I have gone back and forth a few times about writing this post mainly because I wasn’t sure where to start! Like I said on Instagram, I am definitely not an expert and I will never claim to be.
Almost 8 months ago Braun and I made the decision to start working out and doing something with our mornings that would set us on the right path and help us have more energy. I think every person who crosses the threshold of a gym has their goals in mind. Weightloss, bulking, toning, energy…no two reasons the same and no wrong reason.
I seriously applaud anyone who gets up the courage to workout. It’s scary!
While my goal wasn’t to lose weight, I was definitely rocking a bod that wasn’t doing me many favors.
After struggling with gluten and arthritis for more than a decade, I found myself with really low energy levels, an uncomfortable level of softness, and daily pain/discomfort. I was diagnosed with arthritis and really high levels of inflammation in my teens and I’ve dealt with the side effects of it throughout my teen/adult life. It’s one of those things that is hard to see on the outside but definitely wreaks havoc on the joints and ligaments of the body. There’s a definite disconnect when how you look on the outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside!
Compound that with my digestive issues and there were a lot of years I wasn’t a super happy camper. I remember when I was pregnant with Dash (7 years ago) and having to brace myself to even go up the stairs. My joints were giving out on me and I was MISERABLE. A day didn’t go by where I didn’t have to take some sort of medication. I was always trying to fight off a migraine or coax myself to go up the stairs. That isn’t a fun way to live.
Many of you know that Braun and I went on a trip last January and used those few days to talk to one another and set goals for our family. We talked about each of our children, our hopes and goals for us as individuals and for us as a couple and even plans for our home. We didn’t leave anything on the table!
This included our health.
SHOP SPORT BRAS
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With Braun being on the road so much of the year, taking care of family stuff falls to me a lot of the time in the off-months and I gotta admit, working out is the last thing I wanted to do. But Braun and I made it a goal this year to be more physically fit. Not so we could rock our swimsuits with pride (I’ve been told that even the most physically fit people in the world have body confidence issues when it comes to rocking a swimsuit) but so we could keep up with our kids and so maybe for once, I could be free of pain.
For me personally, it was about strengthening my body and giving it the attention it needs in order to work best for me.
I have been fairly fit throughout my life thanks to cheerleading and chasing after 4 kids but I hadn’t done much in the way of working out once I had a few kids. It just wasn’t a priority anymore. But thank heavens, that finally changed.
So that first morning waking up to go workout was a doozy!
Braun and I decided to join Orange Theory Fitness. This is what they say on their website:
“Orangetheory is a 1-hour, full body workout, focused on training endurance, strength, and power. We use heart-rate based interval training, which burns more calories post-workout than traditional exercise. When wearing our exclusive OTbeat heart rate monitors, your real-time results are displayed on large screens throughout the studio. Intensity is based on your individual heart rate zones, making the workout effective for all fitness levels. To top it off, our certified coaches lead the workout to prevent you from over or under training.“
In Tara talk, this means that they kick your butt for an hour and you compete to get splat points – the more points, the better. The kicker is that the more physically fit you get, the harder it is for you to get splat points because you have to push your body to the next level! It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, there’s more than a few mornings when I came home sore, but more often than not, I’m so thankful for the new things I discover that this body of mine can do.
There are a few things I love about working out at OTF:
- It’s geared toward ALL levels of fitness, and everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace.
- There are options available to you if a certain body part is off limits for you – their trainers are trained to help you work at your own pace doing a movement that is right for your body.
- You get to work out with people that are also going at their own pace, doing their thing, who don’t care what you look like, how hard you’re working, or if you’re better or worse at an exercise. You’re all just in there, trying to get your splat points! 😂
Another perk is the people you rope into doing OTF with you! This is my sister and she attends the same local class Braun and I do, along with a few other friends, and we have a blast!
Plus, I have loved that it has locations all over the U.S. so missing isn’t a worry because you can always hit up a local gym! We have gone in Hawaii, New York City and Braun finds them when he travels back east for work too.
