Why I haven’t exercised in 5 months.

I haven’t talked about fitness in awhile.

And good reason. I haven’t formally exercised (aside from the few yoga classes I was teaching in the fall) since July of last year. It all started with our summer road trip, then Joseph went off for four months for AF training, leaving me alone to raise & home school 4 kids. I had to cut something, so I chose exercise. Which wasn’t an easy decision.

Looking back, I was an exercise holic. After all, it was our proverbial bread & butter for 6 years. I made enough money as a fitness instructor at two universities & other professional institutions to pay (most of) the bills.  Some days I exercised 2-3, or more hours. It was crazy, & I don’t recommend that level of exercise for anyone (except, of course, if it’s your dream to become a professional triathlete even then I might recommend switching professions).

So what did that amount of exercise do to my body?

First, & most obvious–I was in wicked good shape. Probably the best shape I will ever be in. And funny, when I was that fit, I still thought I could get stronger, faster, more toned. It was never “enough.”

Second, I ate a HUGE amount of food every day. When I wore my body media gear (accurately tracks calories burned throughout the day), there were some days I was burning upwards of 3700 calories a day! Holy moley. And this didn’t count nursing, which I was doing for a good deal of that time. Joseph & I still talk about the days when I could shovel down large amounts of food like there was no tomorrow. Eating, became somewhat of a chore. The time cooking, preparing food, & eating was twice what it is now.

Third–I was often tired. That level of exertion, day after day after day, was, well, tiring.

I loved teaching. Absolutely loved it. It was exhilarating to get up in front of a class & get paid to have fun & exercise. I loved getting to know my students & feeling like I was helping people learn how to take care of themselves through fitness.


Now that I have some distance from that period of my life, I have some perspective on the issue. I have to admit, it’s taken some time to adjust to my “new” body. I no longer have buns or abs “of steel.”

When I went to D.C. in November & saw Joseph for the first time in 3 months (& having undergone some changes in my body from not exercising), I was a bit self-conscious about it. I was afraid that Joseph would think I was “fat.” What I was worried what would be perceived as fat, Joseph just saw as a curvier, softer, & more attractive me.  Having him respond so positively to me, was a huge boost in self-confidence. Also, I should insert here that Joseph has never been one to ever comment on my weight (be it gaining or losing). My weight doesn’t factor into his love for me, & he makes it a point to make sure I always remember that.

Now my day-to-day activity includes walking to Mali’s school to pick her up (about 1/2 hour round trip), cleaning my house, running around after Salem. I think I used to believe I would never, ever not exercise formally. I was a “believer” in word & deed. My attire, 75% of the time was workout pants & cross-trainers.  But now, here it is.  It’s been months & months since I’ve laced up my cross-trainers for a workout.

Despite this, I’m active. Do I burn fewer calories in a day than I used to? Heavens yes (& thankfully so). But, I rarely sit throughout the day. The activity of my new lifestyle is less intense than before, but it’s a kinder, more natural way to live. I’m still very active, & hope to return to a regular yoga practice. But for now, walks with my kids & the activity that comes from caring for young kids & a large house, is good enough for me.

I have a few more thoughts on some of the changes (physically & emotionally) that I’ve undergone in the past months. More on that, in next post.


What’s your current exercise regimine? Have you ever stopped an exercise routine after being faithful for years? What changes did you notice?




  1. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on January 18, 2013 at 8:00 am said:

    I am active now like I was in college. I enjoy going to the gym 3-4 times a week and running. For me it releases all of the negative energy. I started getting up about 20 minutes early each morning so that I could stretch and do some yoga.

    I find it gets me off on the right foot and I maintain a more positive attitude.

    As for weight loss and what not I try not to focus on that. I just like the way I feel after I exercise and eat healthy, but it isn’t really for a goal (not sure if that makes any sense).

    I do have to admit that I thought you might say you were pregnant again and that something to do with that was why you weren’t exercising…oh well 🙂

    Have a great weekend Janae!

  2. Debbie
    on January 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm said:

    From a fellow vegan, LDS, homeschool mom, I have to say Amen and wonderful post! You just described my life and my thoughts. Thank you so much.

    • Rachelle Marsden
      on January 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm said:

      I love all the homeschooling, LDS, vegan mommas that I hear about on here! 🙂

  3. Michaela
    on January 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm said:

    I really appreciate this post especially since you’ve experienced a high level of activity and then a more relaxed approach. I have gone through a similar experience where I would exercise more than I consider healthy for several reasons and now I am able to enjoy different types of movement other than workout machines and gym workouts. I love dancing (ballet, jazz, tap) and it brings me actual joy as opposed to the feeling of doing the stairmaster. It can be challenging to not play into the silly hierarchy of fitness, but it is also very liberating.

