Back in the Gym: My Gym History {Part 1}

Hope you all had a fab weekend!

We had a pretty decent one over here. Cody was actually gone at a church youth group retreat Friday night and all day Saturday, so Hunter and I had some mommy-son bonding time. We missed Cody, but we kept fairly busy. Friday night was pretty chill, but Saturday morning we went to the gym for my favorite Pump Class, went to a baby shower for a friend in the afternoon, and then headed over to church to say hi to Cody and visit with friends who were volunteering for the weekend.

Unfortunately, baby Hunter came down with something and was running a fever Saturday night and all day yesterday, so we kept it pretty low key the rest of the weekend. Poor little guy.

It sure was nice to have Cody home again for the second part of the weekend though. We missed him! Clearly Ryan did…


I’ve been wanting to write this post for a couple weeks now, but didn’t get around to it until today for various reasons. As most of you know, I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It’s been such a fun experience, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve been loving it.

Before I go into it all, let me back up a bit and fill you in on my “gym history”. Back in my college days, I was totally a “gym rat”. I was always there, and I loved it. I wasn’t so much into group fitness at the time (it intimidated me), but I ran and ellipticized my heart out and did my own weights workouts. This also began my obsession with exercise – mostly due to my depression, eating disorder, and desire to “control” everything.

I decided after college that I would get my personal training certification with the hopes of getting a job as a personal trainer. I ended up getting certified through NASM (I highly recommend it!), and shortly after got a job at a corporate gym as a personal trainer. I absolutely loved being in the gym atmosphere, building relationships with my clients, and helping people reach their health/fitness goals. What I didn’t love? The sales aspect of it and my schedule. I didn’t love the pressures to fulfill specific quotas, cold calling people, and trying to convince them that they needed my services. That’s just not my personality. That along with working late nights and early mornings quickly exhausted me and wore me out. I found myself dreading work and knew it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. As much as I love fitness and people, I realized personal training in a corporate setting was not for me. I quit my job and moved into an entirely different field.

From then on, I ended up doing my own workouts at home and eventually got into running since it was summer at the time, and the weather was gorgeous.  Then came winter, and I decided to join a rec center not too far away from our house. At this point, I continued to fall in love with running, started training for a half marathon, and got really into group fitness classes. As great as all of this was, it didn’t help my obsession with exercise and my body wasn’t having it. This was when Cody and I started talking about wanting to get pregnant and I discovered that I had hypothalamic amenorrhea. I’m very much a “black and white” person, so I stopped running, discontinued my membership from the gym, and started practicing yoga and did a lot of walking.


That was almost two years ago, and as many of you long time My Food N Fitness Diaries’ readers know, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body since that point. I missed the gym, but I knew it was best for me to stay away for the time being. While I was pregnant, I kept it low key and we also were watching our budget, so I decided to continue doing my workouts and walks at home or outside. As much as I loved my at home/outdoor workouts, I still really missed the gym atmosphere and group fitness classes.

Cody’s job gives him an annual health reimbursement that we are able to use toward a gym membership, so we decided since the colder months are here and Hunter is old enough to go to the gym daycare that a gym membership would be a good option.

It’s been three weeks since I joined the gym, and so far it’s been a really great experience. I plan to go about things differently this time around though. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to the girl next to you in your group fitness class or competing with the person next to you on the treadmill. (Or maybe this is just my own personal problem due to my competitive nature?) I promised myself that won’t be happening this time around. So far, so good.

I realize this post is already getting super duper long, so I decided to break it into two posts. I’ll talk about how things are presently going and how Hunter is doing with the gym daycare in tomorrow’s post. Smile

Have a great day!

What’d you do this weekend?

What’s your “gym history” in a nutshell?

Do you have a gym membership?

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  1. says

    Glad to hear you’re liking it! I’ve been thinking about you and how Hunter is doing in daycare.

    I was also a “gym rat” in college, but only ever did cardio. I really knew nothing about fitness and just wanted to burn calories. I joined a gym after college to give me someplace to go during the long days when I was job searching, and that is where my love for group classes and strength/circuit training was born :)

  2. says

    I never started working out until college, and I agree with the competitive nature that the gym can bring on. It’s hard to put those feelings out of it, but definitely helps! I do miss group fitness classes, but the gym prices are a little much for me these days. I went to the Penguin game this weekend :) So fun!

  3. says

    So glad you’re loving it! I’ve really enjoyed having the gym and gym childcare as a break for some healthy me time as a mom. I actually don’t get caught up in comparison though. Maybe it’s because I know I’m not hardcore, haha, or maybe I just get in my own bubble, but I barely notice what people around me are doing!

    • Ashley says

      I enjoy it as a nice break too. And I think Hunter loves the daycare, so that’s a huge plus! I’m far from hardcore too, but I guess it’s just my competitive nature taking over. 😉

  4. says

    my college gym barely had any equipment (like 6 treadmills for the whole campus) so I’ve mostly been an outside runner. I do have a gym membership now, which I use mostly for the classes. I’d love to do some weights but they are so intimidating!
    This weekend was the Runners World Festival for me .. so much fun!

