Be Well: On Failure

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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: Where did the shirts go?

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Given that I write about working out and weightlifting in particular once a week, I find myself searching for stock photos of women exercising quite frequently. I'm constantly typing things like "woman lifting weights" or "woman exercising" into Google or Pinterest to find quality photos that I can use on this blog.

Thanks to the tons and tons and tons and TONS of photos on the internet, image searches are generally highly successful. However, I think searching for classy images of women working out is a major exception to that rule. Week after week I find myself asking the same question: "Why are none of these women wearing shirts? (Or for that matter, appropriate-length shorts?)"

Maybe it sounds like I'm joking, but I'm serious - WHY is it so impossible to find photos of women lifting weights where they are wearing something more than a sports bra? For real, how many of y'all default to working out in only a sports bra? Like two of you? And when you wear only the sports bra, do you also only wear teeny tiny shorts? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Here's the most ironic thing of all: several of these half-naked photos have sayings printed on them (on Pinterest, at least) touting the importance of health over being skinny. Does ANYONE look at the pictures above and actually believe that? To me, all these pictures are saying is that weight lifting is worth it because it can make you thin. It's not worth it because it will make you healthier, happier, or stronger. No, if we only photograph women lifting weights when they have their shirts off, I'm pretty sure we're saying that flat abs make it worth it. Not a longer life.

All of this is to say that I sometimes find myself completely overwhelmed by how every media outlet out there completely distorts why lifting weights is so important for women. It's NOT because it gives you toned limbs and tight abs, although that is a benefit. It IS important because it will strengthen your skeleton, help protect you from injury, and keep you mobile for much more of your life. I write and write and write about weightlifting not because I care about the flatness of your abs, but because I truly believe in its intrinsic health benefits. The extrinsic stuff is just the icing on top.

So please...do me a favor and don't repin exercise photos of women wearing no clothing. We're better than that.

Stay clothed, and have a great Wednesday!