Finding a Workout Routine

I am the worst about workouts. I hate them. I hate making time for them, I hate feeling slow and sluggish during them, and I hate feeling guilty when I don't do them. The only thing I really love about workouts is finishing them and feeling GREAT. But sometimes even that isn't enough motivation to make me want to stick with a routine.

The thing I loved about the PCT was the effortless ease in which I got to workout every day. Wait. Let me rephrase that. The PCT was not "effortless" nor "easy." It was, however, routine. And routines are the hardest part of workouts. On the PCT I never had to think about it. I never had that battle in my head - "am I too tired to workout today? Should I skip it?" Because I didn't have a choice - we walked 15-25 miles every day, without fail. There was no such thing as skipping it. But even that was a magical thing - the key to any successful workout is making it part of your daily routine, so you don't have to fight that inner battle with yourself. You just DO it.

In that respect, the PCT was the best workout ever. I just walked. Easy (or hard) as that. I could eat whatever I liked (in fact, as MUCH as I liked) and still felt amazing. I spent five months in the best shape of my life and never once had to think about working out or counting calories.

The problem was, it did a number on my body. Though I was incredibly fortunate not to suffer any true injuries on trail, I began to suffer intense knee pain once I was off trail. For the first few months back in the real world, I could barely walk without limping. Going up and down stairs was particularly difficult. I'm sure I looked like an old woman clutching Tanner's arm in pain every time I went down a flight. Even attempting a workout routine at that time seemed unfathomable.

One year later, my knees are better, but I can still feel the lingering ache every time I work them too hard. I have grown lapse in my workouts and have had to start the process all over again. I miss feeling strong and fit almost as much as I hate going for a run.

I have tried a few different routines, trying to find one that works for me. I'm terrible at making up my own system, so I tend to gravitate towards DVDs or phone apps to help me along. In the past, the only one I found to be effective was P90X, which I loved and hated all at once. Damn you, Tony Horton. Your workouts hurt. But they also made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something, even on day one.

I have also utilized the app 7 minute workout (which I tend to do three times in a row so it's more like a 21 minute workout) and the app Yoga Studio, which has some great options (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and lengths of classes (15 min, 30 min, 60 min) to let you enjoy yoga in your own home.

At the end of April I finally sucked it up and made myself stick to a routine. As soon as I get home I change into workout clothes so I don't have time to sit down or pour myself a bowl of cereal. I change up my routines, varying between: one of the P90X workouts, running on the trail behind my apartment, going for a swim, doing the 7 (21) minute workout, a bike ride, or a yoga workout.

I'm in week three now and happy to say that I've been managing five workouts a week (I get really lazy on the weekends.) I'm not sure if it's doing any good, but I certainly feel sore each day, so I guess that's a good sign.

At any rate, I'm always on the lookout for new routines to keep me from getting bored.

What kinds of workouts do you enjoy? Do you utilize DVD routines, gyms, or phone apps? Do you have any favorites you'd love to recommend?