#DoingThings: My Workout Routine / by lee tilghman

Listen everybody, I'm about to speak some truth. Healthy living is a journey, a cycle, and you get out exactly what you put into it. Nothing happens overnight. It is a long, fun, crazy journey. 

MY WORKOUT HISTORY

My exercise history, in retrospect, has been an amazing odyssey that's brought me to where I am now. I've always been an active person. I grew up in an active family, my parents both play tennis + golf and so do all four of my grandparents. Activity was always something encouraged, fun, and something that brought us together. It was never viewed as a chore. Even now, when I go home to visit my family, we go for bike rides, hikes, runs, ski trips, swims. It's part of our lifestyle, and it's made a world of a difference. I feel very fortunate to have been raised in a family that prioritizes exercise in a healthy way. 

I played field hockey and tennis in high school but I was not very competitive. I exercised semi-regularly through college, but I always had to be a member at a gym because I still hated running. In college, I feel like I exercised more out necessity than for wellbeing. I didn't necessarily enjoy being on the elliptical everyday, I just did it because I felt like I should. However, towards the end of my senior year of college, I had my first 'exercise epiphany', which is a term I just made up for when you find a style of exercise that you love and adore. For me, it was Bikram Yoga. I was instantly hooked to the heat and the mental challenge of getting through all 90 minutes without puking or leaving the room. I did the 30 day challenge and became even more hooked. I did bikram for about 2 years before moving onto other sorts of yoga, like vinyasa flow and core power. 

From then on, I really began to tap into my fitness potential. It wasn't until I was about 22 or 23 that I realized that I liked pushing myself physically, and to watch my endurance and strength grow and change. It also didn't hurt that I was eating very healthy food and enjoyed doing that too. The two kind of go hand in hand.

HOW I GOT INTO RUNNING

As I mentioned in my Free People interview back in January, running is, and has been for the past 9 months, my workout of choice. I joke that it is actually my drug of choice, because once I unlocked my inner-runner (I didn't always used to be a runner, more on that later), I have not been able to find a workout that is as effective, mentally and physically, as a nice long run. Running transforms your body into a machine, and when I'm in peak running condition, I feel unstoppable. Running is my form of meditation, it's my therapy, and the runner's high is real. 

I like to run because it is me against myself. It's me and my head, my thoughts, my fears and my ideas. I've had some of my most delicious food creation ideas while running, and some of the most powerful self-love realizations while running as well. I can set out for a run and plan to do 5 miles, but surprise myself and do 7, and let me tell you- there is no better feeling that surprising yourself in that way. It also felt really good to find something that I enjoyed doing not out of necessity, but because I wanted to do it. I ran because I knew it was good for me, and it feels good to do your body good. Running has brought me a great sense of joy and purpose.

Running is also a chance for me to clear my brain. I run when I'm tired. I run when I'm hyper. I run when I'm sad. I run when I'm happy. I run when it's sunny, rainy, cloudy, hot, and cold. I run because I can. Running makes me feel powerful and it makes me feel beautiful. 

I got into running by chance. I did not set out to be a runner. Last year while I lived in New York City, I was a member of a gym and would go 5-6 days per week. But I was so bored with all the gym equipment. It was summertime, and it felt strange working out inside while it was so gorgeous out. One day while getting ready for the gym, I was just like, "I'm going to go for a run instead", and I set out to go for a run. I couldn't run very fast, very hard, or very far, but it felt good to be outside and to be in control of my surroundings. It was also a really great way to see the city that I lived in. 

Slowly, I built up endurance, strength, and one mile turned into two miles, and three miles turned into four. Pretty soon, I began to look forward to my runs. I began to run 3x a week and only go to the gym 2x a week. I bought some really nice running shoes. I downloaded the Nike Running App, which helped me track and log my miles and further compete against myself.

Once I hit the 7 mile mark with ease, I called my parents with excitement. I was like, "I'm a runner. I run. I love to run". That night, on a whim, I signed up for a half marathon. Now I had a goal. That made me even more determined, now that I had a date and a set milage goal.

I remember the day after I hit the 7 mile mark, I tried to run 7 miles again. That was a huge mistake. I had no idea how to train for a race. I thought you just tried to do as many miles as you could for as many days in a row as you could. I didn't know that you had to build up your resistance. I told my family about this, and they were like, "uhhh, we're pretty sure you need to follow a training program". So that's when I used the training program on the Nike app, which also really helped me document my progress.

If you are remotely interested in becoming a runner but don't know how, my best advice is to set a goal. That may mean running once a week for a month.

TIPS FOR NEW RUNNERS

  1. Start slow
  2. Listen to your body
  3. Download lots of good music. I love listening to BBC Radio's Essential Mix on my runs, which are 2 hour mixes by a different DJ each week. 
  4. BELIEVE you are a runner. Do not let your mind confine you to one particular way of working out. If you believe it, you can achieve it. You are a runner if you have feet. You jus have to tap into it.

MY WORKOUT PHILOSOPHY

I recently read in an interview that striving for balance is difficult because life is never balanced. That quote really resonated with me, especially when it comes to the quest for fitness and ultimate health.

I try to workout 6 days a week. However, there are times in my life where that does not happen. Then, there are some times in my life where I am extremely disciplined and it's a struggle to actually take a day off because I am in such a great workout routine.

However, sweating once a day is extremely important part of my life. Exercising helps me focus, it helps me sleep, it helps me eat healthier and it helps me retain perspective. I try to put it pretty high up on my list of things to do for the day, because I know how important it is for my emotional/mental/physical wellbeing. It helps me combat anxiety and any other sort of mental hardship I am going through.

I exercise in the morning so that I have more energy throughout the day. However, if I have an early morning meeting or appointment, I'll do an afternoon workout, or even an evening one if I must.

MY ROUTINE

So here it is! Here is an example week of exercise for me. I always stretch after my runs, usually for about 20-30 minutes! This is subject to change, but it gives you kind of a good idea of what an average week looks for me, workout wise. 

MONDAY: 45 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes vinyasa flow

TUESDAY: 3 mile run, deep stretching

WEDNESDAY: 30 minutes on the elliptical, 3 sets of 20 squats

THURSDAY: 2.5 mile run + arm workouts (basic curls, over the head curls), deep stretching

FRIDAY: 40 minutes on the elliptical, full 8 minute ab workout (watch the video here)

SATURDAY: long run (anywhere between 4-10 miles), deep stretching and an ice bath!

SUNDAY: rest day, or another fun workout, such as a hike or a yoga class with a friend



All photos taken by Chris Krieb. You can follow him on instagram or check out his dope website here. Or, you could be awesome and do both.

I am wearing apparel by Outdoor Voices.  I love their clothes so much, they're super comfortable, soft, and obviously really cute.

The bra can be found here.

The shorts can be found here.