Exercise has always been a part of my life, but to different extremes. Even when I was drinking heavily, I would try and fit some incidental exercises in because I have been so motivated to maintain a decent figure. You see, when I was in my early twenties and married, I gained a significant amount of weight, and I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen again. When I decided to quit drinking, I decided to push myself at the gym to the next level.
At first I did struggle with really pushing myself at the gym, in the very early days of sobriety I was suffering from a lot of anxiety (I’m now taking medication to try and curb that). Going to the gym did help, but I found myself quite lost in planning my workouts. Whilst I did a decent split for my workouts, I probably didn’t do enough exercises and I certainly didn’t do enough cardio.
Pushing my workouts
My first two months of sobriety I simply followed my own program, I did weights sessions 3-4 times a week (at least) and I did a standard split of legs, back & biceps, Chest & Triceps and I would through Shoulders in there somewhere too. This was ok, but I wasn’t feeling like I was really challenging myself.
It’s funny how Instagram has a way of targeting your current interests (thank you google algorithm!), but I started to see sponsored posts from Kayla Itsines & Kelsey Wells, I decided to like their pages and immediately became fascinated with what I saw. Kayla is a fitness entrepreneur and she has created the SWEAT app, this app is basically the Netflix of the fitness world, and you can choose from a variety of exercise programs to follow. I chose to follow Kelsey’s PWR program as this was closely aligned with what I like to do at the gym
I’ve been following this program for about a month now and I’m blown away by the improvements I’m seeing. I’ve found that my body is becoming more toned, my mind is getting clearer and my anxiety is becoming more manageable. I’m also finding that I feel healthier and I actually don’t want to drink, the physical craving for alcohol has completely gone, and I just want to fuel my body with healthy foods.
I really like this way of training, in actual fact I prefer it to a personal trainer or group training, because the app is self guided, it’s fast paced so time seems to fly while you are doing it, and it schedules your workouts in for you. I like that I don’t have to pre-think or pre-plan what workout I’m going to do. Plus there are a range of other workouts you can do to compliment the workout you are doing (e.g. Tabata styles workouts and challenges).
Benefits of exercise especially in sobriety
I know so many people struggle in our early sobriety, I know I was struggling, but I do know that exercise really can help fill that void. I’m personally starting to feel so energised, motivated, level headed and healthy. Whilst I am still allowing myself treats like chocolate, I really do want to fuel my body with healthy food. I think because my body is starting to burn calories, I am craving healthy foods like Kiwi Fruit, Mandarins, Steamed Greens, nuts and other whole foods.
The days that I don’t want to or don’t feel like exercising are the days that I force myself to go to the gym. My husband always tells me the hardest part about exercise is starting, once you have started your on the home stretch. I don’t necessarily exercise because I like exercising, I like exercising. because I love the feeling that I get after I exercising, I love seeing the changes in my body, and I love feeling healthy. I didn’t realise how much I have missed this feeling when I was a drunk.
I know I am still early in my sobriety, and I know I’m also not a fitness guru (yet), but I do know that it is doing tremendous things for me. I cannot stress how much I would recommend incorporating exercise into your life if you are trying to get sober. I would much rather be addicted to working out than being addicted to drugs and alcohol!
I an go on the usual blah blah blah about why exercise is so good for us, but the reality is that exercise itself isn’t always great, it’s the feeling you get after you have exercised that I workout for.