Be Well: Back in the Gym

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Life is crazy this week, so I only have time for a short post. I wanted to drop in and let you guys know that my Seattle vacation was wonderfully relaxing, and despite the fact that the week has been busy, I managed to go to Crossfit yesterday and this morning - yay! Yesterday, after five rounds of seven front squats I realized that my legs are wayyyyyy out of shape, but feeling that way only gave me extra motivation to keep going regularly. Also, I made a few friends in the process, which helps with my fear of the unknown :)

I'm still easing back into my diet - more on that next week!

Finally, like I said above, life has been crazy busy, so I just wanted to take a minute to let you guys know that although I haven't been great at responding to comments, I read every single one and appreciate them all. Also, I'm way behind on emails, Facebook messages, and texts, but I promise I will respond very soon! Getting messages from you guys makes writing this blog so worth it. Thanks to all of you for your continued support - it means the world to me!

Have a wonderful day!

Be Well: Taking the Plunge

DSC_8820Today I want to fill you guys in on the "real" reason I haven't been going to the gym lately. In previous posts I've referenced a host of factors that have played into my inability to exercise in the morning - crazy hours at work, wanting to spend time with my husband, pure laziness, etc. But none of those has played as much of a part as the one thing I'm most afraid of:

The people.

I'm not talking about "the people" in a "the people who go to the gym are jerks" kind of way (see this previous post for my thoughts on when that IS the case). Here's what's going on with me lately. At night, when I think about going to the gym the next morning, I generally have really positive thoughts about how much I love to exercise and how great I feel after finishing a workout. And I want to go to bed early so I can go to the gym. But then I think about that moment, that moment after the coach is done explaining the workout and tells everyone to get in groups of two or three. That moment when I look around the room and realize that everyone else has someone else that they want to be in a group with and I don't. And then my chest tightens up and I convince myself that I'm too tired, too busy, too lazy to go.

But I'm not too tired, busy, or lazy. You see, Crossfit is a really social form of exercise. Most workouts are done in small groups - your partner rests while you lift, or they do pushups while you row, or they jump rope while you hold a plank until you're about to die. In general, I LOVE that aspect of Crossfit - I'm a pretty social person, so I enjoy spending that hour bonding with other people.

However, I don't have any close friends who go to the gym with me at the same time as me. And one thing I hate more than anything is being in a room of people I don't know. Just the thought of it gives me anxiety. I feel really embarrassed to admit that because I don't think I'm socially awkward or antisocial - I just don't always know how to strike up a conversation with others, especially at the gym. In most contexts, I am pretty good at making friends. At the gym I have no idea how to make friends.

I've been a member of various gyms over the course of my life thus far, and I have NEVER had gym friends. Do you know what I'm talking about? From what I can tell, the vast majority of gym regulars end up bonding with other gym regulars. They chat in the locker room or by the treadmills. The major thing they have in common is the fact that they go to the gym at the same time, and yet they still find enough to base a "say hello every day" friendship on.

This one summer, I sat next to the same woman every single morning while we were getting ready for work in the gym locker room. Every day we were at the gym at the same time, sitting at side-by-side mirrors. Most people would end up being friends with that woman in that situation. Not me. I spent ten weeks feeling like I should be friends with her, but never figuring out how.

So here I am, almost 25 years old and still worrying that I'm the last kid that's going to be picked for dodgeball. Given that fear, there are two ways to get myself to start working out again: I can go back to a regular gym where I'm not forced into workout groups, or I can face my fear. I like the Crossfit workouts, though, and I'm not ready to quit, so that leaves facing my fear. Which is the better choice anyway. I've committed to going to at least one Crossfit class this week and braving the team-picking part. Once again, I'm going to ask you guys to keep me honest. I'll keep you updated, of course.

