Prior to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I was a fitness-class fanatic. When my state went under a stay-at-home order and all my beloved fitness studios closed their doors, I was a bit panicked. I've never been interested in at-home workouts, and worried that I wouldn't be able to motivate myself to do them. Then I met Jon Knopke (remotely), the CEO of Health House. He told me about his rowing studios in Los Angeles and Kansas City and explained that they were offering free daily Instagram Live workouts focused on high-intensity strength training. He encouraged me, along with my fiancé, to commit to following their workouts for 30 days in a row. What did I have to lose?
Well, rest days, for one. It seemed a bit extreme to do a workout every single day, but because Health House classes focus on different muscle groups each day, you can do these workouts seven days a week. And I was more than willing to give it a try. My wedding is scheduled for September (although now that's a bit up in the air), and I didn't want to stop exercising just because I was at home. I had a vision of me in my wedding gown and was very interested to see if I'd notice a physical change after the 30 days.
I'll admit that after the first workout, I wondered how I was going to do this every day for the next four weeks. These workouts were tough, but my fiancé and I are alike in the sense that once we commit to something, we're all in. Having him next to me was just the push I needed to keep giving my all, even when I wanted to collapse. And even through the phone, I felt connected to the instructors, who were so encouraging and energetic. These were my biggest — and most surprising — takeaways after the 30 days.
Posting About My Workouts Made Me Work Harder
I'll do the occasional Instagram Story or two, but I was never one to share every detail of my day. I always thought, Does anyone care? Yet once I decided to announce we were doing a 30-day challenge on Instagram and began posting short videos of our daily workouts, I felt a responsibility to keep my word. Posting those videos kept me accountable. Plus, the constant "likes" from Health House, as well as the encouraging words from friends, were a nice reminder that I should be proud of the work I was putting in.
I Gained Weight, and I Didn't Freak Out
Before this challenge, I was very focused on the number on the scale — but over the course of those 30 days, I shifted my attention to how I actually felt. Surprisingly, while I had gained weight, I liked the way I looked in the mirror. Knopke had advised us to add more weight to our workouts as we progressed, and I realized that in the past — though I worked out consistently — I had never really pushed myself in that way.
For the first time ever, I felt myself getting stronger. I was able to complete a round of push-ups without dropping to my knees. My go-to set of weights increased from five pounds to 12! I can see definition in my arms and even some in my abs, and when you feel that good, who cares about the number on the scale?
Working Out Every Day Helped Ease My Anxiety
I've always found that exercise helps with anxiety, but this daily commitment was even more beneficial. During this time of uncertainty (with COVID-19, my wedding, and my career), my anxiety has been at an all-time high. Before these workouts, I felt like I lacked purpose and I had no routine to help get me through the day, which only increased my anxiety. Once we added in a commitment to Health House, I suddenly had something on my calendar. It gave me purpose, and in turn, I felt less stressed and happier.
It Strengthened My Relationship
While my fiancé and I have been together 24/7 these past two months, there's a difference between being together and spending quality time. Our workouts allowed us to carve out 45 minutes of quality time together, every day. No matter what the day brought, I knew the two of us at the very least had this time together without any other distractions. We joked about the workouts, encouraged each other in the moment, and complimented each other on how far we had both come.
Even now that our 30-day commitment is over, we've continued to work out together daily. While the Health House workouts aren't easy, the feelings of accomplishment supersede any of the temporary pain. I look forward to logging on to Instagram and joining the instructors every day. I don't see us stopping until they do!