Getting Fit: The Power of Supportive Women

Wow. What a powerful effect some words of encouragement can have on a lady trying to tone up and lose baby weight. A few months ago I joined a local exercise class. On my way out of class today, one of the women in my class stopped me to tell me I looked great. It boosted my confidence instantly to know that making my health and fitness a priority in an already jam-packed schedule is paying off, at least a little.

We as women do not encourage each other like this as much as we should. How many times have I seen a fellow mom navigating a grocery store aisle with a screaming toddler and taken a moment to say “you’re doing just fine, it happens to all of us,” or commended a coworker for a presentation that she knocked out of the park. Not enough.

I have never been able to stick with an exercise program until this one. Now with the extra weight from having my daughter accompanied by the desire to relieve stress and boost my energy, my need for regular exercise is greater than ever before. At the same time, support and encouragement from other working moms is very welcome at this point in my life and I would be lying if I said the social aspect of the course didn’t serve as an incentive for showing up.

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(What does it take to get me out of my ballet flats and into my Nikes?)

Here are three reasons I have been able to stick with this course for several months now and intend to stick with it:

1. Proximity to my home and office. While this might not be possible for everyone, there is always some way to be active in your regular day-to-day setting. Walk around the building if you have to. If possible, join a gym near your home or office so you are more likely to go before or after the work day or at lunch.

2. The course I attend is different every time. Not only does this seems to be effective for my muscles, it keeps me from getting bored, and, if there is an exercise I absolutely hate (I’m talking about you, bird dog planks), I know I’m not going to have to do it every single time.

3. A supportive instructor and classmates. This is the big one. It is evident the class instructor wants us to succeed. She has been on her own fitness journey and does not hesitate to share the ups and downs of that journey with the class. The classmates are helpful and non-judgmental. We are all there to learn and improve ourselves. We are not watching each other and criticizing how our classmates execute the various, sometimes very complicated exercise moves. If you have time and energy to criticize your classmate, you’re not working hard enough.

I encourage everyone out there to find a way to be active that works for you, and with it, some kind of support system that will keep you engaged. Meanwhile, thanks to the ladies who keep me motivated and feeling good. You know who you are!

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