Why the Gym is my Happy Place

I have never been physically fit. I still am not, but I am closer to being so than I ever have been before. I spent the better part of 34 years being bigger than most of my family and friends. With two small active children, this was becoming a major health concern for both my husband and myself. We decided that together we needed to set a path for getting our personal health in order for our children. It has not been a straight and easy path these last few years. Choosing to change our focus together was a big plus for us in the right direction; however, there have absolutely been set backs, and weight gains, and plateaus, and plenty of unhealthy choices. But through our fitness journey, I have truly learned to love working out!

I have been lucky enough to try a variety of workouts across the city through New Orleans Moms Blog “NOLA Mom Strong” events. Have you come and sweated with us at one yet? Being able to try different styles of workouts has been a great way to discover what I truly enjoy; some I have thoroughly liked, and some were just not for me. And for me, Orange Theory Fitness is my jam.

I love to start my day with a workout. I either go early before my kids are up or immediately after dropping them at school. Getting my heart rate up first thing in the morning pumps me full of endorphins and sets my tone for the day. When I am at OTF, I can immerse myself into the music and the coaching and put my focus on myself for an hour, leaving my stress and worries at the door. I feel more energized, have a clear mind, and am ready to tackle the day.

It is just for me.

As busy moms, running through our constant to do lists, it can be hard to remember to put ourselves on that list, much less at the top of it. My workout time is my fully “for me” time.

Most of the time, I completely shut off my brain and focus on my form, my breathing, and the upbeat music. Sometimes, I draft blog posts in my head. Sometimes, it gives me that time I need to contemplate a problem or worry I am facing. And the only thing that anyone asks of me for that one hour is to push myself and give myself more.

I have more self-confidence, not just in personality, but in respecting and in believing in myself.

When I first started going to OTF, I could not, would not, did not run unless being chased. I lifted light, I did not know the terms nor moves, and the TRX / Bosu / Ab Dolly all intimidated me. I wanted to “NOPE” right on out of there and absolutely talked myself out of classes sometimes. But everyone has to start at the beginning, and the OTF staff and family are nothing but encouraging, as are most gyms and studios.

In the beginning, I was a power walker and scared to lift heavy weights. Now I am a jogger, who enjoys challenging my own strength on the weight floor. No one is judging the beginner and everyone is there for the same reason, to better themselves. I could not tell you how many people are in most of my classes nor what anyone is wearing. Typically, if I am actually paying attention to someone, it is because I am genuinely impressed with their skill level and strength. Generally though, my focus is on not falling off the treadmill or rower and not dropping my weights. If you are feeling intimidated about starting somewhere, just remember that everyone had to start at the beginning!

Orange Theory Fitness is a HIIT workout, and the daily routine change gives you a full body workout. While there is always a treadmill and floor / row part of the class, the specific moves and targeted areas change daily. By the end of the week, I feel as if I have done several full body workouts throughout the week. The steady workout routine has helped me to achieve both weight loss and muscle building.

Is your gym your happy place? Where do you workout in NOLA?

Jessica is a native New Orleanian, raising her two young daughters in Mid-City with her husband. After Katrina, Jessica ended up in Houston, Texas where she worked as a corporate event/party planner and met her native Houstonian husband. When they found out they were expecting their first child, they made the move back to New Orleans as Jessica had always wanted to come back home. Jessica is the owner and designer of Nolafionnah Custom Children's Boutique where she loves to design and make clothing for the special little ones in your life. On the weekends you can often find her at a festival, walking to local eateries in her neighborhood with her family, or enjoying a cold one at one of the family friendly breweries around town. Wine, Dateline, and Instagram are a few of her favorite things


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