Gym Time Diary: You are not them

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest.”

Or something thoughtful about something…scientific. 

Anyway, you pulled up to the gym. But, see, you’re already tired because you had to get two kids ready, after sending the third one-off to school no less, just to make it there. 

You’re a mom of three or one or four or two. Maybe you just had a baby. Maybe you just had a c-section. Or maybe you are not a mom at all yet. But you made it to the gym with about 37 minutes to do your best, or your worst. Congratulations.

Maybe you haven’t worked out in a while. Maybe you’re just glad to be out of the house, even if it means that you’ll be in a room with treadmills, free weights and air tainted with sweat and the faint odor of paint. 

You and your toddler get out of the car. Thankfully, someone kept the baby for you. Or maybe not. But you still spent an hour of prep time getting the three of you ready to even get out of the door. Breakfast for the middle child, clothes and shoes. Fighting the battle with her to put on actual shoes because she wants to wear crocs even though it’s 36 degrees outside and she can’t understand that they really aren’t all that great for windy, wet, wintry days.

But it really doesn’t matter to her, so you give up knowing full well she will tell you that her toes are cold in about an hour’s time.

You nurse the baby. Get yourself dressed. Brush everyone’s teeth. You look at your unwashed hair in the mirror and decide that it really doesn’t matter anyway because you’re going to the gym. You squeeze your nursing breasts into your sports bra from before the baby in the hopes that they fit. They do, just barely.

Now you feel like you have cement bricks on your chest, but after a few minutes it either doesn’t bother you anymore or your too distracted to notice. 

You pack the diaper bag – milk, bottle, wipes, outfit, diapers, binky, spitter. You put shoes on yourself. The baby decides that she needs to nurse again. So you somehow finagle your bra up so that you don’t have to take everything else off. You finally get the three of you out the door and into the car you were smart enough to turn on to warm up. 

You drop the baby off and drive across town. You get your middle child up the steps and signed into child watch. 

By the time you make it downstairs you feel like you have already run a marathon. Only the kind that doesn’t really burn calories. You’re the tiniest bit discouraged that it takes so much work just to show up. You already want a cheeseburger as the clock flirts with lunchtime. 

But you have to do what you came to do. 

You start rowing or walking/running on the treadmill, or stomping on the elliptical. 

Maybe you haven’t worked out since well before the baby arrived. Maybe you just haven’t worked out in a long time period. Either way, you know that it’s probably not a good sign that you are huffing and puffing ten minutes into your workout. You know that it’s not good that you want to give up already. You know that this should take longer as the compatriots on the machines to your right and left carry on like nothing is amiss.


Or are they really your compatriots? So much as shining examples of why you’re here today?

Are they the yardstick that you feel like you can’t measure up to?

You feel out-of-place. With every stroke of the erg, or step on the treadmill, you feel your belly jiggling to remind you of why you’re there. Motherhood parts are unseemly. You don’t look like the people next to you.

They have on lime green colored headbands over top of seemingly coiffed hair that rests at the top of their heads in shiny pony tails. Under Armor tops and pants that stretch over their toned bottoms and thighs and hit just the right places. You’re in your maternity yoga pants and your shirt emblazoned with the letters “USMC.”  They remembered to bring their ears buds. They have this seasons running shoes.

Your shoes are almost 10 years old. But they are your old faithfuls. And they might also be the least used thing in your entire wardrobe. Along with high heeled shoes and that black dress you bought five years ago.

The people next to you thump away at the gym equipment with ease or lift 15 pound free weights like they are nothing. You’ll have to start all over again. Or start for the very first time. 

Everything will be an uphill climb for you. Everything will be a monstrous amount of work. It isn’t for the people next to you. 

You think that success means looking like that. Toned and lean and glossy. They make it look like it isn’t much work. You’re happy for them to some degree. And sad for yourself. It takes so much work to get to the gym. And with every stroke or step on your machine, you’re counting, even though you’re not supposed to be. Willing the clock with your mind to tick faster, willing the calorie counter to count higher, the mile tracker to tick lower.

“One…(a cheeseburger sounds great)….two…(shouldn’t have had that second cup of coffee…now I have to pee)…three…(why do carrots have to be so boring?)…four…..(they’re jut not exciting like donuts…which I could get on the way home)….five…(why must this be so hard?)….six…(I don’t need to check my phone I don’t need to check my phone I don’t need to check my PHONE)….

