The One in Which I Get Into Better Shape

If you follow my Facebook page (and you totally should!), you would know that I took a major plunge back in January. A friend and I joined a gym as workout buddies. 

I’ve tried a lot of different things to get and stay in shape. 

When the twins were much smaller and much fussier, I would pop them into a double stroller, slip some earbuds in, and walk the 2.5 mile hilly trail by my house. If I was really lucky, they would fall asleep by the time we got home. 

Then the girls got older. They were no longer content to sit. They wanted to explore. So, I still got out to walk, but those walks were shorter and were at toddler speed. 

Also, the problem with outdoor workouts is that they are magnets for excuses. Too hot, too cold, too icy, to dark, too windy.  If I have a chance to make an excuse, I will.

We joined our local YMCA as a family more times that I can count. Then, we would have a great week of working out and then our “gym time” deteriorated to standing in the shallow end of the pool catching toddlers and coaching budding swimmers.

Home workouts seemed to be a great solution. They worked fairly well when I was a SAHM. On a motivated day (read: once a month or so) I would pull out one of my many fitness DVDs and get a good workout in, vowing to repeat it the next day. But, the next day I would have tag teaming twin naps, or a headache, or homemade cake, or a blog, or Facebook. Then, once I began working outside the home, those home workouts would have to be in the evening, when there was a steady stream of teens in and out of the house. . .no thank you.

So, in the words of Elsa, I let it go. I let it all go. . .

I was a 42 year old woman who was becoming embarassingly sedentary. Add in the desk job, and things were not looking–or feeling–good. Not good at all. 

So, one night I was texting back and forth with my fellow night-owl, Kim. She was feeling the need to get back into shape. One of us suggested joining a 24 gym and working out after the kids go to bed . . .around 9 pm at night. 

So, we did it. 

We bit the bullet. 

We committed to a monthly fee (half of which is reimbursed by my health insurance if I show up 12 times a month). I dusted off my water bottle. 

We started *really* slowly. Our first few workouts were simply walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then a half hour, then speeding it up, then adding an incline. We started to add in a few dumbell exercises. We kept it VERY low key. I rewarded myself with reality TV on the treadmill (I have no cable at home). Some days we really had to talk each other into going. I used some Junior High excuses to not work out. (p.s. you *can* work out on your period, even if you don’t want to.)

Sometime in the last three weeks we realized that a change had happened. We noticed that we actually enjoyed our time at the gym. Instead of being sore, we felt good. We would go to work out, even if the other could not be there.  

Our gym time was becoming a habit. 

This last week, we decided to kick things up. Kim has a stunning Kentucky Derby party dress to fit into, and my sister in law is getting married, on the beach, in June. . . 

We’ve added two days of cardio plus circuit training, and we’ve increased our walking time (and intensity) to an hour three times a week.

Yes, I fairly painlessly went from couch potato to working out 5 times a week for an hour each.

I’m pretty sure that I have not lost a single pound. I’m not terribly driven, so I’m not sure I’ve even lost inches (though I likely have). But I HAVE noticed some HUGE changes.

Since working out regularly:

  • I sleep better.
  • I crave fewer sweets and I rarely drink soda anymore.
  • I drink a lot more water.
  • I have more endurance.
  • My anxiety level has decreased dramatically
  • My joints are much happier–fewer aches and pains.

My friends, it is time. It is time for you. Don’t work out to lose weight. Don’t work out to lose inches. Work out to feel better. Work out to take a break from housework or work or whatever else consumes your time. Find a system that works for YOU. I have friends who are very successful with each of the sytems that did not work for me . . . fitness is certainly not one size fits all. 

You may just find that you surprise yourself!

Chime in! How do you keep in shape? I’d love to hear your fitness journey, share yours in the comments!

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About the author : Dakotapam

I’m a Lutheran pastor’s wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

5 comments to “ The One in Which I Get Into Better Shape”

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  1. Lisa - March 24, 2015 Reply

    I so need to get out of lazy winter mode ans back into gear. Glad I clicked here tonight.

  2. Cess - March 29, 2015 Reply

    This is so encouraging. It is amazing how many excuses one can come up with when they don’t feel like working out.

    When I got pregnant with my daughter, I added so much weight. I joined the gym a few months after delivery and to ensure that I stuck with it, I paid the monthly fee. This way, I would feel the pinch whenever I missed a day because am cheap like that. ;-). It worked wonders.

    Like you, I lost the weight painstakingly slowly, but the workout left me energized and ready to take care of my infant when I got home. Workouts rock!

  3. Houston Pool Builder - April 8, 2015 Reply

    Swimming is a great exercise, I even wrote an article on it. I believe everyone should swim, it is an excellent full body workout.

  4. houston home builders - May 2, 2015 Reply

    This is indeed inspiring!

    “Don’t work out to lose weight. Don’t work out to lose inches. Work out to feel better. Work out to take a break from housework or work or whatever else consumes your time. ”

    In this busy world, we need to take a break once in a while, or we’ll get burnt out. And we don’t want that. Sure thing, there are lots of things that need to get done and also those things that we want to do. But they must not stop us from having a healthy lifestyle. I guess the secret to doing all this is time management and you know, taking each step one at a time. Thanks for sharing! Truly an inspiration.

  5. Mike - September 19, 2015 Reply

    Hey Pam, it’s great to see the big changes you’ve been getting from joining the gym! Especially going from “couch potato” to 5 times a week. I love that you listed the actual benefits and can clearly associate them to your exercise patterns. (I see far too many people not focus on the actual benefits and instead focus on how hard it is or how long it’ll take- recipe for failure).

    I look forward to hearing of your progress, keep it up!

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