In college, I met one of my best friends, Olivia. We bonded over our weird sense of humor, affinity for doughnuts and desserts of all kinds, Harry Potter, and a slew of other commonalities. Beyond that, we just "got" each other, and there was an instant trust, appreciation, and love from day one.
Postgraduation, after years of drinking and too many late-night visits to Taco Bell and Panda Express, we decided to be "healthy." This began with attempts to "run" up and down the Manhattan Beach boardwalk . . . which ended up being casual walks, because neither of us had ever worked out, and running more than about 11 steps was — for all intents and purposes — impossible.
A couple years went by before we started truly dabbling in fitness. Neither of us had ever been to a gym, gone for a real run, or really taken a group fitness class consistently. All of that started to change a couple years ago. I started running (not an easy start, honestly), and Olivia started going to indoor cycling classes. Last year, Olivia introduced me to SoulCycle, which is now one of my favorite workouts.
Because we started this journey together, we're making progress together and discovering things at the same time. As we share our new favorite workouts, healthy recipes, and recovery tips, it's like being in school again. We get to share in the triumphant moments (my first half-marathon, her first headstand) but also the tougher moments.
Moving away from her to San Francisco this year was tough, because it put so many miles between us. But our new love of fitness has created a new dynamic and layer of our friendship and made our relationship even stronger. Better yet, we're both becoming better people in this process. It's almost like she's my virtual workout buddy; she's the first person I text when I've had a great instructor or I try a new class, and she's always telling me about the new studios that are popping up in LA (like Rise Nation or Lagree Method).
This past weekend, I took Olivia with me to the Kayla Itsines Bootcamp in LA, where we witnessed a similar bond between so many women. Fitness is such a personal journey, and when you share that vulnerable part of your life with someone close to you, it truly strengthens your relationship and brings you closer.
Beyond the sappy stuff, I enjoy teaching Olivia how to shop for healthy pantry staples like quinoa and chia seeds as much as I love receiving the "I'm so sweaty I just got out of the craziest yoga class" texts. We constantly chat about our activewear favorites (like Outdoor Voices, Alo Yoga, and all the cute stuff at SoulCycle), and we make golden milk before bed at our sleepovers now.
While parts of our relationship have stayed the same (chiefly the weird sense of humor), we've both grown and become better people, and we did so together. It feels pretty amazing to have someone who started their fitness journey at the same time I did and someone to look to for strength and inspiration. Our bodies have definitely become stronger and more toned, but our friendship is even stronger.