The Transformation Challenge

As a studious bookworm for much of my young adult life, I dreaded gym class and fitness tests more than any academic exams. I always felt I could master most subjects if I worked hard enough, but I viewed athletics as something that simply wasn’t for me. In elementary school, I pushed my awkward self to try dance and figure skating, and while I managed to make this last for longer than one might expect, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I didn’t have what it took to sustain these activities in the long term (to this day, my hand/eye coordination skills are remedial at best). Combine that with a series of mean-spirited gym teachers who publicly teased me for my lack of physical prowess, and you can understand why I began to believe my name and the words “physically fit” could never be uttered in the same sentence.

But as I posted on this blog back in 2014, I decided I was tired of my clothes not fitting and my weight going up and down, so I took a chance on Pure Barre. With my background in figure skating and ballet, barre workouts turned out to be a great fit for me. I dropped two clothing sizes, and I was able to stick with it.

Now that I am beginning a new year with new challenges, I feel like it is time to master something new. I recently joined the gym near my office, Midtown Spa and Fitness, so I could sneak in quick workouts during my lunch break. When I first heard they were offering an eight week Transformation Challenge, I doubted whether I should do it or if I’d even be able to survive it. Sure, I can take Zumba and kickboxing classes, but lifting weights or doing pull-ups has never been my thing – I pretty much always max out at 5 lb. weights and the last time I tried a legit pull-up in high school, I dropped directly to the ground. (To this day, I can still play back in my mind the eye roll and heavy sigh from my gym teacher that always followed my feeble attempts.) I was consistently among the worst performers on the fitness test, which was hard to accept for an overachiever. So, knowing this, I’m committed to pushing myself out of my comfort zone – and perhaps overachieving in whole new ways!

When I finally listened to my coworkers and joined in on the Transformation Challenge, I was actually surprised at how well I handled the initial fitness test, which consisted of most of the things I struggled to do in high school (sit-ups, push-ups, planks). I’ve come pretty far since then, and I can only imagine how far I can go in eight weeks.

My initial goal with fitness was weight loss, but I’m finding it has become a lot more for me than that: It’s about reaching goals, feeling good, feeling confident, and above all, it’s about strength. I’ve realized that upping my fitness game has all along been about proving to myself that I’m stronger than I think I am. And I’ve learned that statement applies to all areas of my life, whether it is my work or my somewhat disastrous love life. (Note to self: Yes, you ARE strong enough to keep searching for a nice guy, even if it means you have to first make it through some terrible Tinder matches.)

I’m only about halfway into the eight-week challenge, but I look forward to sharing my progress. I will say, I’m already adjusting to the feel of 10 lb. weights – those five pounders are starting to feel pretty light these days!

A final note to the reader (which is mostly my friends and family, let’s be honest): I know this blog has not been updated in quite some time, but I’ll be back to share more soon about a wide range of topics, including the much needed revival and revamping of my Single in the Suburbs blog. Stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “The Transformation Challenge

  1. Hello Marcy,
    Your story has inspired me. As the VP of Operations for Midtown Health (the company that manages Midtown Spa and Fitness), I too often get bogged down with the daily operations of running clubs and don’t get to see how our programs and services are changing people’s lives. Your story inspires me to move forward to keep working with our teams to provide innovative and fun programs to improve people’s overall well-being. It’s too bad that many gym teachers and other hard-core fitness trainers have made people feel negative towards exercise. I see and talk with people regularly that have had negative experiences similar to yours. That’s why we go to lengths to NOT call our centers “Gyms”. It has such a negative connotation. Our philosophy has always been to meet people wherever they are in their wellness journey. Everybody is in a different place and the key is to just get moving, start eating better and begin reducing your stress. By doing any or all of these three things, people will benefit greatly – no matter what their current state of fitness may be. Once again, thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck as you continue your personal journey to overall well-being.
    Mike Combes

  2. Thank you for your kind words and for reading my blog, Mike! I am so glad I decided to join the Transformation Challenge. The instructors and trainers at Midtown Health are all great and very encouraging — I’m not sure I would’ve stayed motivated without them. I look forward to coming every day during lunch or after work, and I look forward to participating in many challenges to come!

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