Finally, a PSA for all of you who have no trouble making friends at the gym: the next time you see someone like me, someone who is nervously eying the crowd before picking Crossfit workout groups, or who doesn't know where to put her bike before cycling class, or who looks lonely when putting her makeup on in the locker room - please say hi. We want to talk, we just don't know how to do it. You have no idea how much your kindness will be appreciated.

Have a very wonderful Wednesday.

Be Well: On Failure


One month ago, I purchased an unlimited one-month membership to my Crossfit gym for a cool $275. Now that my unlimited month is over, I think it's about time I evaluated my purchase. How good was I at going to the gym?

There's not much investigating to do here: I did horribly. In 30 days, I went to four classes. That's about $66 a class. While I get a lot out of Crossfit classes, I did NOT get $66 worth of health and wellbeing out of each of those classes.

What happened? I'm inclined to claim "it was a busy month!" because it was. That's not a lie. A couple of the weekends over the past month were taken up with visits and trips. I worked really late more often this past month. And I had more social events during the week than normal. All of that combined to make it difficult for me to show up at the gym at 6AM. So that's a good enough excuse for not going to the gym, right?

It's not. I know what I did this month: I purposefully avoided following my own advice. I didn't schedule classes ahead of time because I kept thinking to myself that anything could come up. And I purposefully did not text my friends who usually go to the gym with me because I didn't want to feel obligated to show up in the morning. I convinced my husband that we should start watching Orange is the New Black...and then turned our addiction to that show into yet another excuse to stay up late and skip the gym. I made every effort to make it easy to stop going to the gym, and I paid for it. Literally. I went to four classes at the gym. I cancelled eight that I had signed up for.

I apologize if reading about my fitness struggles is getting horribly boring while not being motivating at all. Back when I was posting demos of me doing burpees and things like that, you guys were totally like "oh my gosh I have to go to the gym right away! I'm so much healthier now that I found you! Thanks, Natalie!" right? Cool, I thought so. I started writing about fitness on this blog because making myself go to the gym used to be my special talent. Now it's my special struggle.

I wanted to write about my complete failure to make my gym membership worth it so that all of you guys know that it happens to everyone. But I also wanted to write about it because I want to do better. I don't think it's acceptable to do this month after month. When I have months like this, I hate that my thighs feel squishier, my stomach looks rounder, and I feel so darn lazy. I nervously peer into my future and worry that if I keep going at this pace, I'll wake up three years later and 30 pounds heavier. So I'm committing myself, publicly, to doing better next month. I'll check back in in 30 days so I can wow you with my success story. I'm determined.

I just might not start until Friday.

Have a great day!

Be Well & Dress Well: Keeping a Low Profile


Friends, meet my new kicks.

I've been tempted to try this whole low-profile, lightweight workout shoe trend since it started getting popular a few years ago. Last week, when my luggage was lost and I was feeling sorry for myself, I decided to finally pull the trigger and order myself a pair shoes to make myself feel better about my missing stuff. Now, I have my luggage back AND my sweet new pair of Reeboks. Life is good.

I've only worn my new shoes a few times, but so far I'm really liking them. In my opinion, their best feature is how lightweight they are - no more clunky running shoes. The bottoms of my Nike running shoes used to be so wide that I would end up kicking my own ankles on accident while walking...which partly reflects on the clunkiness of the shoe, and partly reflects on my inherent clumsiness.

The major downside to these is definitely the fact that they run wide. I have freakishly skinny feet, so when I lace these shoes up I feel a bit like I'm lacing corset strings - the tighter, the better! I've also heard they aren't great for running (since they don't offer much support) but I haven't tried that out for myself.

What I'm really looking forward to is wearing these shoes while doing a squatting workout. As someone who doesn't have great balance, the flatter my feet are to the floor, the better. As always, I'll let you guys know if the experience is as good as I'm hoping.

Have you guys tried the lightweight, flat shoe trend yet? If so, what do you think?


P.S. - Don't worry, I haven't suddenly become a snob about workout shoes. I'm not that big of a hypocrite, I promise :)