  5. says

    My history is kind of similar to yours. I became addicted to exercise when I went away to college, then when I transferred and a gym wasn’t included in my tuition, I joined a local gym. I still go to that gym today, but my relationship with it is much more healthy. I’m embracing walking and yoga, with the occasional group fitness class thrown in!

  6. says

    I was never in to the gym at all…all I did was walk EVERYWHERE! Then as I made my way through recovery I was told I’d have to start incorporating some more exercise for the sake of my bonds…I joined the gym and haven’t looked back since. I like running outdoors during the Summer time but I’m a big fan of group classes. I love meeting new people and the mutual support and motivation is great! Looking forward to the next part of the story! :)

  7. says

    Looks like you are going about things this time in the right way! I was like you in college, always on the elliptical /treadmill. It wasn’t was work! Now I go to the gym a few days a week, push myself when I am there, but have fun too. I take rest days and I incorporate more weights. I love the gym now that I approach it in a healthy mindset :)

  8. says

    Glad that you’re loving being back in the gym! I started going to the gym during the first year of my undergrad, got into running so did home workouts until I graduated (and then had to cut back on workouts due to an eating disorder) got into weight lifting two years ago and joined a gym again, have been to 3 different gyms since (because of moving) and right now, am taking a bunch of fitness classes to figure out where my current fitness passion lies – really enjoying the group fitness class aspect right now!
    I’ve thought about going for my PT certification, but I think I would have issues with the sales aspect as well – the thought of cold-calling people makes me shudder!

  9. says

    I have had a membership for about 10 years straight and right now I do not. My yearly pass expired a couple weeks ago and at almost 38w pregnant now I decided that I needed the break plus life with a newborn might not allow for gym time. I did buy a treadmill for our home gym where we have enough other stuff to workout as well.
    I have never been into classes a lot, sometimes I would find ones I love and go lots but mostly my gym time was always my “me” time. Before HA I would run a TON at the gym, then I kept my membership after HA and toned it done to walking and light weights. After I got pregnant I was able to include my workouts back in my life but in a much better balance.

  10. says

    I started going to the gym in college. My husband and I were competitive cyclists so the gym was for strength training and occasional spinning session with the rest of the cycling team in the winter. I also did powerlifting for a semester, which was pretty badass, and taught me how to lift big stuff. Now we use the small gym in our apartment. I doesn’t have group fitness or anything fancy, but it has all the equipment and does the job for free :) I looove pumping iron in the gym!

  11. says

    Oh, I was once a major gym rat. I was there 3+ hours per day (in high school), and I eventually got a job working the front desk. Now, I teach 3 group fitness classes/week and go to the gym at my apartment when I get a spare second. It’s perfect.

    Great post, and thanks for sharing <3.

  12. says

    Glad to hearing your enjoying experience at the gym so far! I’ve actually never belonged to a gym before. I’ve always work out at home. I have lots of good workout DVDs and/or I run. Also, I belong to a fitness studio, which does all Zumba classes. I find that group fitness classes always help get me motivated and pumped about my workout!

  13. says

    I’m glad you’re able to use the health reimbursement for a gym membership! That is awesome!

    Supposedly there’s a gym that opened up recently in the area that charges very little and you can do month to month. It sounds a little too good to be true, but I’m going to research it a little bit. That might be a good option for me. But for now, Addie and I mostly just go on walks! :)

  14. says

    I was a gym rat in college as well. Over so, it turned into an obsession for me too. Now I love to take the classes. I love the way it makes me feel. I don’t feel pressure or obsession it is a great way to have a little me time.

  15. says

    Thanks for opening up about all this, Ashely — I can definitely relate to a lot of it. I developed a pretty unhealthy relationship with exercise in my early 20’s, which eventually forced me to cut it out of my life cold turkey. It took a couple of years for my body and mind to heal completely, but I finally feel like I’m in a good enough place to start up again. I have yet to get back into a gym, but I’ve just started running again, and I have to say that it feels pretty darn amazing.

  16. says

    It’s been 2 years since you were diagnosed with HA?! Holy cow, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long!! Loved reading about your gym history & look forward to see what you’ve been up to lately! 😉 PS I compare myself to the person next to me too- I always try to beat them at whatever we’re doing!

