by Lisa Dingeman

What happens when your girlfriend mentions a fabulous new workout that helped her drop two pant sizes in two weeks or a co-worker mentions how easy it is to stay in shape by going to a cycle class twice a week?

Do you  start making comparisons about your own fitness and body image? Comparison is a nasty little thing that steals your joy. It’s normal and it’s common, but it sure as heck isn’t healthy for you. Women are their own worst critics when measuring themselves against one another, especially when it comes to appearance or fitness ideals. The grass is always going to seem greener on the other side.

As a personal trainer and a fitness competitor, I can tell you with complete confidence, comparisons never work for health and fitness goals. Instead, it’s better to  discover your own personal abilities, and illuminate a path that’s customized just for you.

A great place to start is meeting with a personal trainer for a free consultation so that you can ‘get real’ with a routine that works best for you. If that’s not an option, then here’s what you need to consider:

Ability to make time:

It’s important to know your availability. Consistency is more important than volume. In other words, making time for several small workouts a week will benefit your body far greater than spending one long day full of exercise. Set a date with yourself and keep it. The reward will land you in a better mood and healthier state.

Ability to move:

Some people like sprints, some like marathons. Some people like group fitness classes while others prefer long bike rides alone. Whatever it may be that brings you to your happy place and gets you healthier should be your focus. Check out “Find the Right Exercise to Match Your Personality” here.

Ability to switch it up:

It’s important, for motivation’s sake, to keep things fresh. Once an activity becomes stale, the less likely you are to actually do a workout, even when it’s planned. Bring it outside or take it inside, but always have a plan. This is one of the top reasons people seek a trainer: we mix it up. If you’re always searching the web for new fitness program, look no further: is a great source for new ideas.

Narrowing down and discovering your own personal abilities can make a huge difference in your life. It’s important to know your exercise goals so you can have a plan of action for physical activity. Forget what the lady on the elliptical next to you is doing. Do what works for you.   

Lisa DingemanLisa Dingeman is a devoted wife and the proud mother of two boys. She is a personal trainer at Family Wellness in Mandan and also participates in fitness competitions. Lisa has devoted her life to faith, family, and wellness.