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My mom recently began working with a personal trainer.  I found this puzzling because my mom has always worked out on her own in our living room or at the gym, and she taught group fitness classes for many years.  When I asked her why she thought she needed a personal trainer, she said, “Because sometimes I just don’t wanna do it anymore.”

Uh oh.  My mother, the aerobics queen, doesn’t want to exercise?

Okay, there are a couple of reasons for her sudden gym stubbornness. First, some of her old gymnastics injuries have come back to haunt her, which means that a lot of body parts hurt when she moves them.  Second, she no longer has to live in full-steam-ahead mode, so I think checking 50 things off the to-do list every day, including the exercise check box, just isn’t necessary.  She’s obviously grateful that her life is calmer, that all of her children are grown up and self-sufficient (we hope!) and that she has a comfortable home to relax in at the end of each day.  But suddenly working out just isn’t as urgent.

So I give her credit for going to the wellness coach and finding herself a personal trainer.  She knows how important it is that she stay in shape and continue to live a healthy life.  Even if she doesn’t have the same motivation to do the workout on her own, she is going to find a way to get it done.  If that means someone else telling her what to do, then that’s the way it has to be.

I can tell you one thing though — my mom loves Body Jam.   That’s one workout you’d never have to force her into.   Every time my trip to the Midwest is approaching, Mom calls to make sure I bring home my Body Jam music so she can have a private class.  We dance until we can’t dance anymore!  Then we go home and put our feet up.  And, because she’s my mom, she makes us each a salad to sit and eat together.


I work best under pressure. It seems like unless there’s some kind of goal, I kind of just take it easy – that’s why I always feel so motivated when I’m training for a race. There’s a real deadline at stake: if you don’t train to go the distance by race date, well, you might not finish. And that really gets me going! Lately, I haven’t had a goal, and I’ve been kind of lax in my workouts. I’ll think, “well, just relax tonight, you can go tomorrow.” That’s such a pitfall.So, I needed to set myself at competition against myself. I really needed some reason to push and go hard.

I have decided to take the leap (literally, perhaps) into Healthworks’ Bootcamp Challenge. For those of you who don’t know what that means, Healthworks is offering a challenge. You pay $100 and can go to as many bootcamp sessions as you want between June 7 and July 4, and the person who looses the largest percentage of body fat wins some awesome prizes. I’ll admit, the prizes look awesome, but I am just excited for an opportunity to jump start my workouts and get off this plateau.

I went to my first ever bootcamp today, and Sunny pretty much kicked me in the butt. I workout regularly (I mean, sure, lately I’ve been lax, like I said – but I still go 4 times a week or so), but this was unlike any workout I’ve had in recent memory. I worked so hard that sweat was dripping off my nose, arms, and even knees. Class was an hour long and involved a lot of exercises that I have never attempted, or even seen before. It was awesome! I really can’t do pushups, and I’ve set an additional personal goal for myself, that by the end of this month of intensive training I’ll be able to do full out pushups. I’m also psyched to practice my side planks.

I’ve got a bit of a cold, and at one point I felt kind of dizzy and had to back off and drink some water. Today was just the first day, though, and gave me a great feel for what this is going to be like. Wish me luck!

I used to be one of those people that hated the summer. Summertime always meant having to pretend I liked being physical and doing outside things; I didn’t mind those things in theory (I mean, I like nature, I like the feel of sunshine on my skin), but I felt so lazy and out of shape that I could never really enjoy playing or participating. I think it was a mix of low self-confidence and lack of exercise – I hated the way I looked trying to do summer activities, and I hated that I couldn’t really participate fully.

I have to admit, I love being outside. Ever since I started running, I trained outside. I have really grown to love exercising, and while classes at Healthworks are among my favorite activities, there is something about exercising outside that just feels amazing. Last year, I visited my friend J.’s summer home in Maine, and basically for the first time in my life I played every sport that everybody else was playing. Soccer, frisbee, basketball, running, swimming – I did it all, and I loved it. It felt pretty amazing to be able to just go for it, without caring what I looked like or if my body allowed me to be the fastest. I just engaged and went for it, and had a good time.

Every once in a while I have similar experiences, where I suddenly realize that I have this body that can do all sorts of fun, amazing things. J., her boyfriend and I went canoeing on the Charles yesterday. I used to really hate canoeing and kayaking – I never felt like my upper body was strong enough, and I always got so tired, grumpy, and frustrated. This time, though, we just had fun. We all paddled and splashed around a bit, and I felt like I participated the way my body could, which was just as much as anybody else. It feels pretty amazing to be in good enough shape to do all these things. I think I finally get why people like to be active. It’s fun!

– Hannah

I saw my aunt and uncle who live in Texas today for dinner, which is always a joy! I don’t get to see them very often because they live so far away. They are vegetarians, like me, so it is fun to talk about vegetarian food with them over a meal. We had delicious Greek food and I tried a few new menu items I had not had in the past.

My aunt and uncle run a lot outside as their main form of exercise, which is much easier to do in sunny Texas! My cousin is in college in Iowa and recently ran a marathon, so we all shared some stories about working out. Since everyone had traveled quite a distance to our Thanksgiving get together, the weather was a big change. Read the rest of this entry »

Working out and eating right has its advantages.  You lose weight, look and feel better, and have increased health benefits.  However, sometimes the scale just doesn’t match all of your best efforts.  Sometimes you plateau.  Sometimes it just happens depending on what is going on inside your body, your stress level or fluid intake.  If you are also tracking your measurements, the numbers do not lie.

The number on the scale for me hasn’t really budged in a couple of weeks.  I haven’t been working out as much since I started my new job and I’ve also been dealing with some chronic pain issues which totally wipe me out.  So today I decided to check my measurements and compare them to the numbers when I started working out at Healthworks in August.  I was pleased with the results, having lost about 15 inches overall.

I still have a long way to go, but I suggest doing measurements and tracking them once a month if you are feeling frustrated with your results.  The number on the scale isn’t always the number that can show progress and improvement.



I’ll be honest; fitness was not a priority in my life until my metabolism caught up with me in college. Growing up, I was one of those lucky kids that have a fast metabolism and a tall, lean build (thanks mom and dad!) so working out and eating healthy was not a priority to me. Then everything changed. First my metabolism tried to get even with me (despite my best efforts to convince myself that it wouldn’t) and for the past two years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a Boston Celtics Dancer. Needless to say, fitness went from being in the background to being the front and center of my life.

Now, I’m in another state of transition. Sadly, my days as a Celtics Dancer are over, but my love for fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle (yes, I have grown to love it over the past couple years) are not. I’m faced now with trying to keep my motivation to be fit and healthy without the pressure of wearing those costumes on the court in front of tens of thousands of fans! It has taken some adjusting, but I’m realizing that working out because you want to rather than working out because you feel like you should are two completely different things. So now the question is: how am I going to stay motivated and energized about my daily regimen? Stay tuned…


Alex McElroy

Question of the Day: How do you stay motivated to workout?

(Image: Flickr, Coyote-37)