I have never been one of those people who doesn’t like to be alone.  In fact, I am the opposite.  I’ve gotten off trains to avoid people I know (and quite like!) just because I’m reading and don’t feel like having a conversation.  I spent this recent Thanksgiving Day alone at my house (after spending the day leading up to Thanksgiving with family out of state) and although I got sad stares from people when I mentioned this, I had a perfectly lovely day.

I definitely brought my introverted tendencies to the gym when I first started working out.  I heard people talk about the benefits of having a workout buddy, but I felt strongly that the only company I needed (and indeed could tolerate) was my iPod.  But over time I’ve learned that when it comes to working out, there is indeed power in numbers.  If I’m planning a strictly cardio workout and I’m just going to get on the treadmill for 40 minutes, I still want it to just be me and my headphones.  But for other workouts, I find I do much better if I’ve got company.  Things began to change when I started working out with trainers and then started the small group training like Making the Cut.  If I know that I am expected at the gym by at last one person, then I am far less likely to think of an excuse to skip a workout.  And when I’m working out with other people, I find it much harder to (for example) just give up in the middle and lie on the gym floor for awhile (not impossible mind you, just harder).  So when my normal Making the Cut class was cancelled last Thursday, I did something that what have surprised my former self and asked if anybody wanted to get together and work out on the day of the cancelled class.  I’m so glad I did (and I’m glad that someone took me up on it – thanks Jolie!).

So I offer you a piece of advice during this hectic, festive season.  If you find yourself struggling to get to the gym, see if you can find someone to agree to meet you and make a date or find a class and reserve a spot in it.  Or if you find yourself getting to the gym but feel like you aren’t really pushing yourself as hard as you could, try working out with other people and see if it shames inspires you to kick it up a notch .  Or if you just find yourself getting bored while you are at the gym and cutting out early, try making a friend work out with you so you can discuss, oh I don’t know, whether or not Taylor Swift is too young to be dating Jake Gyllenhaal (not that that is what we discussed on Thursday.  We discussed the situation in North Korea and the chilling effect it could have on strained the US-China relationship.  I swear.) Now if you find yourself craving beer and pizza while you are working out, I have no advice for you – but if you figure anything out, please let me know!

This is a photo I took at a statue park outside of Budapest where a bunch of old Communist-era statues are now displayed.  This statue celebrates the awesome power of working out together (I’m pretty sure they are in the middle of some jump squats).  Or maybe the power of the proletariat.  Or maybe both.

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