Ah, C+C Music Factory. Remember this lovely jam? I thought it was time for a workout entry.

I love the gym. Honestly. Love it.

Did I always? Heck no! I didn’t workout consistently until I walked onto Clemson’s NCAA women’s rowing team during my freshman year of undergrad. As long as someone was yelling at me, I kept pushing. Then I chose to focus more on school than rowing and left the team. Walking off the team meant walking away from exercise too, at least in my mind. So I kept eating as though I were still on the team, and that caused some not-so-pleasant weight gain.

I had just started dating David and decided that it would really make sense to do some regular exercise-after all, I was 18 and wanting to impress my boyfriend. Haha. I paired up with Katie, another gal who walked off of the rowing team; we went on runs together several times a week, and my passion for running was born.

Well, that’s a little misleading. I hated running at first. It was hard to breathe, and I felt like my legs were going to quit on me. But I wanted to spend time with Katie, and with our crazy academic and social schedules, the only real time we had was during our super early morning runs. So, as time went on, the running got easier, and I felt better and better afterward. I read somewhere and agree that the reason I work out is for how good it feels when I stop. And of course the health benefits, etc…but it does feel great to stop after working hard.

So, fast forward five years. Beginning of 2008. I’ve run two half marathons and quite a few 10Ks and 5Ks. Five years ago, I never would have guessed that I could ever complete anything like that. I was just excited to run the road around campus-three miles-without stopping. This upcoming year? David and I are planning on at least one half marathon and one full marathon. We cannot wait!

In the meantime, we’ll be at the gym working out with our personal trainer, Mike. He’s hardcore as far as weight-lifting goes, but he’s also a runner, so it works out. If you’re trying to get going on a workout plan and have trouble staying motivated, get a personal trainer. Our gym provides them for free, but for the training we’re getting, it’d definitely be worth the money, if they started charging.

Our bodies are changing, and it’s exciting. Where I used to be able to do not even one real push up, I can now do sets of 15. I used to only use 8-10lb dumbbell for chest presses. Now I’m up to 25lbs. Etc, etc…It’s exciting to see improvement like that in a short amount of time (started at the gym in late October 2007).

And take my word for it, once you start getting into a regular workout routine that really pushes you, you think twice before eating unhealthy food. You certainly won’t want to undo what you just did at the gym. It’s a great kind of self-accountability.

So, what are you doing in this new year to get your health on track? Just like my fortune cookie said, “Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest.” Good luck! You can do it!