Today I wanted to talk about exercising and the happiness that it brings.

I’ve never been a huge fan of working out. A few years ago, if you gave me the option of going to the gym or watching a movie on the couch, I would say “movie on the couch” in a heartbeat. I have to admit that I still have these moments, but they are far more rare.

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It can take a lot of energy and strength to get yourself back on track and exercising, but once you do, you are unstoppable!

I’ve recently realized that working out makes me a much nicer and happier person. No matter how hard my workout is at the time, or how much my quads are burning, or if my heart is racing so fast I think I’m going to die in spin class, it’s only an hour of my day. It’s only a tiny fraction of my day being uncomfortable and pushing my limits until I am in an excellent over the moon happy mood. And to be quite honest, sometimes I think of the men and women training in the armed forces for inspiration to push through. If they can survive bootcamp, I can make it through 1 hour of exercising!

Sometimes I spend too much time in my head and I am so darn hard on myself. I beat myself up for not being as “perfect” as others. The more I compare myself and my body to others, the more depressed I get. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. The only way to get out of my own head and stop comparing is to focus on me, and me only. How do I do this? I workout.

I love who I am after I workout. I love that my mind is clear and my thoughts are all positive. I’m proud of myself for getting to the studio and being there. I’m proud of myself for not giving up when I’m at my limit. I’m proud of myself for pushing through and completing the workout. I’m surprised and amazed by how strong my body is and what it is capable of accomplishing. I love that I feel stronger and stronger after each class. I am grateful for this strong body that I have worked so hard for. I am proud of myself, and that makes me the happiest.

In the past couple of weeks, I have really stepped out of my comfort zone.
I took my first ever pilates reformer class, I took back-toback spin classes, and I sat in the front row. I even did a two-a-day three-a-day completely unplanned because I felt so great and energetic! All of the above make me so happy and proud! Was I excellent at pilates? Heck no! I practically folded into a pretzel during one of the workouts. Was I ranked #1 on the leaderboard at spin class? Not even close! But I showed up, I worked my butt off, I never took a break, and I smiled bigger than ever before after that workout.

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I’ve realized that so much of my happiness comes from stepping out of my comfort zone and the feeling of accomplishment after I do so. As I have talked about before, I struggle with depression. But I don’t like who I am when I’m depressed. No matter how comfortable I get being isolated from the world and in my own head, I know that’s not who I am. I’m loud, funny, obnoxious, extremely energetic, and full of life. And when I’m down, that’s my inspiration to get happy. No matter how deep down the rabbit hole I may be, I know that that Catherine is just peeking out from the top. No matter how awful working out may seem at the time, I know that as soon as I get on that spin bike and the instructor says my name that a little spark in me ignites and the happy me is there. Even when I think I can’t make it through, I know that fitness is 100% mental. That my body wont go where my mind doesn’t push it. My body hears everything that my mind says, so I must think of positive things and believe in myself that I can do anything and it will happen. It really will.

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It’s incredible how powerful the mind is, how strong our bodies are, and how a bad day can change from some measly little endorphins after a workout. I want to continue this routine that I am in because this is by far the happiest I’ve been in a long time, and it has nothing to do with my body. I say this with the biggest smile: I am so proud of myself! Instead of being down on myself for stupid little things, I am so proud of what I have accomplished. I am proud of being healthy, having a career that I love, and for pushing through the low points and lemons that life hands me.

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I am here with one purpose, to inspire you. I hope that today, you sign up for a group exercise class or something that you have been too afraid to try in the past. I often hear the same things from so many people about trying spin for the first time. “I’m so out of shape, I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up.” “Everyone in class is going to be so fit and I look so heavy.” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” If you have ever thought of any of the above before, let me tell you that none of that matters. NONE OF IT. No one cares what you look like, no one judges you for being in the studio and working out. Every single person in that studio has been in your position. Everyone there went to spin for the first time not knowing what they were getting into. Heck, half of the people might have been overweight or out of shape when they first started! Maybe that’s where their life changed and they fell in love with working out? You never know! No one at the studio is going to care what you’re wearing or what you look like. To be honest, they are probably too busy trying to make it through the workout to care or even notice! Step out of your comfort zone and go for it! After all, you’re only one workout away from a good mood.

Health & Happiness xo
Catherine

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25 Responses so far.

  1. Wow! I am beyond encouraged!! I needed to hear this!! Love all your post.. I cannot tell you enough the amount of influence you have made in my life, in getting my life back. Thank you!

    Response from Linda
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  2. Catherine,
    I couldn’t agree more with your statement “Comparison truly is the thief of joy.” I have been following your blog for sometime and recently found myself re-reading many of your posts. I find you so inspiring and relatable to many individuals. Thank you for reminding me that no one is alone and to always be proud of how far we have come. This past year has been filled with many obstacles for myself and running has seemed to be the only thing that puts a smile on my face and clears my busy mind. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year, as well as trying new things :) perhaps I’ll give yoga a try again! Yoga for me is what spin is for many, stressful!

