The other day, I said I was heading to work out and someone I recently met commented, “that’s probably how you look so fit.” I was honestly shocked. Regardless of the sweet compliment, I felt more excited about those few words than any other “you’re beautiful” or “you’re so pretty” I’ve heard in a long time.
Because I feel fit.
I feel well.
I feel good.
Trust me, it’s been a journey. Since April, I’ve been struggling. My life felt like it was collapsing and continually fighting against me. I didn’t feel fit, I didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel good. I was answering every “How are you?” with “I’m fine.” We all know… things were not fine.
I knew that there was only so many things I could control. If there was one thing I learned in my time as an orientation leader, it was the ‘wellness wheel’ model of total wellness. My focus for the summer was Physical Wellness, Emotional Wellness, Social Wellness, and Spiritual Wellness. I decided that if I couldn’t be ‘great’ or even ‘good’… I was going to be feeling well.
Let’s begin with the big one. Physical wellness. Not my strong suit, let me tell ya. I began the summer wondering what I should or could do to get my life in control. My control. I wanted to grow my strength and stamina. I decided to join b.well and I honestly think it was one of the best things I ever could have done for myself. Here’s what I’ve learned in just one month:
- No one cares what you’re doing. I don’t mean this in a rude way, but instead in a ‘focus on yourself and forget the rest’ kind of mentality. I had dreaded the gym for so long due to the fact that others could see me, judge me, or laugh at me. I learned early on that the mirrors in the studio aren’t for you to watch others. They’re there to allow you to watch yourself, to truly see yourself, and to watch yourself be a boss.
- Form > Fast. I have learned so much about my body, how it should move, and how it should look as I do different exercises. I am not a super fit person. Some of those moms with 4 kids could definitely beat me up (though they never would, everyone is so nice) but I don’t worry about doing the exercises quickly. I worry about doing the exercises correctly. I’m okay doing modified workouts as long as I know I’m working towards the ‘hard’ workouts and doing them correctly. (Megan, thanks for making sure my butt’s not sticking out at the barre!)
- Actually, you can. So many times I wanted to give up. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, I need a little break, a little water, time to towel down my sweat pouring from my body (which I have learned to love?). Instead of getting up and leaving the gym or being upset that I ‘can’t’ do something, I work on getting there. I work on doing just one more rep or trying to push through. I can hear Amber’s “Let’s go!” echoing in my ears.
- No one else will see your progress, but you will. This one I have learned over the past month. I would take a sweaty sports bra photo and see absolutely no results between the photos. But then I remembered that I went up in weights at my last strength class… that’s progress. I saw a photo of my calves in heels looking bomb… that’s progress. I feel my shoulders, triceps, quads, everything ache… that’s progress. Just because I’m not losing inches (not my goal) doesn’t mean I’m not making progress. I went on a run/jog for the first time in YEARS last week and I actually enjoyed myself. I even went AFTER I’d already done a tough workout. GO ME! Seeing women like Bri post about her fitness inside and out of the gym inspires me to incorporate fitness into more than just my time at the gym.
- Accountability and support are necessary. Internal motivation is necessary. It is absolutely crucial for you to see this change as beneficial and for wanting to make a conscious effort. However, that motivation lasts for about the first few days. This is one of the reasons why I had a friend join b.well with me, and one of the reasons I love going there. The women around me are supportive and welcoming. They smile as I walk in, my instructor comments on how it’s good to see me after I’d been on vacation for a week. This is what makes me feel a little bummed to be taking a 4-week hiatus from the gym…. but hellooooo Europe!
- You’ll probably hate it… until you love it. My yoga instructor, Nikki, said in my first class, “If you hate it, come again next week. If you hate it a second time, come back a third week. By the third week, you’ll love it.” This was so true. I felt like a fool and completely out of shape/not flexible during my first class. By week three, I felt like I was getting a good workout, my shoulders burned, my balance improved, I knew what a chaturanga was, and I felt so empowered. I never in a million years thought I would be a person that looks forward to working out. Now, I can’t imagine what my week would look like without a variety of classes taught by instructors who really care.
- You’re killin’ it. No matter how much progress you feel, no matter how many inches lost or muscles gained, you’re killin’ it by simply getting your butt to the gym and doing little things each day to improve your life…. by you, for you. In the words of Erica Schuster (thank you for encouraging me to join b.well, you rock sista) “Do this for who you came here for!”
Thank you, b.well brookings, for allowing me to believe in myself and to become a better, stronger, truer version of myself. I’ll see you after a month in Europe. My body is stronger and more ready than ever for long walking days across the world!
Emotional Wellness, Social Wellness, and Spiritual Wellness all go hand-in-hand. In addition to my amazing experience at b.well, my friends are supportive and loving, my devotional and time spent in conversation with the big man upstairs fuel me with his grace, and I spend my time continually filling my own cup with dedication to living my best life and loving myself in thoughts, words, and deeds. I’m in a really, really good place and I am so damn proud of myself.
Fit, well, and good.
May was good to me, and June’s getting even better. How blessed am I? I feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a previous, less true version of myself. That’s pretty freakin’ awesome.
Bring on Europe.
In the words of my sweet friend Andrea, “The world can’t wait to meet you.“
World… I can’t wait to meet you either.