You know how you look back to who you were a year ago, five years ago, 10, 15 and want to tell your younger self a whollllleeeee bunch of things that you wish you had know at the time?

I’ve been thinking about that lately, with fitness stuff.

What would I tell younger me about fitness when I was a young punk?  Lots!  It’s actually sort of hard to limit it to just three things, but I carefully sifted through 15 years worth of “stuff” and came up with these three.

It’s three helpful things to consider if you are just beginning to “fitness” or in your early 20’s like I was when I started “fitness-ing.”

You are busy, and so am I, so we are just going to get right into this today, ok?

Here goes.

Find exercise and fitness that YOU enjoy.  You know what makes fitness really damn hard?  Doing things you don’t look forward to doing.  Instead of trying to force yourself to follow training plans and programs and the 21 days to a better butt challenge on Facebook, do things that you can do multiple times per week. Things you like.  Things you (mostly) look forward to doing.  I write mostly about strength training, but guess what?  There are many more things you can do that just lift.  I love to lift, so I always do it, it’s easy for me to do to “fitness.” If you hate it, try other things, and find what YOU love.  What about walking?  What about finding different trails and doing some exploring?  What about low impact exercise like swimming if you struggle with joint health?  You can pretty much make anything fitness, if you find ways to get better at it.  So a few things, find one or two that jazz you up, and do them!

Use exercise and fitness to create a stimulus in your body, and not just to burn calories.  Most people fall into the trap of focusing only on caloric burn when exercising.  Here’s the thing, there is SO MUCH MORE to consider than that, and super important stuff too.  Use fitness to create an endorphin hit.  Use fitness to create a powerful hormonal cascade in your body that helps you preserve or increase your lean muscle mass, and helps you blast body fat.  Be strategic about the amount of fitness you do, so you don’t fall into the trap of jacking up your stress hormones so you are constantly wired and have an out of control appetite to show for it.  The amount of calorie burn isn’t as important as the response you get from the activity.  Logging hours and hours of exercise each week just to show a huge calorie burn isn’t efficient or smart.  Creating just the right stimulus YOUR body needs, in a manner that you can keep repeating, is how you will do well in this game.

If the Kardashians are doing it, it likely could be done better, smarter, or safer.  I know that’s sassy, but here’s what I mean.  Many (not all) the people who we see on TV training celebrities are….well, sorta dumb.  I’ve watched the Kardashians do some really shitty kettlebell swings and follow really weird diets, and also do some things that aren’t safe for the early postpartum periods that they exercised in.  I’ve not really seen them train their body as whole, or do much things that will help them be better humans (fitness-wise AND otherwise, lol).  Celebrity trainers themselves would also be included in this statement – Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson come to mind (eyeroll).  Now, Ben Bruno, a well respected trainer of celebrities IS a super smart and productive coach, buuuutttttt I don’t see too many other instances.  And oh by the way, this would include many popular Instagram fitness profiles as well.  Just because someone says they do fitness and post workouts on Pinterest and have tons of Instagram followers DOESN’T ACTUALLY make them good at fitness and knowledgeable about how to help YOU with fitness.  So, it they are super popular, and all in your face about fitness and beast mode, look deeper is what I’m saying.  Look for their experience and education when they catch your eye, mmmmmmkay?

There you go, younger Amanda.  Those are three things I would tell you that would save you loads of time spinning your wheels with fitness before really falling in love with it.

What would YOU tell YOUR younger self?  I’d love to hear!