It doesn’t take long before you stink. Are you the only one who can smell yourself? Did you even remember to put on deodorant before you left the house? When did you last shower anyway?

You don’t hate the people next to you. The ones that make it look easy. You admire their dedication and success. But while your paths are intertwined, they are not the same. Or are they? 

Success isn’t always toned. At least, not right now. Success is getting kids to remember their ABC’s or off to nap time with ease. You can handle phone calls, making lunch, wiping noses and emptying the dishwasher practically at the same time. Just perhaps you aren’t successful at the gym. 


The girls on Pandora set you straight…

“You’re gonna hear me roar…”

“It’s going down. I’m yelling timber. You better move…”

“Shake it off. Shake it off.”

Yes, success is often lean and toned and glistening and wearing Under Armor and making it all look easy. But mostly, success is just not giving up when you want to. Success is starting from the bottom and paying for every pound lost, toned muscle and weight lifted with sweat and sometimes your tears. It’s not giving up when it would be so easy.

It’s showing up even though it takes you an hour and twelve minutes to even get there for only 37 minutes and you’re tired about 12 minutes in. It’s having your own goals, your own resolutions, your own idea of what makes something a success. 

You are not them. You are you.

And the you of now isn’t there for New Year’s Resolutions. You aren’t there because you’ve always been there. You’ll still hopefully be there in April. Claiming some victory, inching forward ever so slowly. Feeling empowered, knowing that even in your hectic life, there truly are some things that you can control. Some small, microscopic things that you can do for yourself when you are always doing for others.

You are there today because you’re ready to be there and you’re ready to try. 

And that, my friends, is half of the battle. 



Some quiet, food for thought on your Sunday

Why you might not look like Maria Kang.

Most of you probably heard about her when she first gained notoriety in the media. Maria Kang. The gorgeous, ripped mom of three small children. Her motivational poster blaring the words “What’s your excuse?” beside a picture of her, looking as ripped and gorgeous as all get out, and her three small children.

If she has time for the gym, why don’t you?

If she can look like that, then why don’t you?

If she has the energy to tackle children and the gym, then why don’t you?


While I will be the first person to give Maria props because, come on, she looks absolutely insane and it takes hefty amounts of discipline, time and energy to get to where she is, there is a whole other way that I see it. Seeing her looking like that actually served to de-motivate me somewhat at first.

I would love to wake up at 6 a.m. in the morning, make it to the gym and back in time to greet the kiddos when they wake up and make myself a bowl of steel-cut, rolled oats for breakfast. I would love to have the energy to fight with two small children, make sure their shoes match and their teeth are brushed and then manage to get them into the car and to the child-watch center at the gym. I would love to be in a place in my life where THAT was one of my top goals every day.

But the truth is?

You and me? We might not look like Maria Kang if it’s just not our priority right now. 

No need to make lengthy excuses about bum knees or bad ankles or arthritis. No need to run down your daily schedule in your head to justify why you don’t make it to the gym. None of that is necessary.

I’m currently incubating baby number three. I stopped visiting the gym regularly about 8 weeks ago. I ran out of what energy I had left and it became ridiculous to think about shoving my children in the car to visit the rowing machine three times a week. I also started visiting the bathroom 543 times a night around then. My hips also started to ache and hurt around then. And if I visited an airport right now, they’d charge me fees for the extra bags underneath of my eyes.


But even before being pregnant, hitting the gym hardcore, revamping my diet…it just wasn’t a priority. It wasn’t one of the things that I had enough energy to shift my focus toward. This doesn’t mean that I was always happy with how I looked. It doesn’t mean that things didn’t stop fitting. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t some consequences from choosing where I placed my energies.

It just means that sometimes, a ‘yes’ somewhere is a no somewhere else. Sometimes, we have to be extra careful and wise about where those “yes'” go. This season of life? I have quite a bit that I must do, that I must say “yes” to. Someday, hopefully soon, that will change. There will be an abundance of other things that I can say “yep” to. Just not right now. Because, something always has to give. And seasons come, and seasons go. This will change.

I have big plans once baby number three is out. I won’t call it a plan to diet, or a workout overhaul. It will be a time to refresh. And hopefully, if all goes according to plan, it will be a time to do some things for myself. To take some time for myself and to do something good for myself. Fitness isn’t about looking good, it should be about being healthy. And hopefully, when the time is right (or as close to it as it will ever get with children in tow) I’m going to have the time and means to focus on the things that I have been putting off for a time. Looking at it this way helps me look forward to when the season arrives.

