Do you go to the gym regularly? Do you want to? Do you hate to, but keep dreaming of going to reach fitness or weight loss goals? If you said the last one, I know the feeling. I spent the majority of my life feeling like that. I never felt comfortable in the gym and never found it fun. It felt like a chore.

Now going to the gym has become one of my favorite activities and by far the one that leaves me feeling the best and doing the best in EVERY other area of my life. What changed? Long story short…shortly after my husband died, I started going to prepare for a 5K as well as a last-ditch effort to moderate severe lower back pain that my doc said could only be relieved through major surgery. And I would be remiss if I did not say that I also started going to the gym in a proactive effort to prevent the likelihood that I might literally eat to death in an unhealthy response to traumatic grief.

It would be years before going to the gym would become a natural habit for me. At first, I hated it, but I kept at it as often as I could force myself. I probably went just enough to realize that the more I went, the more it actually did alleviate my back pain. I eventually got into group fitness in the form of dance classes which thrilled me and helped me manage unrelenting anxiety that developed from post-traumatic stress.

However, where I really noticed the change was when I joined the class on Strong Coffey and learned for the first time about self-care and what an impact it has on every OTHER aspect of our lives. Once self-care became my priority, working out became my top priority. This meant going to the gym first thing in the morning EVERY day that they offered child watch or that the kids had preschool. Slowly, the habit grew…the pleasure I felt from it grew, and when I missed it for whatever reason, I saw an equal, but opposite impact.

I am nursing an injury now which is requiring physical therapy three times per week in the mornings, thus getting in the way of my gym habit. Trying to go to the gym in the afternoons seems reasonable, but as it turns out, it has been a HUGE challenge for me. I do not have the same energy and motivation in the afternoons, especially when I missed my morning workout. It made me realize how important the TIME I go to the gym is to my progress and my motivation. I NEED to go to the gym in the morning. The time is crucial. When is your time? When do you feel the most motivated to take on the world?! Everyone is different; self-awareness is the key. Identify and capitalize on what works for you!

With morning sessions in the bag,

Nikola Rosa