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  • Nikki Cagle


Ninety-nine percent of fitness & nutrition enthusiasts will tell you, "it's 20% fitness & 80% food," and while I completely agree that nutrition is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle {as I detail in 10 Health Hacks for changing my life & body}, for me, a much larger part of my health journey {and challenge} came from fitness over food.

Around the time I was 20 years old I decided that I wanted to get in shape for my 21st birthday. Why then? I have no idea. Other than the fact that we were having a huge party with all of our friends, and maybe for once I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin. I used to look at outfits and say, "I wish I could wear that—I'm totally a skinny girl trapped in a fat girl's body." But it never actually dawned on me that I could be fit {I now H A T E referring to myself, or anyone, as "skinny"—fit is the new skinny}, that I could actually wear those outfits. Where the heck does one even start!? I didn't set out on some major fitness journey—I never really had a fitness goal in mind, EXCEPT - I really, really, wanted to be able to run one whole mile straight, without stopping, and certainly without dying. One measly mile—THAT was considered a feat to me, my biggest challenge. Looking back, I chuckle at that challenge. But to that girl—to the out-of-shape and uncomfortable girl—one mile was a big damn deal. So for all of you out there thinking you'll never be able to run a mile, or do five push-ups, or hold a one minute plank, to you I say: you've got to start somewhere. And the first place to start is with a commitment. Commit to Fit Fitness should be just as much a part of your day as brushing your teeth—it should be an instantaneous action. There should be no debate in your head—don't even entertain the idea of talking yourself out of it! Would you talk yourself out of brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or getting dressed? Okay, fine, some days, but you'd better be really dang sick! Same goes for fitness—unless you're on your death bed, NO EXCUSES. Here are my commitments to fitness that keep me on track: 1.) Create a calendar: Not only do I create a workout inspo calendar every year to keep track of my workouts {you don't have anyone to beat but yourself—keep track so you can d e m o l i s h that last PR!}, I also plan out my entire workout schedule the week before. Some people plan their meals—I plan my workouts. When I'm following a program like PiYo {we'll get there later} or Hal Higdon for running it's easy because the schedules are made for me. But when I'm freestylin', I have to set them ahead of time, otherwise I'll hem and haw on which one to do until I end up doing nothing at all. Once you know what you're doing for the day, you can build yourself up for it! Or, you may dread it—but just like work, the dentist, and sitting in traffic, you're going to have to do it anyway, so suck it up buttercup!

2.) Get dressed ASAP: As soon as I walk in the door from work I walk right upstairs and change. You know how they say that once you put on the workout clothes you'll be more likely to actually workout? SO true. Try sitting around in workout clothes all night with the guilt of not putting them to use! If I sit, game over. Change, hydrate, power up the DVD player, press play. No going back now!

3.) Sweat in style: Speaking of workout clothes - invest in some CUTE ones. You know how when you go out on the town and you're in a super cute new outfit {you know what I'm sayin', guys!} and you feel that much more amazing?! Same goes for working out. If you're dressed frumpy & dumpy, you'll have a frumpy & dumpy workout. If you're cute & colorful you'll have a bright & intense workout! One of my go-to tricks is to wear a fairly tight tank because it makes me more aware of my core when I'm working out, which makes me suck it in more and e n g a g e those abs. Wearing a tank is a workout in itself! My fav sports bras are from Victoria's Secret; I've gotten some great yoga pants from Target; and Old Navy's workout tanks always motivate me to get my sweat on.

4.) Think about what you gave up: Did you get up super early for this? Did you already expend some of your day's calories on a little pre-workout fuel {a little PB, some GU Chomps, a little protein shake}? Did you already tell a friend {or Facebook} that you were "totally going to get your sweat on"? You've already lost your sleep and some of the day's calories—don't lose your dignity by NOT actually working out when you said you did! Sleep is valuable—I would be so mad at myself for wasting a morning of sleeping an extra hour and then not even working out. What was the point of getting up before the sun!? Don't make it pointless—make it worth it. 5.) Treat yourself RIGHT: I used to look at working out as punishment. What was I punishing? Myself, for being unhealthy, of course. Ate a poptart? That's 100 crunches. Had a swirly drink? That's 2 miles. Did some late-night pantry snacking? That's an early morning make-up session. No, no, no! You're not in "trouble" for allowing yourself to indulge. But you SHOULD treat your body with the love & respect that you would treat someone else. Stop torturing yourself—you deserve a treat every now and then. It doesn't make you a horrible person, or weak, or a failure. Instead of punishing yourself through a workout after indulging, why not "treat" your body the same way you just treated your taste buds? If I treat myself to a frozen margarita {did someone say margarita?!}, then I should also treat my body to a good HIIT. Don't be mad at yourself and take it out on your body—love yourself and show your body some fitness-sugar. Because there is nothing—n o t h i n g like the euphoria you experience when you finish a workout {exceptttt maybe a marg...kidding, I'm totally kidding}. You deserve that euphoric feeling—treat yourself to THAT.

6.) Remember WHY you're doing this: In one of Jillian Michaels' Body Revolution videos, when you're almost at your breaking point, she challenges you to "remember your why—WHY are you doing this!? Don't say to get fit. What does that MEAN?!" Why did you start this, why are you doing this video, or going to the gym, or squattin' it like it's hot? There's a reason at the end of that sweat-dripping workout. What is it?? Is it because you want to look amazing at your 21st birthday, or you want to walk into your high school reunion and put everyone to shame, or wear a bikini on your 20th wedding anniversary, or to prove to yourself that you can do it!? Whatever your 'why', whatever you're end game, focus on that and run, squat, burpee - S W E A T your way towards it. 7.) Sentencing to Fitness = Life: The most important thing to understand when you're making a commitment to fitness is that it's not a quick fix—it doesn't happen overnight, and once it doeshappen, it doesn't stay that way forever. Not without a lot of continued work. I used to think I would hit my goal and then ween back a little, or maybe even a lot. But every time I hit a goal, I found a new one—a new event to work towards, a new plateau's ass to kick, a new program to try. It sounds daunting, having to workout for-ev-Ver {make sure to pop your bottom lip on the "Ver" - Sandlot style}, right? Well sure, if you haven't started yet. But trust me, once you start and you see how great it feels, you'll never want to stop. Going a few days without working out I can instantly tell the difference - and it's not just about my body, it's about my energy, my mind, my whole outlook - everything is blah-zay. The second I start working out again I feel amazing—so amazing that I want to feel like this forever.

Make a commitment to fitness. Start small—buy some cute workout clothes {that's the easy - and FUN - part!}, pick a workout program to try {recommendations coming soon!}, set a date & just go for it! You may have to do push-ups on your knees, or only squat down halfway, or only run a quarter mile, but I promise you, I PROMISE you will get there. I couldn't run a mile, ya'll. And in 2012 I finished a half marathon. I know, I know, it sounds like every other cliche fitness story—but it's real, and it was HARD, and a lot of the times I hated the whole dang process—but I did it, and I can honestly say that my weight journey is my most proud achievement to date. College graduation was cool, promotions are awesome, and launching a blog makes me giddy, but losing 80 pounds, crossing the finish line of a half-marathon, and looking at before & after pictures? That's the bee's-freakin-knees, ya'll. Commit, and feel it. Share how you commit to being fit in the comments, below!! What gets you going, what keeps you engaged—what is your WHY?!

P.S. Did you ever notice how much I mention Jillian Michaels anytime I'm talking about a pain-inducing workout?! My full list of "personal" electronic trainers & my favorite {most hated} workouts coming soon!

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