I haven’t always been the workout type, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. I never understood women who had a regular gym routine or fitness classes that they loved. I marveled at their discipline and the willpower they surely possessed to suffer through a StairMaster session. I hated gyms. They were boring and awful and I would much rather be outside or, more often, curled up on my couch. But I envied them. I wished that I had that desire to workout.
That all changed about 18 months ago. I think it was a combination of being fed up with my lack of fitness and energy and fed up with my pants being too tight and the realization that I was pushing forty and it was feeling like now or never. I’ve tried the whole fitness and weight loss thing before and it never really stuck. I’d fall off the wagon and then just put the notion of exercise being a part of my life on a shelf in the back of a closet. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why it stuck for me this time and how I became one of those women who actually enjoys working out. The only answer I’ve come up with is momentum.
I gave it a chance. I stuck to what I set out to do and I saw it through long enough to see progress. And I’m not talking about sticking it out for months, I’m talking like two – three weeks. I started to see real progress in how long and far I could run in a few weeks.
Side note: I highly recommend the Couch to 5k app if you are starting at a place of zero fitness!
Progress gave me momentum. I wanted to see more progress so I kept going. As I felt myself getting stronger and weight started to come off, it energized me. It renewed my commitment to getting fit and staying fit week in and week out.
When I created my list back in October, more than a year into my fitness journey, I added several active and outdoorsy items because there were new, physical challenges I wanted to tackle. If I’m being totally honest, a lot of them were still in my comfort zone. I originally had Zumba on my list of things to try because my gym has a lot of Zumba classes and I figured, why not? But it started to feel like less of a challenge and more just something to do because it was available. So I recently scratched it off my list for something that was way more out of my comfort zone, Orangetheory Fitness.
You see, even though exercise has become a very regular part of my routine and even something I look forward to, I still don’t think of myself as a gym girl. I run, I hike, I do HIIT workouts at home, and I occasionally do classes at my gym. I’ve even tried yoga. No thank you. But I don’t see myself as the Crossfit type or the Orangetheory type.
I was introduced to Orangetheory about two years ago by one of my besties. She’s always been physically active so when she described the classes to me, it sounded great…for her. Fast forward two years and the girl is Orangetheory aka OTF 4 life. She has OTF friends. She wins OTF competitions. And her body…well, it’s ridiculous. She could probably kill me with her bare hands. I want to add a disclaimer here that she has some serious muscles but doesn’t look like a ‘roided out wrestler because I know that matters to some women. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve heard say, I want to be strong but I don’t want big muscles. I’m going to save my rant about wanting to hide your strength and smashing the patriarchy for a future post, but just know it is coming.
Anyway, my friend looks amazing. She loves the workouts and she won’t shut up about her #OTF #fitfam. Once I started taking classes at my gym, she started nudging me more. She saw that I enjoyed being pushed by an instructor and she went in for the OTF kill. I finally agreed to take a class. You can take a free one if you’ve never been before. I convinced a friend to join me and I went to my first class two weeks ago. I was nervous because I imagined being forced to climb a rope or lift a car off someone, but I think I had that confused with Crossfit. I was afraid that I would be the slowest, weakest person in the class. I assumed everyone would be super fit and throwing tires around the room. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up.
Here’s how an Orangetheory class actually works. There are three stations in the room: treadmills, rowers, and a floor area for strength training. You rotate through each section while a coach directs you on what you should be doing while you are on that station. You wear a heart monitor so you can see your name and stats, along with everyone else’s, up on screens around the room. The stats tell you what zone you are in (hint: orange burns a lot of calories, hence Orangetheory) and how many calories you are burning. You use the zone color to determine if you need to push harder or dial it back.
Here’s what actually happened during the class:
- No one was throwing tires.
- There was a wide range of skill and fitness levels.
- I was so focused on completing my assigned workouts at each station that I wasn’t concerned with keeping up with anyone else.
- It’s definitely not about keeping up with anyone else or comparing yourself. It’s about focusing on what you need to do and pushing yourself to your limits.
- The energy was really good. The coach was awesome and encouraging and the people around me were friendly.
- High-fives and fist bumps with your neighbor are encouraged.
- The heart rate monitor really helped hold me accountable and really push myself during the workout.
- I sweated like a maniac during class and for about an hour afterward.
I bought a membership immediately after class and I’ve been back for two more classes. I’m totally hooked. I also feel fantastic for the entire day after the workout so I’m pretty sure my endorphin levels must be off the charts. After the first two classes, I was sore for several days. Not so much with my third class.
I am so so so glad I tried it. The walls are adorned with messages like “Goals are dreams with deadlines” and “Think about why you started” and “Don’t just wish for it, work for it” and it makes me all like HELLLL YEAAAAAH!
If someone had told me two years ago that I would be a fitness junkie and that the majority of my laundry each week would be sports bras and activewear, I would’ve said that it wasn’t possible. I wanted to want to workout, but I didn’t think I was that type of person. It turns out I just needed to set some goals and get some momentum going. It’s made me wonder what else I’m selling myself short on because I’m pretty damn sure that I can find a way to be whoever I want to be, all I need is a little momentum.
Share with me in the comments (either here or on social media) what you think you may be selling yourself short on. What’s the thing you want to be but think it just isn’t you? Is it something that can actually be accomplished with a goal?