  17. says

    Glad you are able to go into the gym with a different attitude/perspective this time around. It’s so easy to compare yourself to what others are doing. But I think it’s good to remember we are all training for different things. Some days on the treadmill are dedicated to speed drills while others are decided to distance. Seeing a girl running for 8 miles can definitely “bum” me out, but then I remind myself I just sprinted at 10.5 for 60 seconds are realized I’m pretty BA too 😉

  18. says

    Glad to hear you’re loving being back in the gym. We put our gym membership on pause when I went on bed rest and it’s still on pause. I hope to “un-pause” it soon though b/c I’m itching to get back. Question though, do you think Hunter caught a bug at the day care at the gym? I want to bring the twins to the gym’s “day care” but I’m so afraid they are going to catch a bug from all the germs there with all the children. I know they’ll get sick at some point soon, but I’m just worried from all the germs there. Hopefully I’ll be brave enough to try it soon, haha :)

    • Ashley says

      I do think that’s where he caught the bug. And as much as I hate to see him sick, I think it’s good to help him build his immunities up. I think we’d both be pretty unhappy individuals if we were stuck at home all day.

  19. Katie says

    This weekend I took a Hot Yoga class & it was incredibly especially because when I walked into the studio it started snowing :O I love having a gym membership and my history…I used to be a cardio junkie with the elliptical but now I’m sticking mostly to weights and group fitness. If I run I usually do it outside :)

  20. says

    One of my favorite saying is “To compare is to despair” – I remind myself of it if I ever start to fall into the comparison trap. It works pretty well!
    I first joined a gym when I was studying abroad my junior year in Athens and discovered that my clothes were getting too tight with all the Greek food I was eating – ha. Their gym system operates differently than here – there every member gets personal training included so I was able to learn how to use all the equipment without having to pay a fortune to hire a PT. Since then I’ve always had a gym membership – though I’ve been building up my home gym in preparation for when our baby comes and is too young to use the gym daycare.

  21. says

    I’ve actually been out of the gym for a little over a year now. I just didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of it! Now I’m doing the treadmill and different workouts at home, and I recently joined Cross Fit. This is a whole new evolution in my gym history!

  22. Nicole says

    Great post! I am still a bit of a gym rat on the weekends – I love spending my Saturday and Sunday mornings there (partially because I teach BodyPump both mornings), but I’ve loosened up on my obsessiveness a bit over the years. When I was in my early twenties, I was at the gym a little before 7:00 a.m. to take four, hour-long, back-to-back fitness classes and then do 20-30 minutes on the ellip. It took two stress fractures in my feet for me to realize that my body needed less stress on it. It took awhile to break away from the endorphin rush, but now I feel if I do my BodyPump class plus some cardio for balance, that’s good for a weekend. :) Still hard to take rest days, if I’m completely honest.

    • Ashley says

      Wowee – that is pretty hardcore! I’m glad you’ve been able to scale back a bit. And thank you so much for your honesty too!

  23. says

    This post totally makes sense – and I think a lot of girls, me included, can relate! I belong to Orange Theory where I do their amazing classes! I also have 2 gyms in our development that has every cardio and strength machine I could want/need…but I really only go to run on the treadmill and do some strength training (usually with good old dumbbells!). And any day now I’m going to start the process to get my NASM certification!! :)
    Thanks for the honesty – love it! And hope the babe is feeling better!
    -Sammy @

  24. says

    I used to be gym-obsessed, too! I became anorexic and lost 30 pounds (from a perfectly healthy weight)… lost my period, lost a bunch of hair, lost the glow in my skin…
    Anyways, I have a much healthier outlook on exercise, now. Instead of just working out for the sake of weight-loss/weight control, I run to train for races.
    Thanks for sharing your gym history. Looking forward to the next part!

  25. says

    I too suffered with amennorhea back in college and most recently last year for a couple of months WHEN I REJOINED THE GYM lol. I have been exercising regularly, even through the bouts of no period but I do notice a shift in my cycle when I joined Lifetime Fitness last year or when I increase my mileage. It is a very fine line for me, my body is quite sensitive so I have to pay close attention to my training/exercise level to make sure I don’t overdo it. I prefer to run outdoors versus being inside in the gym although in the dead of winter, I do like to switch things up with a group fitness class. All depends on my mood though.

  26. says

    i’ve worked at a gym for so many years, but when i was sick i took a leave of absence and just walked and did yoga. I missed it but it was needed and i learned to really enjoy the fresh air and simple exercises. Welcome back to the gym!

  27. says

    I used to be a gym rat, too, but after discovering and falling in love with CrossFit two years ago, I haven’t been back to the gym since. I joined a box and worked out there 4-5 times a week and now, I work out at home in our garage gym, creating my own WODs and following some on since I’m pregnant. I love every minute of it and can’t imagine working out any other way.

  28. says

    Ugh, I can totally relate to the comparing with other women at the gym thing. It seems like as soon as someone gets on the treadmill next to me, I start checking their speed and getting this desire to race them! I’ve found that music helps me a lot – if I can zone out and get in my own world, I’m just competing against MYSELF! Do you have any tips for staying self-focused instead of competition focused?

    • Ashley says

      It’s very much mental for me. I just continue to remind myself that I have to do what’s best for MY body and that everyone else has different goals.

  29. says

    I wish I had a gym membership – unfortunately, our budget doesn’t allow it right now:( Exercising with baby and long runs with a baby jogger are my gym for now! Can’t say I don’t love it though

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