How an “a ha” moment brought me back to the gym

I did something significant this week.

After being a lazy jerk for almost three months, I returned to the gym.

I stopped going right before Christmas because it was too cold — I know, it sounds ridiculous. The gym is just a few blocks away, less than a half mile, but Philly had so much snow and ice this winter and sometimes the temperature was below 10 degrees and the gym fees so far when it’s cold. The thought of going out in that even for something fun was daunting, but to go out and do something not fun? No.

I decided to take a break one morning in December when I slipped and fell on the ice while walking Sassy and I got a scrape on my hand and a bruise on my knee. No big deal, but I will look for any excuse to stay home from the gym. So my three-month excuse became the weather.

Meanwhile, Mike continued to go, even in the snow and ice.

Now that it’s getting warmer, and now that I have a new coat to shield me from the last cold days of the season, I realized I was running out of excuses.

Morning is when I’d go, because that’s when Mike goes. Getting up early is so hard, and I can’t just get out of bed and go. I would do my makeup as usual, which takes about a half hour, then go. Ridiculous, right?

I started thinking about going in the early evening after work instead, but that would be just as difficult, for different reasons. I toyed with the idea of just not working out at all.

But it makes me feel good. And when I do it in the morning, I’m guaranteed to have a better day than I would if I had spend an extra hour in bed. Plus, I want to be healthy, and it feels good to get my heart rate up and to challenge myself.

Thinking about all of this while still in bed Wednesday, I had an “a ha” moment. A few days earlier, a friend challenged me and some other people to post a photo of ourselves without makeup on Facebook. And I actually did it! In the photo I’m standing in the kitchen wearing a coral dress that had just arrived — I’m wearing it in my dear friend’s wedding this fall. I asked Mike to take my picture so I could send it to her.

I had just woken up and my hair is in a topknot and I am wearing smudged mascara from the night before (sometimes it’s too much trouble to remove all my eye makeup, but I always wash my face) but other than that, I’m makeup free. I was shocked at the positive reaction I received! Seriously, shocked.

Lying in bed, I remembered the likes and comments on my photo, and I realized that I don’t need to go to the gym in full makeup. That’s kind of weird anyway, right? Nobody else does that.  No one cares what I look like at the gym and I shouldn’t either. And, if I forgo putting on makeup, I could sleep in a little later AND still get to the gym before work.

So, I got up and didn’t bother with my makeup at all. It felt really good! But like an idiot I continued where I left off on the elliptical and nearly died — I could only do 26 minutes. At least I went, though. And I’m going to keep going back.

I’m proud of myself that I posted that photo — I put myself out there and let people see what I really look like, and in return I had the confidence go to the gym without primping. (Still, posting the photo on my blog feels scary for some reason…)

Like blogger Jessica Lawlor preaches, it’s important to get gutsy and push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. In this instance, I did that and it paid off in a really unexpected but amazing way. Insecurity has held me back in other ways throughout my life, and I know I’m not alone.  Can you relate?

A confession: I have not been back to the gym since Wednesday. It’s snowing in Philly now — yes, I’m pulling out the same old excuse. But when I do go back Monday, I will do so without caring about how I look.




  1. Hey Jen!!! So proud of you for posting that pic 🙂 and wow, what a think to realize from a challenge like that! Somethig I like to remind myself when I start putting makeup on before the gym is that I’m going to sweat a bit and it will just clog my pores! So no makeup at the gym is actually better for your skin 🙂 only making up more beautiful without makeup 😉 <3 ya!

    March 25, 2015
    • byjenlawson said:

      Very good point! That’s another reason not to. 🙂

      March 26, 2015
  2. said:

    Aw, thank you. I’m with you on the eyebrow thing — mine are practically nonexistent, too.

    March 23, 2015
  3. said:

    Good for you! XO

    March 23, 2015
  4. Oh my goodness I am so proud of you for coming to this realization.

    The harsh reality is, I NEVER try to look good for the gym, so I’m a bad example. However, I do fill in my eyebrows even in the house… So I do that before going to the gym (I have naturally blond hair but I dye it dark brown. Blond eyebrows look tooooo ridiculous).

    However, I have seen those perfect gym girls and I complterly understand where you’re coming from. Looking at them can be really though, but I’m not judging them- so I choose to believe they’re not judging me.

    March 21, 2015

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