The Rest of the Story on Working Out

Read the first part here.

This went on for some time, until I realized I had absolutely no muscle tone. I was skinny fat—you know, the person who is thin, but doesn’t put all that much healthy stuff inside. I no longer needed to be fit to be thin. I wanted to be fit for my health.

I signed up for a classes only gym membership; I didn’t have any interest in working out on my own in the weight room or on the cardio machines.  I needed someone to tell me what to do.  Fortunately, I loved my new workout regimen.  I started with Body Pump 2-3 times a week, then added in Step Aerobics and Kickboxing, and finally, Zumba when it came to my gym. 

I loved everything about these workouts.  Trying to master a new step routine not only made me fit, it was fun!  The same went for kickboxing and Zumba.  I loved that I was exercising, but I also just loved the comaraderie with my fellow gym-goers, the challenge of a new class, or adding weight to my tracks in Body Pump.  I felt strong and healthy–the exact way I wanted to feel from working out.

There were the added benefits of increased muscle tone, too.  I didn’t necessarily lose weight, but I looked leaner.  I distinctly remember the first day in the spring when I wore shorts to the gym and noticed how toned and slim my thighs looked in the mirror.  It was exactly what I had always wanted, but not necessarily something I was working toward.  I tend to hate it when people say things happened “organically,” but it really did.  Instead of working out to be skinny, I worked out to be fit.  I worked out because it made me feel strong and healthy and alive. 


Shortly thereafter, some coworkers signed up to run a 10K, and I was feeling very jealous.  At the ripe old age of 22, I had been told by doctors that I had a condition called chondromalacia of the patella.  In other words, I had worn all of the cartilage out of my knees from running.   At the time, I was told I wouldn’t be able to run again.  Ever.  While disappointed, I was also strangely relieved—like I had gotten off the hook somehow.  But that was before.  Now, with my coworkers talking about training plans and group runs, I felt left out.  I wanted to run, too! 

Determined to do it, I decided to try running again.  Very slowly, and only a mile or so at a time, I began to build up my stamina.  My knees would still bother me from time to time, but keeping a slow pace allowed me to run.  I did so with the goal of simply completing my runs—not for time, pace, or distance, but just for me. 

Over time, I worked my way up.  Two miles turned into four and four turned into six.  The more I ran, the more I wanted to run.  Just to see.  Could I do it?  How far could I go?  How strong could I get? 

Last summer, running became my go-to stress reliever.  I didn’t just want to run anymore; I needed to run.  I wasn’t training for anything or anyone but me.  Running made me feel strong.  Accomplished.  Powerful.  Could I run 8 miles?  Yep.  10?  Uh huh.  And the way I felt afterward?  Unparalleled.  Like I could do anything.  Even when nothing else in my life was going my way, running always made me feel empowered. 

Do I always want to workout?  Heck, no!  Oftentimes my workouts are hard.  My lungs are screaming and my muscles are burning and my body wants to quit.  I don’t always love getting myself there, but I do love the way I feel afterward.  If I miss a workout, of course it’s not the end of the world, but it makes me pretty darn cranky.  Not because I didn’t get to exercise, but because I need the release. 

So I carve out some time most every day for myself to move.  Because I want to.  Because I can.  Because nothing makes me feel stronger or tougher or better than the accomplishment of a great workout. 

Why do you workout? 




8 thoughts on “The Rest of the Story on Working Out

  1. GREAT post! I love this!! That’s so funny that you referenced being “skinny fat”… my best friend and I used to talk about being skinny fat in high school and people would think we were crazy because we were both thin, but the truth is, we were thin AND fat.

    And I love seeing how much more distance I can cover too, it’s a challenge and one that I look forward to taking on. I’m not the world’s best runner, but I give it my best effort.

    • I’m not a great runner, either, but it’s still fun to compete with myself. 🙂

      I think a lot of people (especially in high school!) are lucky enough to be skinny fat. My little sis eats a lot of crap, but she’s still tiny. I think (hope!) she’s coming around toward some healthier eating habits, though.

    • PS–I am still super annoyed that my work computer doesn’t allow me to comment on your blog! GRRR!

      Oh, my point was to wish you a Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂 Looks like you had a great one!

  2. Ahh what a great, inspiring post! I just read part one before this to get caught up. I think it feels so much better to be “in-shape” because you are capable of doing so much more, plus of course you are healthier in so many ways! I built up to running like you did, and love that fact that I have the ability to run several miles without feeling as if I am going to die haha
    I am proud of athletic ability and I am glad you are too! You go girl 🙂

  3. Those are all great reasons to work out. Like you, I have struggled with anxiety & depression and I’ve found that running has helped with it because of the release I feel. I lay it all out there on the pavement & feel so free when I’m done.

  4. Great post! It’s so important to remember that skinny isn’t healthy- healthy is healthy. Physical exercise is so great for mood and mental wellness too, and I’m so glad that you’re able to do it again:)

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