I decided the most useful thing I could do for readers is offer some insight into the mind of ENJOYit FITNESS founder and CEO, Stephanie Whall. Steph has been my dear friend for over a decade and is one of the only women I know whose body weight and image seem to never fluctuate. I can’t bottle and sell it (yet!) so I decided to pick her brain and share with you:
HT: I’ve known you for a long time now and can credibly say you exercise consistently with no noticeable ebbs and flows, which is essentially the exact opposite of myself (hello rollercoaster!) and most other women I talk to. Also, your body is beautiful and unchanging despite father time and his evil ways. Did you hatch from an egg?
SW: (Insert Steph’s very special laugh) No! No, I didn’t hatch from an egg- but I did have to earn my sweets as a kid through sports. We had no sweets in the house, but after a baseball game or a soccer game I could get a treat. And I mean, the good stuff: Ding dongs, Ho-hos, Twinkies, mmmm. So I learned at an early age that in order to eat sweets, I had to exercise to earn them.
HT: I was thinking orange slices go with sports.
SW: Noooooo. Well, orange slices at halftime, but I always thought, “Orange slices, meh.”
HT: So, operant conditioning worked on you as a kid. It trained you to have a good association with being active. Like training a dog.
SW: Yep! Woof.
HT: As an adult how do you stay consistent? I’ve noticed it in your fitness the whole time I’ve known you, and I see it now in the way you manage ENJOYit FITNESS, you’re like a to-do list soldier, you just keep marching.
SW: I have a shared principle with my husband- we both know our individual workouts are a priority so we talk each night about what the next day looks like and how we’re going to fit our workouts in. Then I do whatever exercise fits in with my schedule based on things like: the weather, available free time…you know, life stuff.
HT: Wait, you mean you don’t have a solid routine with all the different body parts fully worked each week? When I’m in an ebb, and trying to pull myself up to a flow, I make a plan and a schedule. I’m starting to think that approach is causing two problems. One, the planning and the schedule-making become a barrier, like I can’t start flowing until I have time to plan out my fitness YEAR! Two, it’s always too much for the beginning of a flow, and I get hurt or overwhelmed and give up. Hello ebb, good to see you again….not really.
SW: You might be over-thinking it. I have a few things each week that are planned, and I do them regularly, like meeting you at the gym and getting on the bikes and doing PlayItUp ℠ fitness classes. I fill in the rest with what works, and how I feel. We plan a day ahead. That’s how our life flows right now, and we just go with it. I also try to make my workouts fun, and include some interpersonal connections I want to invest in anyway. That’s how the entire ENJOYit FITNESS premise was born. I want to play with my family while I workout.
HT: How do you feel about your body when you look in the mirror?
SW: Hmmmm. Sometimes after a few days of not working out I feel bad. I get antsy in my pantsy. My butt actually starts to feel square if I sit in a chair too much. That motivates me to get going again, I don’t want too many days to pass feeling bad.
HT: Motivated by how you feel instead of how you look?! I’m back to the hatched-from-an-egg theory.
SW: I try not to pick my body apart. I feel better when I exercise. When I have too many days off, I get a nagging sensation that I am putting energy into the wrong places, and letting myself down, or letting other pressures cloud my obligation to myself.
HT: HA! Guilt, I knew it. How do you feel about your stomach? Asking for a friend…
SW: I like my stomach! Am I allowed to say that? I notice when I haven’t done enough ab work, and then I kick it up a notch, but I generally like my stomach.
HT: I think it’s awesome that you like your stomach, and you should scream it from the roof tops! I like your stomach too!
SW: Thanks, friend. I love you.
HT: I love you too.
There you have it. Advice from the most consistently fit person I know: do what works, keep moving, play with your family, love your body. That sounds right to me.
Join us at a PlayItUp ℠ Fitness class to combine fitness with the joy of connecting with your kids. Don’t over-think it, just give it a try.