For me, getting into shape is this lofty goal that always lingers and seems so difficult to attain. Some people sign up for a gym, team, or class, make the commitment, and have no trouble staying pretty consistent. Myself on the other hand, I know what to do, I know how to do it, but I just can’t seem to actually do it. If this sounds like you too, I want you to keep reading!

Growing up, I was always very active. I danced for 10 years, played softball for another 10, sprinkle in a little basketball, volleyball, field hockey, cross country, figure skating, tennis, and soccer throughout those K-12 years and you’ve got one active kid! Fast forward to college and it all stopped. Unlike most students entering their freshman year, my “freshman 15” hit my body backwards. I lost that weight. I didn’t drink much alcohol, and my active lifestyle ceased. Bye bye little muscles I once had. I became and have remained pretty gaunt.

I’m a petite girl, and I think people often mistake being small for being fit, which couldn’t be any further from the truth. When planning out my blog content for 2018, one of the things I really wanted to do was be more open and proactive about my fitness journey (which has basically been non-existent). When it comes to exercising, there’s nothing I really love to do; so I thought it would be fun to try new workouts, classes, or activities in hopes of finding one (or more) that I really love and might want to stick to!

When WIP Fitness invited me to take a class at the grand opening of their new location at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley it was a sign and the exact push I needed to finally get started! WIP stands for Work-In-Progress (how great is that?!) and they already have 2 locations in Connecticut (Hartford and West Hartford). They partnered with grace+GRIT, an athletic boutique carrying clothes for men and women, and together have brought the Farmington Valley this amazing new space!

Prior to the event, my emotions were a mix of ecstatic and terrified. I never participated in any kind of bootcamp and I knew it would be a struggle for me. No matter how terrible I was, I was determined to show up and get through the whole thing!

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the kind and comforting faces of WIP owners Mary Kate Doyle, Laura Keever, and grace+GRIT owner Melissa Weinstock. These ladies couldn’t have been any more welcoming or encouraging. They immediately put my mind at ease and assured me I’d be just fine! They told me not to worry about what everyone else was doing, just focus on my own workout, and not be afraid to stop if I had to. Let me tell you, for someone who is completely unfamiliar with this world …that kind of greeting was huge. I was worried enough about bootcamp, so I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to face any scary drill sergeants too!

I was about an hour early, so Melissa showed me some of the popular pieces in the boutique – they had so many cute leggings, sports bras, and tops! Everything was incredibly soft and equally adorable. Each piece was suitable for a workout or just for being out about…athleisure at its finest! I was debating 2 tops and ended up picking a black cut off tank that read “HANG OUT + WORK OUT”  most of you guys voted for it in my Insta-poll and we figured it was most fitting since that was what I was there to do. 😉

There were a few different vendors handing out all kinds of healthy food, drink, and beauty samples. I was having fun chatting with everyone, learning about some new products, Insta-storying, and then the next thing you knew it was time to start! I plopped myself in the back corner, said a quick prayer, and was ready to go!

The 50 minute class was taught by coach Leah Szot who was awesome; I think it was pretty clear to her that I was newbie, but she kindly encouraged and pushed me the whole class without making me feel bad about my abilities. The workout was a mix of a few things – we began with some stretching, a little cardio, core work, then rotated through 6 different stations (2X) using ropes, resistance bands, boxes, kettlebells, and finished up with some burpees and starfish jumps! I felt the burn every single one of those 50 minutes. There were definitely a few times I was ready to collapse, my body was being pushed harder than it had been in a really long time, but I didn’t! I just modified or slowed down – I didn’t want to stop.

When it was over, I felt amazing, it was like new life had been breathed into me. Who doesn’t love challenging their body and going home with sore limbs to remind them of how capable they are? As I write this, I’m still sore! I’m scared of the stairs, it hurts to laugh, and forget about bending over! But I love it. I actually love it so much that I’ve been inspired to get out and move again today. Nothing crazy, but my body feels more alive than it has in a long while, and I want to keep feeding it.

If you’re struggling to get active, terrified of taking a class, or just scared you can’t do it… I promise, you can. I know group workouts aren’t for everybody, but I really do believe it’s the best way to stick it out. I can’t tell you how many at-home workouts I’ve attempted but stopped halfway through; there’s no one there to push me, no one holding me accountable, no motivation from seeing other bodies giving their all and showing me that mine can give its all too!

I think that starting is always the hardest part. Taking that first step is the scariest, but it’s always worth it. If you want to be more active this year, I challenge you to find a new class or activity to sign up for. Just one! Seriously, right now. Google to see what’s offered in your area, there may even be some freebies! Give something a shot – you may end up loving it. If you live in Connecticut, I encourage you to check out WIP Fitness in Hartford, West Hartford, and now Canton! If I can handle it, I know you can too!

As for me and my future relationship with bootcamp, I can see myself learning to love it. It was inspiring to see women (and men) of all ages killing it in that class yesterday. Overall, I had a really, really positive experience and would absolutely give bootcamp, and WIP another try. Preferably at the Canton location so I could treat myself to some more cute pieces from grace+GRIT! Hey, looking the part is equally as important and my workout wardrobe doesn’t really exist yet! 😉

I cannot thank WIP Fitness, grace+GRIT, or The Shoppes at Farmington Valley enough for sponsoring this post and for having me yesterday! You pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. I hope to see you all again really soon!

What’s your favorite kind of workout? What class should I try next?


4 comments on “Facing My Fitness Fears with WIP & grace+GRIT”

  1. I’ve been motivated to get in shape this year too. I’m petite also and while I’m not “heavy” I realized recently that I haven’t been happy with my body for a while now. I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds and get rid of the love handles! I’m usually a group fitness person cause I agree with you it keeps me going. I can’t give up because everyone’s watching. But I haven’t done a class anywhere in months and I kept seeing people on social media post about BBG so I finally got the Sweat app and I’m hooked! I’ve worked out consistently for 7 days!

    • That’s awesome Jamie! I really do think that first step is the hardest part. When you do take group classes, which kinds do you enjoy most? I’m trying to figure out which to try next! I dowloaded the BBG app a month ago and darn near DIED during my first attempt to use it — I hear so many great things about it and I want to love it, but I’m not sure it’s for me. Or maybe not just right now. I’m glad it’s been working for you, and you’re keeping up! You go girl! We all have to find our perfect match when it comes to workouts that work! 🙂

      • I did Zumba for a long time at a place my friend was teaching a class and then she stopped teaching and I got too lazy to make the drive over haha. Then I did kickboxing for a while but then my friends either moved away or stopped going and then after a while it was hard to get myself to go on my own. I hope you find something that sticks!

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