  4. Alissa N
    on January 11, 2013 at 8:55 am said:

    Such great timing on this post, as most people have made resolutions for fitness in the new year. I love everything you said here, it’s such a great perspective to see from a person who was heavily involved in high daily activity! I have a mental block about working out in the gym sense. I love to dance, run, do yoga and pilates, but I dread doing things like squats and weights. For me, I just choose not to do them. In school I learned a lot about functional exercise, and I think that is the perfect fit for me. I have a much easier time motivating myself to move and do things rather than trying to get myself to “hit the gym”. Can’t wait to see the rest of this series 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on January 11, 2013 at 10:20 am said:

      I love that you’ve found an approach that works for you. Too many people think that fitness means formal group exercise or “hitting the gym,” when in reality, it goes beyond that. It’s about movement. Take two people, for instance. #1 sits at a desk all day & leads a rather sedentary life with the exception of running & weights for 45 minutes 5 days a week. Then you have person #2 who does no formal exercise but their occupation includes being on their feet all day, lifting heavy objects in addition to getting daily movement from things like housecleaning & gardening. Which person is better off? In terms of physical fitness, I’d say person #2 because movement is built into, rather than being an isolated portion, of their day. That said, many many people don’t have a choice & have desk jobs where they’re sitting for 6-8 hours a day, so of course, adding structured exercise would be the thing for them.

      Thanks for your thoughts Alissa!

  5. Bitt
    on January 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm said:

    I can’t work out for to health reasons. But I miss fun things like skiing and hiking and boating, not the stairmaster. I think being active in a fun way is a better way to live life. So no I can’t work out. I do miss it, but as with you other priorities come first.

  6. Sabrina
    on January 10, 2013 at 11:29 am said:

    First of all, I am glad you are all back together as a family again. I am sure it is so wonderful.

    For me, I have to have some kind of exercise routine outside of the normal day to day tasks of living. I do try to walk for a lot things and I go up and down our stairs a gazillion times a day, often toting a 17 month old that weighs almost 30 lbs and hasn’t decided he wants to walk full-time yet. All of our kids are giants, so I have been toting large children around for years. Even with all of that, if I don’t go for a run or to the gym or train regularly for some kind of race I can’t sleep at night and I’ll likely eat just as much food as I did when I was exercising. I just love to eat! I also am in a much better mood after getting back from some good exercise. I have never been super tight and toned, because I like my food and treats a little too much, but I am in pretty good shape. That works for me because my insomnia alone would get me if I didn’t tire myself out a little more during the day. I don’t do hours of exercise though, more like 30 – 60 minutes of fairly intense exercise. I just trained for a sprint tri and I only had a couple of times that I had to train for that for longer than an hour. I am afraid if I stopped doing it I would be a wreck.

    I am glad you are finding a routine that works for your body though. Sometimes life doesn’t afford you much time for a lot of exercise so you have to be creative in finding ways to move your body and chasing around young kids certainly helps!

  7. Melissa
    on January 10, 2013 at 10:14 am said:

    So ironic you should mention this! (As you already know) I started out this year with a resolution to get healthy, which lead — after loss of 31 lbs in 3 months — to getting pregnant. Which was also around the time we moved away from our routine and, more importantly, our gym membership. Since moving, my mom is always asking me what I am doing to stay fit for the baby. I have done 3 more 5ks since being pregnant (taking my time to make it easier on me and baby, of course), but the main thing is that I have been walking… A LOT! Going to school means walking across campus, to and from bus stops, and parking lots. And taking the stairs (when others take the elevator). All with a backpack filled with what I need to make it through the day: books, water, snacks, etc. I was still feeling pretty good up until my winter break, which has left me a bit sluggish since my routine was again interrupted.
    Now we are moving again and school has started again. So, time to find a new routine and ways to get more “exercise” in.
    But man… it’s hard NOT to miss the rush of serotonin you get from a good workout!

    • Janae Wise
      on January 11, 2013 at 10:21 am said:

      I agree, there is a rush from exercise, & IS addicting! Melissa I think you’re an awesome example of getting in shape & finding ways to increase your daily movement. You & your baby will the better for it. Way to go. (& congrats on your new house!)