I really don’t feel qualified to help anyone with technical advice, but maybe by sharing my story it will help you with your own fitness journey.

My Thrift Kitchen journey has started in an unexpected place — exercise. I feel like until I got that established everything else got disrupted when I would try to add it in.

Plus there’s that whole healthy body, healthy mind thing too. I really had to get my self in order before I could set to work on anything else (house, cooking, etc).

Why Exercise first and not food?

When it comes to eating right or getting fit, there’s no chicken or the egg debate here for me — exercising, specifically training for an event, makes me want to eat healthy. Eating healthy doesn’t make me want to exercise. That’s just how it works for me.

False Starts

Over the last 4 years I’ve really struggled with exercise. When I was in college I just biked to class every day, did yoga, and rode longer rides on the weekends I wasn’t visiting Jason.

When I moved to Ames I was pretty content to hang out in my studio and craft, make art, and play video games. There really wasn’t a “need” to ride my bike daily, so I didn’t. Last March I weighed in at around 165lbs — and at 5’3″ that’s a pretty decent amount to be carrying around — it was a reality check that even though I’d been trying to lose weight for the last year, I’d actually been gaining.

The Spark that Lit the Fire Under Me

While I’d love to say I didn’t care what weight I was on my wedding day, I really did. I wanted to look back and see myself as beautiful. People told me I was beautiful at 165lbs — but I just didn’t feel it. You could say this was my low point I had to reach before I really did anything about it.

Anyway, so by the time June rolled around I still hadn’t made any progress. I just couldn’t get there on my own. I kept sabotaging myself by skipping workouts. I felt like it was a good week if I made it to the gym twice. Super star if I made it three times.

I would work out semi-regularly for about 8-10 weeks at a time, just start seeing results, then I would drop off. I would get sick or go on vacation and it would take me a month or so to get back into exercising. I’m an excuse master.

Getting on the Right Track

Losing weight wasn’t motivation enough for me, getting married wasn’t either. Because while I care about looking good, it’s never been an obsession. Going back to the last Thrift Kitchen post, I was missing the key element of Desire.

I had to face the fact that exercising is not my strong suit. I needed help. And I needed outside help to lead me to that staying habit power of Desire. I made a trade off that was really hard for me last summer. Because I wanted it, I just couldn’t get there on my own. I dropped cello lessons and with that money plus some budgeting, we hired a personal trainer. And we made the extremely hard choice to sign up for a year long contract. I had to deal with a lot of feelings of guilt knowing because of my own short-comings we were going to have to invest a lot of money in me.

It was partly that guilt and partly my own need to take full advantage of this amazing opportunity that I placed my sights on doing a triathlon. Something I’ve always thought was amazing, but never thought I was capable of.

Staying on Track

It’s been hard. Really hard. And after my first Triathlon I didn’t take my trainer’s advice and took the next week off. I got so stiff that my hip came out of alignment and it took 2 months of chiro appointments, physical therapy, and yoga to be able to run without pain. And then I got soooo sick just 2 weeks after I started running again. In March I thought I might not ever be able to do a Triathlon again. That it was a fluke. That I was indeed too sickly of a person and just not made for running.

But under the guidance of my trainer I’ve gone on to complete my second and this weekend will be my third sprint distance. And my new goal has become finishing the Hy-vee Triathlon, which is Olympic distance.

I knew going into it that it wasn’t just losing the weight that was important. It was establishing the habit, and creating the desire to continue working out. Staying fit. Not just getting fit. John was able to help me through all the downs – vacation, sickness, injury, and my own mental “I suck at this attitude.”

I may be able to go out there and paint an 80 foot mural or write a 200 page book, but workout consistently? For that I needed professional intervention.

So the moral of the story? Know when you need help. And know what your options are. I’d spent the last 4 years trying to get on track and I’ve exhausted a lot of options available. For me, getting a trainer was a last ditch effort to get me on track, but for others who don’t have quite such extreme hang ups about fitness there are less costly options.

Here are 5 things to try to get you on track

1. Live Strong- using the myplate feature to track your food and fitness, if you really stick to it, you’ll loose weight.

2. Set a goal and use an app or a website to set up a training program — like a 5k and one of those couch to 5k in 12 weeks type of programs.

3. Join a fitness group – if you already have an activity you enjoy, like running, cycling, or tennis for instance – join a group. It will help you stay on track and make it fun.

4. Sign up for a “boot camp” – if you need a boost and someone to get you started, boot camp style group classes can be great to build momentum.

And if you feel like you’re where I was and willing to squeeze some money out of your budget to have someone show you how to take care of your most important tool and asset: your body — here are some things to help you save some money.

  • Take advantage of the free consultation, they almost always have it.
  • Always look for deals. A couple of times a year, the gym will undeniably have a sale on personal trainer packages.

I really struggled writing this post. It’s hard to admit my failings. But I hope that it might resonate with you. And embolden you to get, or give, the help you need to take care of your body. It really is the most important thing.

Kristin M Roach