Two weeks ago, I worked out in a weight room with other humans for the first time since the end of my pregnancy. I’ve been working out at home, and granted, we do have a pretty great set up in our basement with a barbell, plates, a squat rack, plenty of kettle bells, and other equipment. And I’m certainly not poo-poo-ing on that, because I know how lucky I am to have such a great and comprehensive set up in my own home. But I had forgotten what it was like to be with others. I had forgotten what it felt like to lift alongside other people, To feed off of motivation and to push myself just that much further just because someone might be watching.
When you workout by yourself, it’s so easy to stop. It’s so easy to drop a set, to take a little more rest in between sets or exercises than is actually necessary. And I don’t know about you, but I tend to fall into patterns of doing the same thing over and over again when I’m working out on my own. For some reason, I find it harder to make progress when I’m by myself, no matter what equipment I have access to.
With my life right now, I can’t make it to the gym every day though. I’d be lucky if I get there once per week if I’m being honest, and I’m ok with that. But now that I’ve had a taste of the gym weight room again, I’ve gotten that little push I needed. Even if most of my workouts are at home, I know that I have that space to escape to when I get the chance. The chance to be around others and feel their motivation seeping into my workout, and maybe even for me to provide that motivation to someone else.
A week after that first visit to the gym, I went back. And even though all I did was a short kettlebell circuit, which I could have just as easily done at home, I loved being there. I felt rejuvenated afterward, as if I had just done some earth shattering new workout. It’s not about going there and moving huge weights or doing overly complicated workouts. It’s about feeling empowered, in my element, and energized. It’s about seeing other strong women lifting in the weight room along side me and watching others work hard to realize their goals.
What’s important here though is that I know that’s what best for me and what fuels my passion in the weight room. For someone else, solitude might be what pushes them forward, without the self consciousness or lack of confidence that a gym setting can bring. The message here is to find your space. There are so many things in life that can wreak havoc on our motivation or our progress, but if you find your “happy place” for working out, you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run.
Where do you find your fitness inspiration? In the weight room? On the trail? On top of a mountain?
If you hate running solo, but that’s all you do because that’s all you know, you may be missing out on someplace else that will spark you forward into more progress or new adventures that you don’t even know are out there. Or maybe you don’t so much “hate” running solo, but you’re just feeling bored, in a rut, or otherwise stuck. Try a new space to give you a little extra push, and you may be surprised at the spark you can find! Maybe a spin studio will give you the bump in motivation you need — they do usually have killer playlists and infectiously high energy, after all!
Find your space, and even if you can’t visit it often, know that it’s there for when you truly need a little extra push. Maybe it’s an outdoor bootcamp group workout, maybe it’s a yoga studio, maybe it’s a local running group or club. There are so many options out there to dig you out of a rut that you may fall into, and along with many of these options come opportunities to meet like minded people and fall in love with your fitness routine all over again.
And bonus time if you’re in Boston: If you’re in the Jamaica Plain/Roslindale area, check out my bootcamp class, Rondeau Group Fitness on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Or if you’re downtown and looking for somewhere new to freshen up your routine, check out the Seaport Sweat series. I haven’t been because it’s not convenient to my location, but my friends Athena and Monique each teach sessions for that series so you know you’ll get a good sweat in! And lastly, although there are many many options around, The Street at Chestnut Hill offers tons of fun and free programming throughout the summer, including yoga and other amazing outdoor workouts.
Readers: What’s your “happy place” when working out? How do you get out of a fitness rut? What’s a new fitness studio/group/class you’ve tried lately?