I’m no fitness guru and I would hardly call myself a worker-outer (yes, it’s a word, my Instagram followers confirmed it).
But a year ago this week I looked in the mirror and said: Enough.
Enough of putting myself last.
Enough of feeling tired all the time.
Enough of hating all the clothes in my closet.
Yes, if you’re doing the math correctly, I made that proclamation on my birthday. What better day to step toward a new you, right? Don’t worry, this post isn’t about the usual cheerleader. Everyone! Can! Be! Jillian! Michaels! Nor is it about convincing all the people they have all the time in the world to workout if only they’ll re-prioritize their life, hire a nanny or wake up at 3am. And, I’m not here to convince you that my workout is the only one that works.
I’m just gonna share with you what I know. How I’ve changed. What modifications I made and why I wish more people believed in themselves.
When I hit my 100th workout, I shared how I healed my diastasis recti. Yes, that’s a real thing for us women. Mine is still healed, praise Jesus, but I think after having six kids my core will always be a little on the weak side. I’m definitely stronger than I was a year ago, but I’m no 20yo. I’m a 43-year-old mom of six who’s just getting up every morning saying, yes. That’s all we can do.
Where I Started
I sat the bench in t-ball…and my dad was the coach. In high school, I was the gal who got her P.E. credit because she was in marching band. I was the last one picked in Dodgeball. Hand-eye coordination is not my strong suit. Bottom line? An athlete I am not. Second, I feel extremely self-conscious when working out. I hate group classes because the comparison kills me. It’s hard for me to see how awesome everyone looks and works out and how miserably I’m failing. There was a stint when I would run at 5:30am 2-3 days a week just so people wouldn’t see me working out. Such a beautiful picture of my healthy mental health and self-esteem right?
What Changed in Me
Having my sixth baby just weeks before I turned 40 really did a number on my body and my mental health. For a while, I just avoided the mirror, telling myself once I stopped nursing the remaining weight would just melt away (#andotherlieswetellourselves). Then, two friends of mine posted on social media about their commitment to self-care. It wasn’t their results that impressed me – even though they were great – it was their desire to change that motivated me. They weren’t striving for perfection, they were aiming to be better. Every day. And that was my hook. Perfect I could never be, but better? That, I could sink my teeth into.
My Life Now
My eating could definitely be better. Queso gets me everytime. I joke that’s why I work out, but that’s mostly the truth. Four to five days a week, I get myself to Pure Barre. It’s usually the 6am class because that’s what works for me. Every class I push myself a little more and only I know what that looks like. When class gets really hard, I just close my eyes and power through. I also think about slashing my instructors tires from time to time, but once the hour is over, I’m sane again. Ha! I often reflect back on how far I’ve come, rather than comparing myself to the rest of the room of women. I’ve found a group of cheerleaders who keep me accountable, namely Mr. Whitaker. He is my biggest fan. God has blessed me with some great friends who have a healthy balance of maintaining physical health with real life. Working out is not my life. It is not my God. I already have a guy for that. Taking care of my physical self is a lifestyle change, but it is not a religion. Praise Jesus for that. Yes, the clothes fit better, but I’ve kept at it because I feel better. And, I finally got serious about purging my closet and said sayonara to the clothes that straight up were making me sad. Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s a happy place in there now. In total, I’ve lost 10 pounds and lots of inches (I should really measure those) and added some serious muscle. Well, serious for me.
Pure Barre is the answer for me. I absolutely love it. Trust me, the first month I did it, I hated it. I couldn’t get why people were all “I’m a Barre fan for life.” And I was all, you need a margarita and a pep talk because this stinks. Change is hard. Molding your body and stripping away all your bad choices is hard. Sweating and toning and pushing yourself is hard.
You know what else is hard? Being a mom is hard. Having spinal surgery is hard. Breaking your knee cap is hard. Living is hard, but we don’t give up on that, do we? I wanted to live a better life, a stronger life. I am forever grateful that Pure Barre opened up a side of me I didn’t know existed. I don’t know what your Pure Barre is, but I know you have one. Maybe it’s a running club, Camp Gladiator, a YMCA membership, walking in the neighborhood with your bestie or running around the park with your kids – whatever it is, get to it. Today.
Your season of life dictates your commitment level, for sure. Your finances dictate another part, no doubt. Get yourself some cheerleaders and make a small change today. Next week or next month, that change might diminish or it might grow. It’s up to you. All the little things matter. Work with what you have, ladies, just don’t pep talk yourself out of taking care of you. God made you beautiful, and beautiful you remain. Working out doesn’t make me prettier, it draws me closer to Him. It reminds me why I’m thankful for my health, for a body that can move and for a community that lifts me up.
That’s why I do it.
Every day my yes means more than it did the day before.
Get to it, y’all. I’m your biggest fan!