Guest Blog Post: I’m the New Year’s resolution gym “newbie” – one year later

IMG_2463I introduced you to my good friend Meghan a year ago from today, when she was a self-proclaimed “gym newbie.” Since we heard from her last, she has become a first grade teacher and has made great progress with her health and fitness.

As I sit here icing my knees and shoulder, I’m feeling reflective. I’ve always been very reflective, even as a child. I was the student who enjoyed writing essays, specifically ones that involved me digging within myself with a personal issue or a reflection on how I felt, etc. I’ve carried this with me throughout my life; I constantly reflect on myself personally and professionally.

“How did I handle this?”

“Why did I choose to handle it this way?”

“How can I have handled it better?”

“Am I satisfied with how I did?”

As a teacher, this is a very useful tool and has helped me as I grow as an educator. As a teacher, we are constantly evolving from year to year (I’d say even month to month!), and I am repeatedly asking myself, “What can I do to make myself better?” Some people have told me I can be hard on myself, that I am my own worst critic and I should give myself more credit for all the work that I do and how hard I work. (I actually had a teacher in college tell me to relax and stop stressing so much in their class! P.S. I got an A.)

While I know I demand a lot from myself, I look at it in a positive light. I demand a lot from myself, because I know what I am capable of. I push myself, because I know I can handle it. I strive to do my best, because I believe in giving 100% in all that you do. I bring this attitude with me to my fitness journey as well. When you choose to adopt a healthy lifestyle, it is just that, a lifestyle. You don’t turn it on or off when it is convenient for you or when you want “likes” on Instagram.

I’ve hit my one-year mark of committing myself to giving 100% to my healthy lifestyle. Right around this time last year, I wrote a Facebook post commenting about all the naysayers and people commenting negatively about people buying gym memberships for the New Year. Why?



Meghan with her brother Jake in November 2013, after she lost weight but before her fitness journey began 

I was one of “those people” who had bought a gym membership. I was the gym “newbie,” and I was annoyed.


These people didn’t know my background or my reasons for joining the gym. I probably ate better than half the people who were complaining about me “hogging their machines.”

With urging from my dear friend Anna, someone who shared my love of clean eating, I wrote my first blog post for this blog. My post was raw and honest and was my way of publicly announcing that I was committing myself 100% to my healthy lifestyle, and the gym was going to be a huge part of it. My blog post was widely applauded, and I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by The Daily Burn, a popular online fitness service, on ways new gym-goers can avoid “gym intimidation.” It was amazing to have someone reach out to me regarding my blog post, and I felt a sense of responsibility. I wanted other people like me – people who were scared, intimidated, and overwhelmed at the thought of going to the gym – to step out of their comfort zone and try it. Not for anyone else but for themselves. If I could say something or reach at least one person, then I did what I set out to do.

It has now been roughly one year since I made that promise to myself. One year since I made that public commitment to live and practice my healthy lifestyle. I have seen tremendous gains not only physically but [also] mentally and emotionally, [and] I have never felt stronger and more focused. Working out for me has become a fixture in my daily routine, much like going to work or cooking dinner. I have grown accustomed to the daily soreness that accompanies a tough workout, wincing when I have to sit on the toilet or take the stairs (!) and using heating pads and ice for those tight muscles. All of these trials would be a perfect excuse to not continue. In the past? Maybe. Now? Not a chance.

I posted a quote on my Instagram a couple days ago that really struck a nerve with me and how I feel.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me; pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness.

All the aches and pains that I feel, I created. When I’m urging my muscles to slam that medicine ball down harder, to push that sled across the turf quicker, to hold that plank for another 30 seconds, I am bettering myself. I welcome them, because that pain is pushing me to do better. I am pushing myself 100% just as I intended, and I will continue to do so.

As I stated in the beginning of [this post], I’m very reflective. I’m constantly trying to better myself and evolve into the best person I can be. I think back to the nervous girl I was last year, entering the gym with my workout plan clutched in my sweaty palms. I even remembering noticing that I smeared my stick figure drawings on my workout plan that showed me how to correctly hold a weight.

HOLD a weight!

I didn’t even know how to hold a weight.

Today, I look at that same girl. I do boot camp classes 3-4 times a week through Power Train 360 and continue to lift several days a week. Recently, I’m challenging myself in new ways, beginning to incorporate interval training and running into my workouts and pushing myself to try the “more challenging” exercises during boot camp. I also have decided to compete in a Spartan Sprint in July, so let the training begin!


Meghan’s progress on her biceps – amazing!

Physically, I have gained 10-12 pounds of muscle, although I no longer worry about the scale. When I wasn’t exercising, I used to be SO consumed with the number on the scale but now rarely think about it. I am about 13 pounds away from the heaviest I was prior to joining Weight Watchers, and I’m in the best shape of my life. It makes you realize that the number is just that, a number.

Mentally, I am tougher than I ever have been. After losing two close relatives in one month, I turned to the gym for solace and comfort, and finally overcame my fear of dead lifts. After dealing with something as traumatic as multiple deaths in your family, a dead lift pales in comparison.

To know that I am doing things physically that I never thought I could do gives me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and empowerment. It makes me want to see just how far I can physically push myself to succeed. As cliché as it sounds, I realized you can do anything you set your mind to if you’re not afraid of the hard work that goes with it.

To all of my New Year’s Resolution “newbies” – I was you. I was in your very shoes. I know how you feel, and I sympathize with you, because I know how scared I was to doing something out of my comfort zone. But trust me, you won’t regret it.

You were born to do great things, so go out and do them.


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