• April 6, 2016

    Geek Girls Guide to the Gym: Staying Motivated


    Okay, geek girls… how’s the gym treating you these days?!  If you’re anything like me… you’ve lost some of your enthusiasm and you’re ready to eat a pint of ice cream and take a nap.  Don’t give in, ladies!  Don’t fail yourself!  You can totally keep up the good work!

    When I started faltering, the best thing I did was to find a group of like-minded people who encourage me and check in about my progress.  They help me stay motivated and not feel bad if I mess up a little once in a while.  My group takes the form of several ladies I work with.  We meet once a week to review our goals and progress.  We also try to incorporate an educational element like how much water a person should be drinking every day or how to read nutrition labels.  This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not!  If everyone shows up and brings a little tid-bit to share, the group practically runs itself!  And, because we all know each other’s goals, we can also encourage each other as we think of it during the rest of the week!  We go for walks together and check in about workouts and water intake.  I’d be lost without these ladies!


    In addition to a support network, you can work with a personal trainer or go to the gym with a friend.  It helps to have someone there in the moment to push you just a little harder.  It’s more fun, too!  Some people work with their trainer every week, but I prefer to check in with her every few months or so – I’m pretty good about pushing myself as long as I know what to do.  So, take the time and really weigh what will be the best fit for  you!  The same goes for working with a friend – find someone who will push you, not hold you back.  If you’re at the gym but hardly working… it isn’t worth your time, is it?  Make the most of your time – it’s one of the most valuable things you have!

    Another thing you can do is find a fun group or event that you can attend.  Where I live, there are lots of breweries and wineries, so someone started a workout & wine/beer group where you lift kegs and run around the brewery in order to get a glass of the good stuff when you’re all done.  If boozing and sweating doesn’t sound like fun to you, check out other classes like pole dancing or yoga or biking.  Figure out what appeals to you most and make your workouts fun!  You can also sign up for a fun run like the Color Run or something that benefits a cancer society or other cause you believe in.  This will push you to train before the run and will reward you with a rewarding day of running and celebrating the thing you did.  Most fun runs I’ve been really excited about are about fitness and fun, so they don’t worry about timing you and walkers, joggers, and runners are all welcome (check this out before signing up if you are worried about it).


    As important as it is to have outside encouragement, it’s also important to have plenty of intrinsic motivation.  This can be hard, especially if you have plateau-ed  in your progress.  Some things that help me are:

    • Remember why you started going to the gym in the first place.
    • Make weekly goals/challenges for yourself.
    • If you can’t make yourself go to the gym, make yourself do some exercise at home: youtube yoga videos (Adriane’s is my favorite), Wii fit, bike ride, walk the neighborhood, get some home weights, etc.
    • Treat yo’self – go on a hike, swim in a lake, or some other fun form of exercise.

    The most important thing is to keep trying.  You won’t always be perfect – I know I’m not!  But if you work at it and do your best, that’s all anyone can really ask of you, isn’t it?


  • September 30, 2015

    Nerd Girls Guide to the Gym: Getting Started


    Now that you have all of your stuff and your gym bag is packed, what do you actually do with it all?  If you’re anything like me, the idea of using a machine you don’t understand in front of a bunch of people who are probably way better at this stuff than you are is super intimidating.  My first few times, I decided that I basically understood the treadmill and had used one before, so I hopped on and did my best.  But that gets really old really quick if you’re not a runner.

    Spoiler alert: I’m not a runner.

    So, what’s an out of shape nerd girl to do?  Finally I decided that it was in my best interest to sign up to meet with a personal trainer.  This was also super intimidating, but I figured that she could at least show me how to work more than just a treadmill.  Our first session, we talked about my goals and started a file with all of my weight, body fat measurements, etc.  It was our second session when we really got down to business and she provided me with a plan that I could work on in between our sessions without her help.  She showed me how to do each exercise and explained how it would help me reach my goals.

    Once I had a plan, it made showing up at the gym much easier and less intimidating.  Plus, having a variety of things to work on helped a lot to keep me interested and motivated.  Of course, personal trainers are stupid expensive, so I can’t meet with her very often.  But, every few months we plan to check in and she can give me some more things to work on.  It’s been a pretty good arrangement for me; however, if a personal trainer is not an option for you, many gyms offer some great classes as a part of the regular fees each month.   This means that you can get in on some fun work outs like yoga or Zumba and you can get some ideas for your own workouts from the other classes too.  These classes are great to help you with staying accountable too, if you get to know the teacher or some of the other class participants.

    No matter what you do, if you are a non-athlete like me, starting at a gym will be a little intimidating.  It’s a new environment filled with people of all skill levels – many of whom are really good.  But, many aren’t so good too.  And everyone started in basically the same place.  So, I make it my mission to keep my head down and do my own thing when I’m at the gym.  I’m not very strong or fast and I still have to take time to figure out the machines, but I’m there for me, nobody else.  When it’s tempting to compare myself to others and get down on myself for not being at the level I want to be, I force myself to stop and refocus on the work at hand.  I focus on my goals and put the blinders back up.  I remind myself that I don’t know each person’s story or struggles and again focus inward.

    Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.  – Ashley Greene