Sticking to an exercise regimen has never been one of my specialities. Saying I’ll stick to them, however – that’s something that I always get behind. This time, though, I wanted things to be different. I had been wanting to get back into working out, but have trouble going to the gym because I feel like I never fully understand how the equipment works or how best to lift weights in a manner that won’t injure myself. I need people to show me how to do the workout, but being a 22-year old who doesn’t have the income to pay for a personal trainer, I turned to YouTube.
Numerous friends had told me that they do pilates as their workout. Unsure of what all that entailed, I searched for videos on YouTube. One of the first ones to pop up was “The Ultimate PIlates 21 Day Challenge / Define Your Abs & Booty” by the YouTuber “Boho Beautiful.” Thinking, ‘hey, I could use a little more overall muscle to my abs and booty,’ I read through what the challenge entailed and accepted it. To supplement it, I also found an arm workout by a popular pilates blogger who goes by the name “blogilates” on YouTube. I had done her quick 6-minute arm workout videos in the past and knew that they would be the perfect addition to this challenge, as I also wanted to tone my arms and gain some muscle.
Geared up and ready to prove to myself that I could do this, that I could exercise for 21-days straight, I grabbed my yoga mat (that was new for months and still hadn’t been used yet!) and set to work.
Day 1 was rough. I could barely do some of the moves, and I had to pause the videos a few times to let my muscles relax and breathing return to normal. I finished the workout, but in the back of my head thought, “Am I really going to keep this up for 21 days?”
Well, 21 days later and I sure have. As I write this, I prepare to do my final workout of this video challenge. Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve really tested myself. I woke up extra early on some days before the sunrise, just to make sure I got my workout in before work. I’m not much of a morning person so doing that alone was proof to myself of how seriously I was taking this challenge. Other times, I would come home exhausted from errands or a long shift at work, and still forced myself to sit down and take the time to workout.
In the midst of it all, I learned to enjoy what I was doing. In fact, I looked forward to my exercises. During some very stressful days, it was the only thing that calmed me down and cleared my head. The focus I put on the routines helped ease the focus I was putting on miniscule problems I was having. It also helped me think more clearly when I needed to make decisions and wasn’t in a great mindset. Overall, it helped me feel more centered, more self-aware, and more confident in myself. I never thought exercise would really help me achieve that mentality, even though I heard other people say these same exact things numerous times. Not only that, but I definitely do feel more fit and toned than I did before. In fact, I tried on a dress this morning that was a little snug when trying to zip previously, but now zips with ease. Score!
And so, the saying is true. 21 days does create a habit and I’m now ready to begin my next pilates challenge. Still by the YouTuber “Boho Beautiful,” this one is called “Pilates 21 Day Challenge / Full Body Workout for Results.” I put my abs, booty and arms to the test these past few weeks and I’m ready to see if my entire body can take the challenge! I’ll probably take a few days off between the end of the one challenge and beginning of the other, but I’m going to supplement these days with yoga to prepare myself.
So that’s my story. What’s yours? Have you tried a pilates challenge before? Do you have any recommendations for new, YouTube workout challenges? I’d be interested to hear as I continue this fitness journey, so leave a comment if you please! Until next time, namaste.
Featured image by: @Instagram