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Do you ever see someone early in the morning running and wonder, I could never do that? I certainly have. You might question who in their right mind would do that (I know that’s not only me thinking that!).

The truth is, those people (those who are dedicated enough to run before the sun comes out) have a reason to be running in the same way that you watch your favorite TV show for a reason. You may not watch your favorite shows for the same reason why that person runs at 6 AM, but each of you has reasons for doing each. Hopefully, that person running isn’t out at the crack of dawn because they solely care to develop stronger legs or to look better. It should be for something bigger than that.

Through my self-discovery of fitness and exercise, I’ve learned that in order to enjoy the sweat, you must exercise for the right reasons. I used to run not because I liked it (I actually hated it), but because I thought running was the key to being fit. When I was around eleven, somebody told me that I needed to start running or else I would become overweight. Though I didn’t start running until I was around thirteen, that always stayed in the back of my mind, and I never allowed myself to find the bliss in the sweat. Each time I worked out, I did it because I felt like I had to, and let me tell you, it didn’t last (shocker). The weight I lost that summer came creeping back because I was so damn burnt out from working out to simply lose weight. I quickly stopped running, allowed my diet to take a turn for the worse, and lost any lingering self-esteem. I didn’t realize that in order to improve myself, change had to come from within. I wasn’t going to change if I was running just because I felt like I needed to. Working out will not magically change your mindset. Going to a yoga class will not automatically make you feel better, you have to allow yourself to leave everything outside of the studio and to let go for that hour of your day.

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Allowing myself to find that bliss (that positive feeling I get when I work out) has changed my view of working out. And it only happened because I let myself keep my mind open.

With an open mindset, you can achieve great things. This applies to more than simply getting that yoga mat out for your first class at a new studio. It allows me to say “yes” to trying new ways to sweat. It allowed me to say “yes” to going cross-country to hike the national parks last year, it allowed me to overcome self-doubt and walk into my first hip-hop cardio class (late) not knowing any of the choreography, and perhaps most importantly, it allowed me to take the leap and say “yes” to yoga teacher training.

I will always be grateful to my younger self who decided that one day, I needed to discover a deeper reason for why I work out. I realized that there was no magic wand that would suddenly allow me to enjoy any exercise, so something clicked that I needed to discover my reasons why. I rediscovered my love for dance before I did anything else, and my why was (and always will be) because I can express myself in such a unique and special way. I later found my passion for yoga, running, and spinning. Now, I am always willing to try new things. I’ve done everything from Soulcycle to barre to hot yoga, to even training to run a 5k. And I’m grateful for each experience because they have allowed me to decide what I like and what I don’t like.

When I know I like what I’m doing to get my sweat on, I can allow myself to let go and enjoy the experience. In a spin class, I can let the music and motivation from others to inspire me. While running and I’m sweating buckets, I can put my favorite running song (check out my running playlist here) and embrace the sweat. When I’m having a bad day,  I can always count on yoga to be one of the best ways to clear my head and put me in a better state of mind.

Everybody has a way that they like to work out. It’s all about finding what that may be, and you won’t ever figure that out until you are open to trying new things. So, get out there! Try something new. Figure out what you like and don’t like. Find your WHY.

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