    Response from Jessica
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  3. Thank you for such an inspirational post! This is the kind of encouragement that I need to hear. Ive just begun to loose weight, im down 22 1/2lbs. I have some more to go yet but I feel the need to exercise now but have all the thoughts you mentioned. You’re post has made me decide to do one thing even if its only a small thing … Thank you :o)

    Response from Sarah
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  4. Hi Catherine,

    I adore you and your site. I have been doing step aerobics at home for a while but I am getting bored. What dvds do you recommend? I am intrigued by the photo of the dvd with the bosu balance ball! What dvd is that?

    Response from Marisa C
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  5. The gym is my happy place! I discovered this late in life but discover it I did! All because of an amazing trainer. Pushing myself to see what this old body can do is the biggest high ever ( you see I am 61 years young) Oh and losing 127 lbs too. You keep going girl life is good when you are healthy and fit.

    Response from Jane
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  6. Catherine thank you! I really needed to hear this right now.

    Response from Kasey Martin
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  7. Love it. You’re so on point and real and I think that makes all the difference. I remember before I started exercising regularly I had a “goal weight” in my mind and I never thought I’d reach it. I did and went well past that but something amazing happened and I stopped caring about the number on the scale. I know that I’m not an itty bitty thing but I’m strong, powerful, and muscular and I am also happier than I can ever remember being. For me, the hardest part of exercising is the build up. Once I’m dressed and ready to go I figure I have to do it and I told my friend once, “I’ve never finished an exercise and regretted it but I always regret the ones I make excuses for not doing.” It’s great to see you so positive and inspiring! I follow this blog and Blogilates pretty religiously and both you ladies are so positive and uplifting, it’s truly refreshing. You inspire me to try to live my life in a more positive light.

    Wishing you nothing but the best!

    Response from Emmalee
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  8. What a great piece. I agree with you on everything 100%. It’s my resolution this year to get outside my comfort zone, because that’s where change and growth happen! I love that working out is a celebration rather than a punishment xox Georgie

    Response from Georgie
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  9. This post was just what I needed to see! I’ve been trying to get back on track with healthy eating and exercise, and I feel the same way as you. Exercise is far from my favorite thing in the world; I would much rather sit on the couch and watch TV, but like you said (and what I realized myself last year), a workout is only an hour of the day. There are 23 other hours of the day to sit around or do whatever else I want. I always feel so much better and in such a good mood when I’m done with a workout, knowing I pushed myself and accomplished something great!

    When I first started working out many years ago, I became a slave to the treadmill and elliptical – not that those machines aren’t good to use, as I still use them today, but I felt like I HAD to use them. I could see how many calories I was burning (even though the numbers were probably far from accurate), what distance I was traveling, etc. Last year, something just clicked and I knew I couldn’t fall into the rut of doing the same workout everyday. I tried a lot of new things – Zumba (fun, but not for me), barre (loved it), and spin class (my new favorite!) My first ever spin class was done on a whim (I basically decided at work one afternoon that I was going to go to spin class that night), and I’m so glad I did!

    Struggling with some personal food issues during the second half of last year and basically giving up on exercise, I lost a lot of endurance that I had built up, but I’m slowly getting back in the swing of things. I’m realizing that I’m not going to be able to do the things that I could right away, but I’ll get there. I’ve had some really great talks with a friend who is many years recovered from an eating disorder, and she put a lot of things in perspective for me; I’m so grateful for her. I’m also very grateful for your blog, and what you share with your readers! Thank you!

    Response from Christina
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  10. Amen to this post! Working out and eating healthy has definitely made me a much happier person! I live for that workout high : )

    Response from Eryn
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  11. Thanks so much for this, Catherine! I have just gotten back on the workout routine after WAY too long of a break! It is hard (and frustrating) starting over, but I know I have to do it and I’ll be back to my old self (mentally and physically) in no time!

    You have officially inspired me to try a spin class for my workout tonight. I have always wanted to try it, but have always been afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it! Do I need to have any special equipment or will anything I need be provided?

    Response from Emily
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  12. Thanks for sharing! I can definitely relate the high that is given from working out! It’s been therapy for me since 2001. It was refreshing to read your personal success with it!

    Response from Ana
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  13. I’m SO glad you made this post- I’m currently suffering from the past issues you were speaking about. I want to get back into a full fitness routine but it’s extremely hard to do so, one of the reasons is because I’ve been suffering with weight all of my life (not anything crazy, but enough to make me want to loose some weight) and in the meantime I’ve been getting hurtful comments, even breakups, about my weight. I find it so hard, because I don’t want to do it because of the mean comments, I want to do it for myself and trying to get out of depression for good is a huge obstacle to overcome. I’m hoping in the next two months I can overcome my fear of starting, and pushing on with it….hearing your story so similar to mine, did help a bit!

