Real Women On the Workouts That Made Them Fall in Love With Fitness

If there’s one thing that’s certain, no one workout, sport or fitness activity will work for everyone. In fact, for a lot of people the thought of being ride-or-die for any kind of class, gym or semi-regular fitness routine is at-best eye-roll inducing. But, for the folks who do manage to find their athletic sweet spot (sweat spot? No?), that moment can feel an awful lot like falling in love. There’s first-date nerves, butterflies, a giddy night sleep after the fact, the urge to text or call your friends to talk their ear off and, of course, all the ways you and your new favorite workout can grow together.

It sounds cheese-tastic (and it is!) but you never forget your first. We talked to a few real women about their IRL workout love stories and why they think you should give it a try. Read on for some inspiring tales of love at first sweat.

Unakem, Nurse Practitioner, @_unakem

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

Anything with kettlebells honestly. In particular, I really love kettlebell windmills and kettlebell thrusters (squat to clean to overhead press)

…thank me later!

What did you love about it?

It’s such a welcome change and definitely pushes you in different ways from your standard dumbbells. I feel I can go heavier too!

Why should other people give this a try?

These are a great, low-impact weight to increase your heart rate (fat loss) and build muscle (tone). Who doesn’t want an exercise that can do both?!

Emelia Cellura, blog HalfCrazyMama.com, @HalfCrazyMama 

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

I fell in love with running after I had my daughter. I set out a goal of just running one half marathon. I accomplished that goal and fell in love with the whole experience. I have now run over 100.

What did you love about it?

It was something that I could do to get out of the house and she could be in the jogging stroller. It felt great to see my endurance and mileage increase and the runners high totally helped my mental well being.

Why should other people give this a try?

Running is something that we all can do. Baby steps. Just go for a walk and aim to run a little further each day and walk the rest. You will see how quickly your stamina increases.

Emma Rinker Blogger at Muddy Boots and Diamonds, @BootsNDiamonds@muddybootsndiamonds

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

Pole Fitness. It was the first workout I stuck with —I’ve been pole dancing since 2008!

What did you love about it?

I love how pole fitness works muscles I didn’t even know I had. My muscle tone and strength weren’t the only things that improved. Pole fitness gave me a sense of confidence I hadn’t had since high school. Being able to see the same group of women each week meant I found friendships that mean a lot to me as well.

Why should other people give this a try?

It’s a total body workout, but you have so much fun in class that you don’t realize it’s working out. Each class builds on what you’ve previously learned, so you don’t need to have amazing strength to begin with. Your size and age also don’t matter as much as you think. I’ve taken classes with women of all shapes, sizes and ages — some of my favorite classmates have been grandmothers!

Liz Shamooni, Los Angeles Lifestyle Blogger, @lizinlosangeles

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

The first time I took Zumba was about 8 years. I was really nervous since I’m barely know how to dance and it was one of the first workout classes I took. I’m so glad I took that class because I fell in love with Zumba. So much so that I was practicing the steps everywhere. Even in the shower.

What did you love about it?

It was so energetic and fun. It didn’t feel like a workout. I was having fun and didn’t want the class to end. It also uplifted my spirits. So, it was good for my mind and body.

Why should other people give this a try?

It is a full-body HIIT workout, women rock high intense workouts. It helps you get focused and crush your new year fitness goals. Based on my experience, it’s not only a motivating workout but also it’s beneficial for mental health.

Lauren Dimet Waters, Editor in Chief Fountain of 30, @FountainOf30

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

Spinning

What did you love about it?

I had been doing step for years, but once I found spinning it was a different ball game. I started a couple of years after it come out, but I hated the music. It was all new-age-y back then. So some friends told me if I didn’t like the music I should instruct, so I got certified and taught spinning for over 15 years. I love spinning because you are in total control and nobody is paying one bit of attention to you accept the instructor. I get a high from it and sweat like no other workout. Well maybe running, but I hate running. Now I have a Peloton and ride any time I want.

Why should other people give this a try?

It’s low impact and doesn’t hurt your joints, yet you can sweat and workout as hard as you would in other type of high aerobic class. (About 7 years ago I discovered barre classes and I love those even more but you asked the first workout I fell in love with. This was the second. 😉)

Whitney Drake, writer, @whitneyd & @whitneydrake

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

I struggled with workouts. I used to run and I hated how I really only loved running outside — but how unsafe it felt running on my own.  My husband introduced me to weights and I absolutely love it.

What did you love about it?

There’s something powerful about lifting a weight that’s heavier than where I started – or when something like using the squat rack becomes so much easier.

Why should other people give this a try?

It was really intimidating when I thought about it — since so much of it is about lifting weights properly.  But it’s really helped sculpt my body in the direction I want to go — and honestly, you feel so powerful when it gets a little more comfortable and you’re able to go up in repetitions or weights.  Powerful inside and out.

Jordan Zelesnick, @JZeats

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

I fell in love with yoga!

What did you love about it?

