The 1 Thing That Got Me to Start Working Out

I used to really, truly hate working out. In fact, I absolutely refused to do it. The idea of going to the gym was abhorrent to me, and running was simply out of the question because it is the worst and nothing anyone ever says will change my mind about that. I tried a variety of different workout classes in my (very fit) city of San Francisco. Nothing stuck. I was essentially dragging myself to classes, finding excuses to skip them, and ultimately feeling worse about myself for not following through with my fitness. I was more or less resigned to an adulthood absent of a solid fitness plan.

Then one thing changed my entire perspective: I found a workout I fell in love with.

I am obsessed with ballet. I attend multiple ballets each season, haven't deleted my Instagram solely because I love following ballerinas and dancers on it, and watch all the dance shows and movies religiously (yes, I do know Jody Sawyer's entire final routine in Center Stage by heart. Those red pointe shoes — I die). But I didn't grow up taking ballet. I figured it was pretty much too late for me. I mean, I'm basically ancient at 27 years old (kidding . . . kind of), so I wrote off even trying for the longest time.

Then, right about the time I was giving up on ever finding my fitness niche, I discovered a unique barre class that combined elements of dance with a very solid cardio aspect. I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds — ballet basics and a workout that actually kicked my ass. I fell in love. I found myself actively looking forward to the class, and marveling at the effect it had on me both mentally and physically. I felt strong; I felt less anxious; I felt healthy; I felt good. Over this past year, I've been a devoted attendee to my classes multiple times per week. Then, a few months ago, I finally swallowed my pride and my reservations about looking like a damn fool, and signed up for an adult ballet class at an actual dance studio. And I can't get enough. There's something simultaneously peaceful and empowering about taking your health into your own hands and doing something you're proud of for it.

So that's my secret. I used to never work out, and now it's kind of my favorite thing. It may not be groundbreaking, but it's definitely something I had to discover for myself. I found something that makes me happy — mind, body, and soul — and working out isn't a chore for me anymore. The barre and studio have become my places of peace, my escapes after a bad day, my quiet zones where I carve out time for myself daily to focus on me and nothing else.

The bottom line? Don't give up looking for the special thing that makes fitness fun for you. You can find it, even if the discovery is a bit a elusive for awhile. It's worth the wait, and it may change your whole perspective on working out, like it did for me. Now, I even go to the gym on a regular basis and take the occasional spin class, too (gotta keep my legs strong for those grand pliés and grand battements, of course). Ballet and barre have been my gateway of sorts into other realms of the fitness world.

And several times a week, when I look down at my pink-ballet-slippered feet working on something that seems simple but is really incredibly hard (seriously, how do ballerinas do it?), I fantasize about maybe switching those slippers for pointe shoes one day. It seems crazy, I know. But if you would have told me I'd be doing what I'm doing a year ago, I wouldn't have believed you. So, why not aim high?