Strong at 40: The First Six Weeks

six weeks of movement

A few months ago, I was getting ready one morning and for some reason started thinking about how I was 22 months from turning 40. That lead to thinking about big goals - and with about two years to go, what sort of huge things could I accomplish if I doubled down on them.

I came up with two - one is business related and the other is that I want to be as strong as I’ve ever been on my 40th birthday. The last few years have left me feeling more depleted than strong, both physically and mentally. And that’s fine - I was simultaneously growing and nurturing babies and a business. Both are still growing and require nurturing, but I’m a little out of the thick of things.

When I say strong, the image I see is having a body and mind that are resilient, tough, ready to go and do what I need them to. Right now my body is a little tired and sprinting up the stairs leaves me breathless. My anxiety seems to creep up when I least expect it. What if I could really give it my all to build them both up?

I’m not sure this will be interesting to anyone but me, but I wanted somewhere to check in with myself and document the journey. So here I go, a recap of the first six weeks.

Six Weeks of Movement

When I decided to “get strong”, I knew I would need to do something different than I’ve done in the past. Typically, I jump 150% in to something, but burn out a few weeks or months in. So I decided rather than declaring myself a runner or a yogi, I would set a goal to move four times a week, in whatever way felt good that day.

In the end I needed a bit more structure to make sure it happened, so a routine of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday started. I tend to do the same workouts on the same days, but I also check in with myself and see how I’m feeling. I might skip a lifting class and walk on the treadmill if that’s what my current level of energy and sleep calls for. I’ve been keeping busy with the following - I’m curious to see what this list might look like six months down the road!

  • Personal Training: I started working with a trainer once a week and it’s been awesome. He’s already fixed my posture so that my lower back is not hurting all the time from exercise and I love having that one hard workout a week where I feel like I really give it my all. Plus, Greg and I are doing this together so it’s extra fun - a little date on Saturday mornings while the kids are in the gym childcare. He’s currently on paternity leave but we will pick back up in July.

  • Body Pump: Originally I thought I’d work out with a trainer several days a week, but that is a scheduling nightmare and expensive. So I started looking at what the gym offers and tried Body Pump. I love it! It’s a lot of the exercises I loved from CrossFit but at a slower pace and lower weight - I’m not trying to keep up with any 20 year olds (I’m by far one of the youngest in the class) and therefore I’m not hurting myself. I tend to go on Wednesday mornings. C loves the gym childcare so he’s happy to be dropped off while I go.

  • Pilates: I’ve been enjoying a Pilates mat class once a week as well at the gym. It’s a little slower than I prefer my exercise but I love that I can practice using my core versus my pelvic floor in the class - something I’ve had trouble with post kids. I also get a complimentary 30 min session on the reformer that I’m looking forward to trying soon!

  • Walking: Walking will always be one of my favorite ways to get exercise. Whether it’s outside with the dog or pushing a stroller, around the lake, or on a treadmill, I can’t get enough. It’s my go to when I’m feeling run down but still want to get some movement.

  • Running: As a former runner (fun fact: I’ve run two full marathons), I have to say that running just doesn’t do it for me these days. But, I wanted some measurements that were not size related, so every four weeks I’ve been running one mile for time. I can handle one mile.

  • 10 Minute Mamas: I am so grateful to have access to the 10 Minute Mamas workouts. These come in handy when it’s already 7pm on one of my move days and I haven’t moved yet. I’ve been known to just do one in the bathroom while the kids take a bath. Movement does not have to be fancy.

First Six Weeks Victories

I purposely did not weigh myself when I started because I didn’t want to fixate on numbers. There are a lot of things I’d love to see come out of this, but I’m also really open to what happens, what I take on, etc. I feel like focusing on the scale might at worse make me feel like I’m failing and at best I might miss out on new ways I can find physical and mental strength because if the scale is going down, it’s “working”.

So I’m looking for other types of victories, non-scale victories as they call them. And here is my first set:

  • My favorite from this six weeks is that I stuck with it! I moved every single M, W, T, S. I made the time, set the priorities, and showed up.

  • I’ve noticed that I can sometimes run up the stairs and not be winded!

  • I felt that my movement had become routine enough that I decided to add another layer on and began to use the 10% Happier app to meditate in the last week. Excited to see where this first step towards mental strength takes me.

  • My first mile was 12:04. My second mile was 12:06… but I accidentally ran a little farther. So I’m considering it a win - and I have straightened out my actual course for the next mile check in!

This next six weeks will bring it’s first movement challenge (a week of traveling), I’m considering a Whole 30 (my tummy has been so upset the last few months and I feel like a total reset might be called for), and I can’t wait to see what happens as I really dive into daily mediation. But, I’m also open to whatever, so who knows what I’ll be reporting back in early August.