My mom had been taking me to yoga classes since I was a kid (about 12 years old) but I didn’t fall in love with it until I was about 19 or 20. I was going through a bad break-up and had to move home from South Carolina (back to Baltimore) where I was living with my boyfriend. I had such a hard time adjusting to living with my mom again, switching schools, and just dealing with the break-up and all the feels that come with that. I started doing yoga a few times a week and really fell in love with it because it was one hour that completely took my mind off of this breakup. It was so nice to be able to forget about it for a little bit and, ultimately, I think it helped me get over the break-up!

Why should other people give this a try?

Yoga can give your mind clarity and no matter what is going on in your life, it’s so good to disconnect for a little bit (other than when you go to sleep at night) and really be able to restore your mind and body. Yoga is also relaxing and so great for posture since most of us sit at a desk all day!

Judy Freedman, Lifestyle Blogger, @judiboomergirl

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

I love yoga.

What did you love about it?

I love yoga because I not only get a good workout and stretch, but I also strengthen my bones, improve my balance and work my core. Plus there are more benefits including relaxation and focus along with improving my mental and spiritual health.

Why should other people give this a try?

You will find yoga to benefit your physical, mental and spiritual wellness and it doesn’t take too many sessions to see a difference.

Kate Baltrotsky, Katesurfs.com, @katesurfs

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

Surfing!

What did you love about it?

Before surfing, I used to be an avid sailer, running and soccer player. The second I started surfing, I knew this was the best. You get a mega workout and you don’t even realize you’re doing it because you’re so focused on catching waves. I’ve been surfing for 18 years. In 2007, I won the USA women’s longboard surfing championship less than five years after I started surfing.

Why should other people give it a try?

I track my exercise on my Apple watch. It’s insane the amount of exercise you get from surfing and bonus, it’s really fun! Obviously, you need to live near a beach to surf on waves. But, even if you live near a river or a lake, you can try stand up paddle boarding and get out on the water. People even surf on the great lakes!

Rosie Acosta, Yoga + Meditation Teacher, Inspirational Speaker, @rosieacosta, @RosieAcosta

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

Barre3

What did you love about it?

Barre3 is a full-body balanced workout combining strength conditioning, cardio and mindfulness. The first class I took was while I was living in Portland, Oregon. I love running and doing different type of fitness, but this made me really fall in love with working out! It made me feel strong and confident. The teachers were all so incredible and I just felt like I belonged there.

Why should other people give this a try?

If you are a new mom, or just someone who loves to move and feel strong and confident, Barre3 really provides this in a major way. Sadie Lincoln created this unique method and she really caters to all types of women, different shapes, abilities and sizes. It’s by far my favorite workout.

Casie Stewart, Blogger, @casiestewart

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

I love running!

What did you love about it?

I love seeing myself improve with endurance, time, speed and overall fitness!

Why should other people give this a try?

It’s a great way to kickstart your fitness because you don’t need a lot to get started and you can run anywhere, in any climate.

Stacie Haight Connerty, Founder DivineLifestyle.com, @StacieinAtlanta

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

We joined Life Time Fitness as a family to all get healthier and I was amazed at how many classes they offered. Barre Fusion Class —  I had recently lost 150 pounds and wanted to get back into a gym routine. I figured the easiest way was to take classes. I won’t walk out of a class if it gets too tough for me. I will just keep trying and push through until the end. I was able to lose 20 more pounds by switching up and doing a different class five days week. I did BarreFusion, Yoga, Gluteus Maxout, Zumba, Boxing, Dance Jam and more.

What did you love about it?

Different classes every day ensured that I never got bored. I was always trying new things. I didn’t love everything but it was one classes and then I could pick something else. The instructors tell you to listen to your body. If I felt myself pushing too hard, a lot of the instructors notice and tell you to ease up a little. I can always move to the back of a class if I am slower than everyone else or just need a bit of break. No shaming from anyone.

Why should other people give this a try?

Mixing it up a little is good for your body and mind. Once a class starts, it’s really hard to walk out of it so this really motivated me to put everything that I had into each class. I felt better every single time I left a class. I share these tips with everyone because it’s important to not get bored at the gym or you lose some of the motivation to keep going. This method literally changed my life and made going to the gym fun.

Kait Scalisi, Founder, PassionbyKait.com, @PassionbyKait

What was the first workout you really fell in love with?

After getting sick and being mostly homebound for a few years, I made my way back intro fitness with Embody and You Can Dance Again. Both of these programs focus on non-choreographed dance and invite you to connect with your own body’s wisdom.

What did you love about it?

It put me in charge of my workout. I could push as hard as I wanted to or spend the entire class on the floor. These classes made it possible to return to working out even when my mobility was limited! And I love the freedom and pleasure from tapping into my emotions and intuition. My creativity and business blossomed as I shed shame and fear of others’ opinions, and embraced my inner wisdom and power.

Why should other people give this a try?

The confidence you gain from tuning inward and moving authentically is priceless. You’ll leave sweaty and be sore the next day, but more importantly, you’ll feel whole and connected to you heart, soul and body.

Comments