    Response from Laura
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  14. I love everything you said in this post. You literally took everything out of my head and typed it, from how working out effects your mood to what people and myself feel on a day to day basis when trying something new. You are not only a beautiful person, but a beautiful writer, with the ability to connect and reach out to so many people.

    Response from Sarah Shelton
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  15. Hey- this is awesome! Thank you for opening up. I learned just the other day that to overcome a negative thought, you must think of three positive thoughts. Which is can be frustrating, why are negative thoughts so strong?? But I have started using this to my advantage- any time I think of something bad about myself, I switch gears and think of three positives. It has really helped me be an overall more-positive person. And you have definitely inspired me to throw something new into the workout mix!

    Response from Sarah Rose
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  16. When I saw this this morning, I was totally inspired! I worked my butt off in my workout today, thanks to you! And I feel GREAT! Yay!

    Response from Lauren McGinnis
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  17. Love this post! Thank you so much for sharing – I have struggled with many of the same things, especially having a negative mindset. Wanted to let you know that YOU are 100% responsible for inspiring me to start spin class – just completed my third class today, and I can already feel my body changing! Blessings.

    Response from Kaitlyn
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  18. How do you balance work and exercise? I feel like it is impossible to exercise after a long day of work, especially with grad school some evenings. And I already wake up so early. What do you suggest, other than waking up before dawn to work out?

    Response from Jenn
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  19. This is such a timely reminder. In the past year I cut fast food and processed food out of my diet and slowly began working on making healthier meals at home. I lost 30 lbs (with another 15 to go) and while I am still learning and refining my diet and figuring out what works for me, I really want to tone up, get active, and really go all the way. But I keep finding excuses not to start, I get depressed, compare myself to my athletic sister and think-with-no-effort-after-four-kids best friend, and then get more depressed and wonder what the point is. I get tired, lethargic, sleepy, I have no energy and no motivation but then I get mad at myself for not just going out and DOING it. The reminder that it is worth it and CAN be done is really needed right at this moment. It’s good to remember that other people are dealing with similar feelings and issues and if they can do it, so can I.

    Response from Nickelle
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  20. Hi honey! I’ve been a reader of your blog for some time now but I don’t think I had left a comment yet! Your story was so inspiring and motivational. Thank you for sharing all of your tips and recipes with us! You are amazing. Keep it up! God bless. xx

    Response from Angela Marie
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    • Awwww thank you so much Angela! xoxo

      Response from Catherine
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  21. Thanks so much for being so frank in this post. I struggle with depression as well and have for a long time. It’s really is like falling “down the rabbit hole” when it hits, and it’s usually after a period of exciting social activity, a great accomplishment or some other good thing. It’s pretty awful, and I’ve realized recently that almost nothing can get me out of it as well as exercise can. It’s amazing how those emotions can be a result of chemical imbalance and how some physical activity can be restorative. I’ve always been very analytical and have a tendency to think or write through my problems, but it’s strange to realize that in the case of depression, thinking and writing can actually make it worse.

    Response from Louise
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    • Hi Louise! I know exactly what you mean! You are not alone, I go through the same thing! And ya, it’s crazy how nothing helps like exercise does. Even when it’s a really rough day and I don’t want to do anything, exercise changes my mood like nothing else!

      Response from Catherine
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  22. Exercise is definitely a mood changer! I actually LOVE to exercise after I get through it haha!… but I have lacked the focus to remain consistent! I am trying to keep at it though and make a goal from 15-30-to an hour workout a day…the great thing is when I feel tired or crappy or just don’t feel like doing it, I will tell myself to just do 5 min. and once I would get the 5 min. in I would want to do more! I also love to mix it up ALOT like doing something a little different eeeevery day and I change up workouts a lot and keep things simple…I am more into at home workouts so I can do whatever I am up for that day. The only thing I strive to MAKE myself consistent in is running…I am more of an interval runner because I change it up so much I haven’t run very often (especially in the winter), but it is the one thing that I want to really push myself into so that I can run fully and consistently…otherwise I stick with a lot of simple strength training, simple yoga, pilates etc. etc. All in all, consistency is key and that is more what I am working at.

    I am relatively new to your site and I love the idea of your rabbit food pyramid and have actually used the basic guidelines that you laid out… I really like your fitness posts as well…

    Response from Leah
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  23. Catherine I’m so happy I stumbled upon this post. I have a background of working out a lot, and moving to the midwest where it gets cold and I don’t like the cold. But this post and many of your recipes are so motivating that I’m finally getting back to it regularly. I’m a much happier person when I workout too :)

    Response from Ka'ili
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