When Exercise is an Addiction, We All Have an Enabler 

In the fitness world we use the term #fitfam, slang for Fitness Family. Your fitness family is a group of people that support each other and workout together regularly. Fitfams are often seen posing with flexed biceps after workouts to both validate the hard work put in and to show off the support from one another. “My fit fam is better than your fitfam” is basically the gist of any instagram group fitness post. 
Today is a special day. It is the birthday of one our most beloved fitfam members and in a way, the originator of our Fam. I met Michelle, also known as my workout wife, at the spin studio that started the journey for many of us. Bike 9 was her spot, front row and just to the left of the instructor bike. She always rode hard and gave frequent “woohoos” as if to give her approval of our song choices and choreography. She averaged 4 classes a day, both for her weight loss mission but also because she wanted to support us instructors just as much as we supported her. In the time we shared spinning as instructor and rider, Michelle lost 85 pounds. A couple of times I dedicated a class to her using all of her favorite jams because what she lost in weight she gained in strength, stamina and confidence and that deserved a celebration! 

In the time since I left teaching, she and I have gone all over the city working out, both to support our fellow fitness instructors but also to meet new ones. Our fitfam door is always open. There have been numerous times I have seen her crush goals and overcome obstacles that once seemed impossible. She’ll give me a side-eye scowl mid class and mouth the words “I hate you” which really translates to “this is amazing and I love you.” Today’s blog is about of one my favorite badass Michelle moments. 

We had decided to try Fhitting Room, one of New York’s most intimidating circuit group fitness classes. The workout is not easy and Michelle’s physical strength was still in the works but she never stopped and never gave up. For the last 5 minutes of class, we were asked to partner up. The “fhix” as they called it, involved squats with an overhead press with a dumbbell, one on each side followed by one burpee. Partner 1 went and got a quick rest while partner 2 went. Back to partner one but this time 2 sets and 2 burpees. Then 3 sets, 3 burpees, switch and so on. Michelle was hurting, she had definitely stepped out of her comfort zone throughout the class, trying new moves and pushing her own limits. By the time we got to the fhix, she was pooped. We all were. She was having a hard time with the sequence but didn’t want to give up. I looked her right in the eye and said “let’s go girl! We’ve got this together.” Instead of taking my break I did her sets with her then my own while she rested. The look on her face was of sheer determination. She had kicked ass for 40 minutes and she was not about to give up now. That look on her face inspired me, and I knew I had to do it with her, to drive her the way she drives me everyday. I know it sounds dramatic, but the shared moment made me emotional and though I never told her, it made me tear up a bit. THIS right here is why I work out and that moment made me proud of her. This woman and her nonstop, even when she’s exhausted every ounce of energy, reminded me what it’s actually all about. It’s not about fitting into the skinny jeans or the number on the scale, it’s about how it makes you feel. It’s about mind over matter and becoming better and stronger everyday. That day, Michelle made me feel like a fierce badass babe because she WAS a fierce badass babe! Instead of leaving that class complaining, she asked if I wanted to go back the next week. Hell yes! 

Since then, we’ve gone to NUMEROUS workout spots and in true Michelle style, she jumps right in without a second guess. We wake up before the sun almost every morning conquering HIIT, circuits, rowing, boxing, spinning, and running. We’ll continue to try out our options around town and I know she’ll continue to keep me motivated. She’s the type of person who if she says she’ll do something she does it, even if that means 6am spin classes(those 6ams are where the friendship really started). 

I wish you the happiest of birthdays my workout wife! This year will be our fittest, both mentally and physically yet. I promise you before your next birthday I WILL have you doing box jumps. Oh, and you’ll run a marathon! You’re welcome! 

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