In 2004 I knew I had to get more yoga and exercise in my life. I have AS (arthritis) and really needed this as part of my life. I decided to jointhe gym. My goal wasn’tto lose weight, or gain muscle, but so I could walk each day and not be in pain. Sounds like a pretty easy decision to join a gym– right?! No. I was afraid because I have never gone to a gym. I had never worked out with other people before. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to wear or do. I had heard that these people at a gym are just worried about their body and how good they look. I was not so sure about this, but I signed up anyway. I looked at the schedule to see what classes I could take because I had no idea how to use the weights or equipment. I saw a beginners yoga class and thought I could do that since I had been doing yoga at home by video. I wore my sweats and a t-shirt– is that what people wear? It was hard to do something new. I haven’t done something out of the old routine for years and years. I had classified myself as a “work from home mom” and that’s all. There was something exciting and scary about this and I was not comfortable at all. The first class was good. I did get hot in all my sweats, but didn’t have any other choices at the time. I watched with curiosity what people wore and brought to the gym. I started off by going once or twice a week to the yoga class then after a few months added in a pilates class. I bought some yoga pants and top. I kept this routine for a year. Then I started to love this new life. I felt better. I was getting stronger in my mind, body and spirit. I started to go 5 days a week. I made friends there. I started to try other classes and teachers. The words of encouragement lifted me to a place I had never been before. I was strong and fit and I felt good. My arthritiswas starting to get better as I got stronger. I followed around a teacher, Laura, that I adore. She was inspiring! I went to a lot of the classes she taught. She kept telling me for a year to try spin.I hear that’s the class where you are on a bike, it hurts your butt and you have to wear funny shoes. No thanks. But in 2007 I decided to make some New Years goals. I decided for that year my goal would be to try something new (haha- making goals for the new year wasNEWfor me!)Ok this year I will give in and try spin. Finally,I gave it a try.

spin bike

Spinning at sunrise

No I didn’t have to wear their shoes- my gym shoes worked just fine. The first class I told myself to just stay on the bike for the hour. Yes my butt hurt, but after 3 times it didn’t. If I went consistently once or twice a week it didn’t hurt at all. Wow I think I like this. No, actually I love it. What’s cool about spin is you can adjust how hard you want it to be and nobody can tell. I added spin into my weekly classes and started to learn even more about myself. I love to exercise. I love to be with adults for an hour a day. I love the environment of a gym- there’s so much good energy. The people are like me. They areworried about their body, but not in the materialistic way I thought they would be. They wanted to be healthy and strong and didn’t compare. They want everyone to be healthy and strong. They lived a healthy life-style. I went at 9am each morning after I dropped off the kids at school. That’s”mommy hour”. Not the “single” scene I had imagined.

So what I was learning so far… trying something new is fun. I was finding out more about myself. So what was to stop me from trying any class? I found a friend, Anjee who is ultra athletic, and she had me go to classes with her. Hard classes like lifting weights, kick-boxing and cardio galore. What was even crazier- over time I could do them. I even did a 10 week swimming class- now that was stretching the limits, but I found one of my best friends, Julie, from that. I had grown from not daring to go to a yoga class once a week to going to 3 hours of classes some days. When I went shopping all I would buy was gym clothes (that’s still the case). I have learned through yoga to listen to my body on what to eat. Some days I craved hamburgers- well a lot of days, maybe months, because I found out I needed the protein. Some days I craved salads. My poor family got to eat what I was craving each day! I also learned to listen to my gut more. I even tried things outside the gym like water skiing and surfing. I had never been able to do these things because my body hurt and I didn’t have the strength. I started to think, “Everything I ever needed to know I learned at the gym!”

Body by Banks

Through this experience I learned that trying something new is a good thing. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to keep doing it. I have found some classes I don’t love and that’s ok. I have found life-long friends. I have found out with practice I can get better. It’s ok to give myself time each day so I can grow inside and out- it’s not selfish (This may have been one of the hardest lessons to learn for me. I had always put my family first and found out if I feel better, I can give better). I learned confidence. I learned that being uncomfortable is part of life, just adapt. I love health and learning. I learned how to sweat and I can do hard things. I even tried Michael Banks Trimetrics a 30 day challenge- now that is hard and fabulous! I now say I will try anything once. Matt thought that was awesome until I said the word SKYDIVING.

Tomorrow is the New Year! It’s time to decide on goals for 2015. I made my fitness goal for the year. Have you? Maybe you could try something new? This goal to try something new may be the best thing I have ever done! It put me on a great path.