But, you. If Maria’s message hits you. If you know deep down that it’s time that you did this for yourself, then just think about it. Think about getting back into the fitness saddle and making some changes for yourself. Things like that never hurt. Unless, you know, it does those first few times you visit the gym. I can’t say that won’t hurt.


Happy Sunday, everyone!


22 Days For Gratitude — Day 16: Strength

Kicking the can.

Yes, I’m still doing these! Haha. We have not yet reached day 22. And while I have slowed down in recent weeks, it is the Christmas season after all and there is much to do, I intend to finish my series of intentional gratitude before the end of the year.

This has been a better week for me. You may remember my post from about 10 days ago, where I was up to my ears in frustration with my current fitness regimen and my figure. To say that I was over it would be an understatement. Last week was a tough week to get through, which may be another reason that I did not get to post. I had finally reached the point where I knew that something in my lifestyle needed to change and where I realized that I truly needed to push myself if I were to make anything happen. My husband, who has offered this several times over the years, asked if he could “design” a fitness routine for me to use. I finally relented, not really sure why I had never let him do this for me in the first place. Along with that and the encouragement from friends who also recently started doing very similar things and changing their lifestyles, I figured that God couldn’t make it more obvious just where I needed to start.

Let me say that Rob is a former Marine…so, letting a former Marine design a workout means that you’re going to work….out. 

Hence why last week was a tough week. Rob plotted out three days worth of work out’s at the gym, mixed some cardio but mostly strength training. I was good until Day 2. Day 2 was leg day. And let me just say that there are two things that I hate 1.) the band Creed and 2.) lunges of any kind.  And Day 2 was chalked full of them, plus other leg workout’s, guaranteed to make you stiff and incredibly sore afterwards or your money back. While Day 1 with its back and arm workouts did make me sore having super sore legs somehow manages to be worse, at least, in my case it was. From Wednesday to Friday I could hardly bend my legs, I would have rather preferred standing than trying to sit and I loathed the stairs in my house.

By Saturday and especially Sunday my legs were feeling much better. We will see what happens on Wednesday.

I thought that the strength training would just be for the muscles. Turns out that there has been some refining for both my willpower and my determination. And I have realized that this is the first time in my life that I have physically had to press myself to get something that I wanted. I am not the most disciplined person. I prefer the easy way out, don’t we all, and I am not someone to just jump in head first or give up something cold turkey. I want to make it as easy on myself as possible and ease into something. There wasn’t a chance for that with this schedule, it was sore muscles from day 1.

The other notable change in my life this past week – giving up soda.

Soda is my crutch. I would rather have soda than a brownie or cookie. I would rather have a soda than ice cream. Soda is my go to for everything. Not diet soda…as if. No, regular, cold and bubbly Coke. Or *dreamy sigh* Cherry Coke. I won’t say that I am cured, but I will say that for more than 10 days I have successfully kicked the can. And excitedly enough, there are already some noticeable changes to my waistline. But, even more than what I have been doing with myself and my workout’s this week, the biggest change has been what I haven’t been putting into my body.

I told Rob, probably after Hell Day leg day that “it isn’t fair. My muscles hadn’t been pushed in years. And they are quite content to stay weak and almost useless. To get them to a better place, it requires so much pain.” I can’t even begin to tell you all of the ways that this is symbolic of our lives. It isn’t glamorous to make changes like this or to push yourselves. It hurts. Things tear and sting. Knees buckle. Things have to heal, but thankfully they heal back stronger. Maybe a part of this week that has been so awesome is that…God is showing me Himself in all of this. One, that I can’t flirt with drinking soda and eating garbage on a regular basis. I truly need to decide just what I will and won’t put into my body and stick with it. That I either have to try or not try, there is no in between, it won’t get you anywhere good. There can be no lukewarm. In almost anything. It really is either solidly all or absolutely nothing. And two, that I don’t have to answer to a soda can. I decide what habits I will permit and relent myself to and what I won’t. And two, that the pain will be worth it. It won’t be easy, but it will be for gain.

So this is a follow-up to that other, ya know, post. The one where I was defeated. I hope that if any of you read that one and could sense the discouragement and perhaps were a bit off the mark yourselves and are now reading this, that you will be encouraged. I am not a prima athlete. Not yet, anyway. I still have a ways to go before my knees don’t buckle when I do a lunge. But, I’m trying and I hope that you are, or will, too.


Happy Tuesday, everyone.