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I AM Growing Stronger

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

To grow stronger repetition and consistency are key; but know when to level up.

For me, morning is the most important part of the day. My morning routine eases me into the day, boosts my mood and helps keep me grounded while growing my mind, body, and spirit.

Exercise is an integral part of my routine. I can't imagine a day without intentional movement. When I worked as a public-school Teacher, I woke up at 4:30 am by the harsh, artificial beep of an alarm clock. I faced a lot in my job, and I knew that I had to show up for myself before I could show up for anyone else. Exercise routines included detailed warm-ups, strength training, then stretching cooldowns that were self-constructed, trainer-guided, with a class and solo. Other days I walked outside around the Y track, breathing deeply, enjoying nature and fresh air.

Now, years later, I still awaken early but gently and when my body says so. Exercise still has a routine, but the rhythm has changed. Being outdoors is a core value! It makes me feel renewed, refreshed and connected. Walking is my warm-up and takes up most of the allotted time. Some mornings I walk with music, audiobook, motivational talk, or scriptures. But most of the time, I'm just listening to the song of the birds as they eat their breakfast or the steady crunch of the ground beneath my feet.

My graduated set of hand weights.

While walking builds my endurance; to get physically stronger, I must also lift heavy things. Depending on the day, I will either focus on my upper, lower body--including abs/core, full body or spend the 20 minutes of so, stretching.

When I first started strength training, about 10 years ago, I started with bodyweight exercises. When this became too easy and boring, I began adding weights. In my research, I learned that using resistance creates small tears in the muscles and when they renew, they heal stronger. It hurts. This is a good thing.

This is the goal.

I started with the 2-pound cute cloth purple hand weights. Then I gradually added more weight from 3 to 5 to 8 pounds. I have seen more definition and tone. I have seen results that fit my frame. This has made me proud.

While working out the other day, I noticed that even the 8-pound weight for certain exercises felt too easy. Inside myself, I knew that I was ready to elevate to 10 pounds. I knew this because I had figured out a way to balance the 3- or 5-pound weight on top of the 8 to provide the just right level of challenge. I thought to myself, 'How much easier would it be, to just hold one heavier weight?'

Action Step

Growing stronger requires consistency and repetition and everyone's journey is different. Only YOU know how much you can bear. Then push yourself one step further. Only you can assess when you are ready to move to the next level or begin something new. In order to grow in any area of your life, you must add weight. In what area of your life do you know you are ready to level up?

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