For whatever crazy reason, this month, I decided to challenge myself to see how many Barry’s classes I could take in 30 days. It turns out: 33! Read more to see what happened…
I apologize in advance if you are SO sick of hearing me talk about Barry’s. But, this post is about much more than that, I promise. It has been almost a year since I wrote my very first post about Barry’s. It was the first time I ever mentioned anything about fitness, body image, and my own insecurities. It was SO hard for me to write but it also helped jump-start so many other amazing journeys for me, like doing the Whole 30, swearing off Photoshop, and posing in a bikini (I still can’t believe I did that). Since that post, I have been going to Barry’s religiously, usually 2-4 times per week.
As you know, I’m a teacher and I have summers “off.” So when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with all that free time… Barry’s and blogging were the only things that came to mind. I decided to buy the biggest package they had which is 40 classes in 30 days. My girlfriend, Jess, aka Bionic Woman, does this every month. And for months I would tell her, “I don’t know how you do that, I would die.” She takes back to back classes—multiple times per week. I would look at her like she was insane, I did this because I never believed that I could do it. She told me every day that I could survive, I had my doubts, but thought, what the hell. And she was right– not only did I do it, but I did it well **insert applause emoji here**!
Never in a million years did I think I would ever take 33 classes in 30 days. But guess what? I did it! And was it hard? Not really — my body hurts — but in a good way. Sure, there were tough classes, and moments where I flipped off my instructor (I’m sorry, Alvin!), and wanted to quit. On the morning of my first back to back class, I wanted to throw up I was so scared—but all my girlfriends came to join me in the second class and made it SUCH a fun morning. I consciously tried to think positively, and that is the ONLY thing that got me through this past month. A few weeks ago, I was swearing I would never take back to back classes, but now it’s my new Saturday routine. Just this past Monday, I was only signed up for one class. But I had so much fun in it that I ran out in between sets to see if the girls at the front desk could squeeze me into the second one too!
So… what happened to me in the past month? Did my body change? Of course. Did I lose weight? I’m sure. Did I gain muscle? Duh. But what I learned about myself outweighs ALL of those things. I look at how far I have come since I started going there… I used to constantly doubt myself, make excuses about why I wasn’t working out, why it was easier to eat the pizza… I was in a rut. I was becoming a bystander in my own life and just sitting there complacent because I had the wrong mindset. I find that this has become so common in life today– why people don’t do things… they don’t have time, don’t have money, blah blah blah. Well, guess what? We’re all busy. We’re all stressed. We all have jobs, lives, families. I am nearing 30 (August is too close for comfort; yikes!), and I feel like I am finally coming into my own. I used to be that person that sat there and made excuses for everything. I would complain and complain — but not do anything to make a change. And now this is my biggest pet peeve about people. A quote that has really helped me on this journey is: “You already possess all the tools you need to change your life.” Jumpstarting the change is definitely the hard part.
Why Should You Care?
I am writing this post for anyone who has ever experienced any of those feelings; self-doubt, insecurity, discouraged, unhappy with yourself, no motivation, etc. This past week I was texting with a girlfriend about how she wants to start exercising… which is great! She said she wanted to start slow and asked for some exercises to do day one. One of the ones I told her to do was a triceps dip. Her response was something like “no way I can do dips, I have no upper body strength.” Okay, so the problem here is not that she can’t do it, but that she THINKS she can’t. Because I know if she tried, she could have done one, maybe even 20 or more. But the idea of it was too daunting and so she didn’t try. I gave her some other things to do, and life went on. I saw so much of my old self in that exchange that it inspired me to write this post. As much as I want to sometimes shake people and scream, “BELIEVE IN YOURSELF” to them, sometimes it won’t work unless they get there on their own.
So that is why I share my story with you all. I choose to share some raw, gritty, not so glamorous parts of my life with you because I want to be relatable. I said from day one, I would always be authentic. I want to be real. And hopefully, I want my story to inspire even just one person. I want to reiterate that I am no expert– nor have I ever claimed to be. This is just my story, and what I’ve learned along the way. The things I have learned in the studio have translated so much into my real life—and have given me the confidence to do things I never even dreamed of… like going on live TV, for example.
People love to make excuses of why they won’t come with me to class… “I’m embarrassed,” I’ll die,” “They’re going to judge me, “it’s too hard,” “I can’t do it,” “I’m out of shape”, “I’m scared to fail.” Guess what? Those are all excellent reasons why you should go! One of the trainers, Mandy (check out her blog here) says ““Never fear failure. You cannot truly succeed until you’ve challenged yourself enough to fail.” This sentiment is true not just for Barry’s but about all exercise, or life in general. I am here to beg you to STOP MAKING EXCUSES. You are only hurting yourself. Is it intimidating? Sure. Will you survive? Yes.
I feel so corny when I say this, but that place truly has changed my life. When I left Reno after our news interview, I headed straight back home so I could make it to the evening class. I walked in and was greeted by so many congratulations, and people who were truly happy and excited for me. The reaction I got from them was more supportive and genuine than some of the people I would consider myself closest to. It made me truly appreciate the past two years I’ve spent going to Barry’s even more.
I know that not everyone has a studio in their city, but if you don’t, I still challenge you to do try and do something that you THINK you can’t, something you’re scared of, something that makes you nervous, something intimidating, something you never thought you could do. You will surprise yourself; I promise.
What I’ve learned in the past month, with my 33 hours in the studio is this: If you believe in yourself, literally anything is possible. You are the only person holding yourself back & it’s time to stop! Here’s how…
5 Tips To Stop Holding Yourself Back
1) Start small. For me, if I set an unrealistic goal in my head and don’t reach it, then I will get frustrated and want to quit. So instead of saying I want to lose 10 pounds in a month, say something like, I want to be able to run a mile without stopping to walk. Once you reach your small milestone, then you can set your sights higher.
2) Go outside your comfort zone. This is true for any aspect of your life. And for me, it’s the hardest thing. I am a creature of habit. But when you do something that you never thought you would, you can really grow as a person. Do something that makes you proud of yourself. For me this month it was going on the news, filming a makeup tutorial on Snapchat, taking back to back classes etc.
3) Think only positive thoughts. This is going to sound crazy — but I truly believe that 90% of the battle with anything is all mental. If you can say to yourself, “I can do this” instead of “I can’t” — then you will. I swore up and down that I could never sprint above a 10.0 but I’ve gone up to 11 (12.5 I’m comin for ya). I was that person who could never give up cheese, but I did that. I thought I could never run a 10k straight through without walking, but I did that. It wasn’t my body that held me back from any of those things, it was my mind. Try believing in yourself a little — you’ll be surprised.
4) Surround yourself with people that believe in you. This seems like common sense, but it is so important to have people who support you. When I did the Whole30 talking about it with people really held me accountable. When I signed up for this package, I had so many people asking when they could join me in class, what time I was going that day, and to ask how I was feeling. Having these outlets really helps whenever you are trying to make a change of any kind. Whether it’s changing jobs, getting out of a relationship, moving to a new city: the support system is crucial.
5) Embrace failure. Okay, so I stole this last one from Jess & Mandy. But it’s so true. If I don’t “fail” in every workout at some point, I’m doing it wrong. If I don’t have to slow down to jog & recover, or drop a weight at some point, it means I didn’t push myself hard enough. The trick with embracing failure is to see it as a good thing. So many people would say something like, “Oh, I tried to run but I could barely do it,” and then never try again. This is where you need to view failure as success and applaud yourself for getting to that point. And then try again.
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