For as long as I can remember, I've worked out because I wanted to look better. For our wedding and the honeymoon. For college theme parties and the tiny costumes I wore to them. And before that, I trained for cross country and swimming because I wanted to win. They were self-centered reasons, but at least they kept me in shape. The only problem was that they never stuck around longer than the photo or the party or the race.
The past year and a half or two have been hard on me emotionally, and they've taken a physical toll as well. I started going to barre last March and stuck with it for about nine months, but I was eating a lot of crap (and like I mentioned in this post, I never felt like barre on its own was enough of a workout for me). When my mom had her double mastectomy in September, I used it as license to eat whatever I wanted, especially because our sweet neighbors were bringing over so much food so that my brother and I wouldn't have to cook while we helped her recover.
I'll never forget the day of her first surgery--after they wheeled her back to the operating room, Sean and I rushed to the market building in downtown Roanoke and nervously ate two of the biggest plates of Chinese food you can imagine. We were anxious and scared but also felt relief that our mom was making the best choices possible for her health and would hopefully soon be on the road to recovery. Another thing I'll never forget is how impressed her surgeons were with her chest muscles--my mom has always been a badass and CrossFit definitely set her up for some successful surgeries.
For months I've been telling myself that I need to eat better and to get back in the gym, but I couldn't seem to find the motivation. My Pure Barre membership was really expensive so I ended up not going back. Back in the fall, my neighbor and I both bought these Groupons for a 30-day membership to a cool gym in our neighborhood, so finally in February we started going. They have some really intense classes like TRX, kettle bell circuits, tabata workouts, and rowing; which is my new favorite. My body was sore for the first time in months and I was loving it.
All of this fitness inspiration coincided with my first biopsy last month, and as I took a few days off to recover, I realized that I had found my lifetime motivation. Not a dress or a bikini, but a true and important reason to physically care for my body. Here's a thing I've thought about a lot lately but haven't actually written: I want to have a few babies and a double mastectomy within the next six years.
It's an aggressive plan and if God/the Universe has taught me anything these past few years it's to not get too attached to your plans, but I have found so much peace in working my body for nothing more than the sake of becoming as strong as possible this year. So I joined the gym, and I've gotten back into more intense, CrossFit-style workouts. I lift heavy things and I jump and do lots of body-weight exercises, and twice a week I get my ass handed to me by a rowing workout.
I want to have fit pregnancies, and I want to go into that operating room in the best shape possible. I've always been pretty thin, but I haven't always been pretty strong. I want to leave cancer in the dust as I run and jump and swim and hike and play with my young, healthy family.
I'd say that's a pretty good reason. And I think it's finally going to stick.