Throughout my 30s, I was happy with myself. I made time to exercise, even after my first child was born, and I ate well. I weighed myself occasionally, but not obsessively, and I focused mostly on being a healthy human.
One of the important parts about being the mom to two daughters is, for me, the choice to teach them about body positivity. I have tried my best to impress upon them that they are beautiful no matter what they wear or how they look, that beauty comes from within and how a person acts. But I’m also trying to lead by example. In the past, this wasn’t an issue, but 2016 has been a bad year, and not just for all the reasons that first came to your mind.
It started out with a diagnosis of pneumonia, just a few days after New Year’s. My recovery stretched to several months, as the cartilage between my ribs became inflamed and caused me ongoing pain. I think I was out of the woods for not more than a month, when I had a disc right at the nape of my neck herniate, one night. This sounds tough, but the disc bulged far enough out that a nerve became pinched, which led me to believe I was actually having a heart attack.
Fast forward eight months, four of which required weekly physiotherapy, and I am getting back to normal. The problem? I haven’t worked out in several years now. Let that sink in: I was healthy and active up until several years ago. Now, I’m 25lbs heavier than I was before getting pregnant with my last kid. I don’t fit into my clothes from last winter. And that has to change. I’ve been struggling with finding a way to do that, though, that stays in the realm of body positivity. I don’t want my kids to see me stepping on the scale every single day.
Thanks to my injury, I’ve been nervous to start back on any fitness regime. There are still lots of things I can’t do, and the home workouts I used to do several times a week don’t feel safe for me, anymore. I need guidance from someone who understands how to modify exercises, but I can’t afford a personal trainer.
That’s why I was so excited to learn about, and then experience, Orangetheory Fitness. There’s a new location about 15 minutes from me, and now that memberships are available there, I’ve been going a few times a week. I have never in my life been a gym rat, but this place, this fitness routine, is changing that. It’s absolutely addictive.
First of all, this is a guided 60-minute fitness routine; a trained fitness instructor is with you every step of the way to explain what you’re doing next, motivate you, correct your form, and answer any questions you may have. But these aren’t dance moves; these are running intervals, rowing, TRX moves, weight training moves with dumb bells, all giving you a full-body workout. Literally anyone can do these classes, and I haven’t done the same exercise twice, in my workouts so far. Each class has a maximum of 24 people, and it honestly doesn’t matter what your fitness level is, when you start. I’ve worked out next to skinny yoga instructors and older men who were quite overweight. Everyone manages at their own pace.
But how do you know what your own pace is? Well, OTF actually has its own wearable tech that measures heart rate and calories burned, which displays on a TV screen in the workout area, with your name on it. You get to keep track of what calorie-burning zone you’re in, by paying attention to the colour-coding. I swear it makes plenty of sense when you’re there and your trainer has explained it.
All I know is that I’m burning an average of 500-600 calories during every workout, and I have more energy than I can remember having in, well, years. And instead of dreading my workouts, I find myself looking forward to them. I can feel myself growing stronger, and I am already noticing a big difference in my stamina and how some of my clothes are fitting. And that’s just in two weeks! I can’t wait to see the difference in three months.