For the majority of my life – from my teens on – I’ve had “body issues.” I was always a bit chunky, which was cute when I was in my single digit years, but not so much in junior high and high school. In college, I definitely put on the freshman 15…or 20, and just never felt comfortable with my body. I lost some weight in my early twenties but still wasn’t in great shape. Unfortunately, fitness was never a big part of my life. I’ve never played a sport and my workouts have mostly included yoga, walking and the occasional Tae Bo video (yup, we’re going back a few years). I’ve always said to myself; “Next year will be my year. Next year, I’ll get in shape, I’ll exercise, I’ll eat better.” I’m 37. That’s a lot of “next years.”

In December I bought a Living Social deal for a local fitness studio where workouts are only 30 minutes. I definitely needed more energy and didn’t have a lot of time to work out. I had seen a friend’s Facebook posts about the studio, and when I asked if she would recommend it for someone with zero experience/stamina/athletic ability, she said it would absolutely be perfect for me. The morning of my first bootcamp I was TERRIFIED. I was shaking, nauseous and so ready to back out. As my husband always does, he encouraged me and convinced me that I’d be fine. I went to the class, and although at times I thought I might throw up, pass out and/or die, I made it through…and I was hooked.

Within a week of my first class, I signed a contract for a year, attending four times per week, and have loved every second of it, even when I’ve absolutely hated it and cursed it in the moment!

I’ve learned so many things since joining the studio six months ago:

1) Step outside of your comfort zone – far outside. I never could have imagined I’d be doing some of the physical things I’m doing now.

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2) Respect and love your body. I have a LONG way to go before I obtain my “dream body” but I’m content with where I am right now. I’ve birthed two babies and my body has done amazing things. It’s taken me a while to be at peace with this but I’m so happy I finally am.

3) Take time for yourself. I wake up at 5:20 four mornings per week to make my 6am bootcamp. I know that sounds brutal but I look so forward to that time for myself. The rest of my day involves making sure everyone else is well cared for and every aspect of our lives is somewhat under control. That hour is my “me time.”

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4) Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make new connections. The people I attend class with and the trainers are truly amazing. They’re so supportive and encouraging, and I feel lucky every day to have them in my life, cheering me on.

5) Be a positive role model for your children. My kids (ages 4 and 5) know Mommy goes to “exercise class” in the morning and I’m happy they realize that’s an important part of my day. It energizes me and absolutely makes me a better mom.

6) Inspire and be inspired. I post almost daily about my workouts, and while I’m sure many of my friends have hidden my posts by this point, I’ve had a few people tell me that my posts inspire them to exercise. That’s a huge compliment for someone like me, who never could have imagined I would be the one doing the motivating.

I’m finally excited about fitness and the fact that there are no more next years. It’s THIS year.

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