Mainly for fitness 3 times a week.

Motivation: Realising that I was putting on weight from not looking after myself and stress relief.

Fast forward to 2013, I’m travelling around Australia. No real opportunity to go to the gym, lots of lazing with a wine in hand. I haven’t really done any running since I was a kid, I don’t love it. So, I make myself do it, it’s really the only option I had for fitness.

Motivation: Running because I had no other options, god I hated it.

My now ex-husband and I landed in Darwin and decided to stay. I join a gym again, pick up kickboxing again and keep going with the running. Two years into moving here and we separate. This was the massive catalyst for change in my routine. Suddenly single at 32 years of age I have more time, I’m in my thirties and working out is a great way to escape. About 13 years of 3 times a week gym turns into 7 days a week.

Motivation: Looking after my mental health and the requirement to look good naked, I’m suddenly single after all.  

One year ago, I lost my licence and so my only way of getting around was walking, taxi or riding my bike. Something I hadn’t done since I was a kid on the farm. So for 6 months I rode my bike around everywhere I could.

Motivation: Transport

So now I can run and cycle. My business partner starts doing some work with Triathlon, I get roped in and now I’m looking at doing my first Try Tri. Problem – I need to swim for 300 metres. Guess who has to re-learn to swim!

Motivation: Triathlon – need to swim so I won’t die. 

Triathlon Training – Nightcliff

What’s next? Well I’ve discovered that I’m pretty good at lifting heavy things and all of the training for the past 2 years has really shrunk me down. There are a few people at my gym who have participated in body comps, this is now on my 40 B4 40 list. What is my motivation for a body comp? To see how far I can push my body. In the meantime, I will continue to work on my powerlifting. Again, just to see how far I go with it.

Motivation: See how far I can push myself and you’re never too old to try something new right? 


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