But the best part of all, is the change I’ve seen and experienced in myself. I love to workout now. Who would have thought?!?
Seriously, I actually look forward to getting in there and sweating! (Who am I?)
Yes, there are mornings that I’d rather be in bed…but they’re far less than the mornings that I can’t wait to get active!
I would also like to note that initially, I had to dumb down A LOT of the workouts. If people were running, I started with power walking at an incline. Some people were lifting heavy weights and I started with 10’s. Was I embarrassed about that?? NO!! Everyone starts somewhere. Did I feel stronger immediately? No. Did my joints kill every day for the first few weeks? YES! Did that eventually go away? YES.
That body above? That’s me, in August. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of this body. It’s given me 4 healthy kids, been through a killer car crash, has taken me all over the globe, and still takes a beating.
But this body was tired. This body had very little energy, and this body was throwing me curve balls right and left with flair ups, pain, inflammation, indigestion, migraines…all sorts of surprises.
And it was time for me to start taking care of my body if I wanted it to continue to take care of me!
This is 3 months ago at my first check-in:
• • •
This is me today:
Fast forward 8 months and this body probably doesn’t look crazy different than the one in August but I can feel a difference and that’s what really matters. I can’t tell you my measurements because I don’t know them. I can’t even tell you I went down a few sizes in clothing – because I didn’t.
But what I can tell you is that I don’t want to take a nap at 3 pm every day (ok, maybe I still do but it’s because naps are amazing, not because I’m fighting to keep my eyes open!)
SHOP MY SHOES
• • •
My body doesn’t hurt. I don’t wake up with aches and pains. My fingers don’t swell so bad or as often as they used to. I feel less puffy (arthritis people will totally understand this one).
And I haven’t had a migraine in months! This alone is enough to get me into the gym every chance I get.
The small things are what has made the biggest impact. Not only is my body stronger than ever before, but I’ve grown stronger mentally, as well as spiritually. How? By learning a new discipline, committing to something hard, keeping my mind sharp and focused, and finding peace within myself when some days I felt “less than”.
I know the struggle is real – I can’t even imagine going back to where I was 7 months ago. But there are a few other things that I’ve learned along the way that just might help you with your journey:
- Drink lots of water – simple enough, right? Guys, this was so hard for me! I cut out Sodalicious and have carried my Hydro Flask around with me non stop!
- Make a healthier choice – notice I didn’t say, “make all healthy choices.” Just make a healthier one. Have one scoop of ice cream when you want two. Swap out your french fries for oven baked sweet potatoes. Go to bed instead of having that snack at 11 PM. Going cold turkey is rough – some people can make it happen – but I recommend being mindful about every choice. Ask yourself if there’s a healthier option. If there is, give it a try! You will notice that I still enjoy my treats. But I always start off my day with a good protein shake, I try to have healthier options for lunches and dinners too. I plan on doing a clean(er) eating blog post in the future too. So hopefully it will be helpful.
- Start Moving – If you don’t move, you fuse. It’s gospel. The more sedentary you are, the harder it is to move. Get up and go for a walk, jump on the trampoline, do yoga (I even do this and just watch a video from YouTube! There are so many helpful videos on YouTube if getting to the gym isn’t possible!) Like I said before, my joints were SO bad. Years and years of wear and tear + inflammation had really gotten me in a bad place. It took a few weeks but as my muscles got stronger, my joints did as well. I honestly never notice joint pain anymore. I literally never thought I would be able to say that in my entire life.
- Find A Partner – This isn’t a must but sometimes it’s helpful to have an accountability partner. Someone to drag you out of bed when your bad judgment gets the best of you! Braun has coaxed me from my bed on more than one occasion!
So I’m challenging You. Yes, YOU! To do something different in 2019. To make yourself a priority. To move. To Feel. To be more.
I am freer this year physically and mentally than I have been in a long time. I’m so thankful for this body of mine. It’s a work in progress – just like my mental, spiritual, and overall health.
And not having a “mom butt” anymore is a definite perk!
P.S. I’d love to hear about your journey! If you’re making positive changes in your own life, tell me below!