Ah, in my 20s …

This past Sunday, I knew we were likely going to have a sub for Zumba. Since the Sunday class is during Maya’s naptime anyway, it’s usually easy for me to take an hour and get my fitness on. I figured I’d go and if the sub wasn’t one of the ones whose class I love, I’d just do the elliptical with one of my good friends and call it a day.

Sure enough, we did have a sub. So I got cranking on the Cybex trainers with the intent of doing 20 fast and furious minutes and then getting outta there. I was dying within minutes — I forgot how much I hate being “grounded” to a machine! Now that Zumba is my fitness routine of choice (3-5 classes a week), I really can’t stand the machines.

I noticed one of the other girls in the class was going at a speed of 80 next to us (as she usually does before class). I was barely able to breathe at 40. In her 20s, she was sweating profusely within minutes while my friend and I –both in good shape and in our 30s — huffed and puffed going at half her speed.

We commented on how fast she was going and how impressive it was. She said she’s addicted to the gym and loves to challenge herself.

I had to laugh because in my 20s, I wanted to put the effort in. To challenge myself. To work hard. I also was a lot thinner then! But when I was in my disordered, overexercising phase, I’d spend an hour slaving on a machine in the morning, lift, and go back to the gym at night. I couldn’t rest unless I’d worked out. It wasn’t healthy at all; it was a sickness.

And now? HA. I go to the gym with one goal: get ‘er done. I don’t really care to spend a minute more than necessary at the gym away from my family. I don’t really challenge myself — that’s true (though class is challenging). But I also don’t feel like a giant sloth, either. I still work out regularly but my goals are different. Fitness for me now is genuinely FUN. When I was in my 20s pounding away every day for hours on end … it wasn’t fun. It was a problem.

I’m not sharing this story to make the assumption that this girl has a problem at all – it’s just funny to see how perspective can change from your 20s to 30s. What I considered to be my “life” then (i.e., the gym) has changed so much since getting married and becoming a mom. My priorities have changed and while I know I could put more effort into my fitness … I’m going with the “Good Enough” mantra from Good Housekeeping. Maybe someday it’ll be more important to me. But for now? My fitness level is “good enough.” And that’s perfectly OK.

How about you? What were some of the biggest priority changes between your 20s and 30s or 30s and 40s or 40s and 50s?


2 thoughts on “Ah, in my 20s …

  1. Hi Lissa,

    I have read you for a few years, but never commented before. I love your blog 🙂

    This post really resonated with me. I am not in my early 40s and my relationship with exercise has been a very interesting, sometimes very torturous, journey. I also have a history of disordered eating and over-exercising. In my teens and 20s, I really pushed myself and felt “bad” if I did not exercise everyday. In my 30s I started to slow down a bit (fewer days/week) and vary things up, mainly due to injury. The change felt good, but there was still a “I MUST exercise or I am bad” component to it. Now in my 40s, I am mostly at a point where I am exercising for fitness, not for shape/weight loss. I have not belonged to a gym for about a year now, for the first time since I was 22. I swim at the public pool, go to Zumba (love it!) once a week at a yoga studio, have some weights in the garage, and walk the dog everyday. It is so freeing to have different priorities and actually enjoy exercising as opposed to feeling the dread of “having” to go the gym. I would much rather spend time with my husband, read, play with the dog (no kids), see friends, bake cookies, etc.

    I am so glad that you are finding this balance sooner rather than later!

  2. My 20″s was spent running college cross country. I was obsessed with counting calories, running my butt off, the scale, healthy food…I was sick. Now, 29 I am not 100% ok(I don’t think eating disorders go away 100% ever!), but I’m happy, healthy and enjoy life. Im bigger now, but my joy is biggger too! 🙂

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