The other day I was at my favorite workout studio, and the instructor took a minute or two at the beginning of class to talk about an epiphany she’d had that morning. Now, in general, I’m pretty anti-inspirational speeches when I’m getting my sweat on, but this particular studio has slowly but surely helped me realize (or accept) that the mental is just as important as the physical when it comes to working out.
You probably think I’m talking about a yoga studio or some other workout that is more typically imbued with spiritual undertones. But actually, I’m talking about a hardcore cardio class. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities that 305 Fitness has blessed with its presence (at the time of this writing, that would be NYC, DC, and Boston with pop-ups in LA and Chicago), I suggest you book a class. Immediately.
Not only is it one of my all-time favorite cardio workouts — I’m one of those people that gets bored easily in spin class and starts counting down the minutes until it’s over — but its founder Sadie Kurzban has infused the company and the studios with an endless supply of positive energy. (Side note: check out some evidence of her awesomeness here and here.)
I honestly think of my 305 classes as therapy, and if I go a week without a visit I genuinely miss everyone from the phenomenal women who greet me at the front desk to the badass instructors who I genuinely want to be friends with (I follow you on Insta so you know who you are, please feel free to slide into my DMs).
The premise of 305 Fitness is to bring the energy of a Miami dance club into the fitness studio, and with that comes a truly epic energy that you honestly have to experience to believe (there’s a live DJ in every class and strobe lights, I’ll leave you with that teaser). One of the major ways that they ensure every class has this same energy is by only hiring the most incredible instructors to lead their classes. But what makes 305 even more unique is that the instructors are not just badass b*tches who could kick your ass both literally and figuratively, but they’re also totally and completely real. And that’s what hit me the other day.
I was at my usual Monday class (gotta start the week off right!) and instead of her usual Monday pump up, the instructor looked out at the class and admitted to us that she had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. While trying to convince herself to get out of bed, she started thinking to herself, “Come on babe, gotta live life to the fullest!” — and as only a woman who is determined to not get up could do, her subconscious shot back “But WTF does that even mean?!”
The truth is that like just about everything else that’s been coopted by the #mondaymotivation hashtag, the concept of living life to the fullest has been slowly corrupted by none other than our social media feeds. My Instagram would lead me to believe that every one of my friends and acquaintances is pretty much constantly on a glamorous vacation (did I miss the invite to Positano guys?? Rude.) or celebrating some major life milestone. The pressure to only present the ‘best’ of our lives seems to have made us believe that unless we’re jetting off to beaches every day or playing hooky from work to go shopping with friends, our lives are somehow empty. But despite what Instagram might want us to believe, the actual reality of life is that we have jobs or school and sometimes we have to do things we don’t like in order to get ahead or to just get through the day. But does that mean we’re not living life to the fullest?? I doubt it — especially if you start joining me at 305 Fitness…
The instructor’s speech that day (it was probably 60 seconds long, but given its impact on me I’m still going to call it a speech) helped me realize just how damaging these expectations can be on one of those days where, sadly, we’re just not feeling it. In today’s age of wellness and self love, we’re constantly told to discard negative thoughts, emotions, and even people. We’re instructed to curate our lives (and our Insta feeds) to only be our ‘best selves’ but it can be hard to admit that even our best selves have bad days.
Her words had a particular impact on me that day because as I’ve started this journey with all of you to try to navigate the insane world of women’s clothing and beauty expectations, I’ve started berating myself for any negative thought that I somehow let slip through the cracks.
But the truth is I still have PLENTY of moments where I don’t love my body. I still have days where my favorite pants feeling tight ruins my morning, and others where I try on the same outfit I felt like a goddess in last week and suddenly wonder why I feel like a stuffed sausage. I still have weeks (months, really) where I put off shopping for a new pair of jeans because I know how hard it’s going to be to find one that makes me feel beautiful, and that knowledge makes me feel like sh*t. And you know what? That’s okay. We have to accept that it’s okay to have moments of self-doubt or even self-loathing, even if we’re told not to admit it. Because acknowledging those thoughts is the only way we’re ever going to be able to start diminishing their value.
So I’ve decided to redefine the phrase ‘living life to the fullest’ — or to at least add an addendum. Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean that every day needs to be the perfect day, or that every day you need to blindly adore every aspect of your body. Instead it means understanding and forgiving yourself for those moments where you aren’t feeling your best, and finding other ways to lift yourself up in those moments. It means accepting that those negative thoughts run through our minds from time to time (or all the time on plenty of days), but instead of beating yourself up about it, refusing to let it dictate the terms of your entire day.
So let’s all work on this together. What are some ways that you push through those bad moments to still have a good day? Tell me below. Any and all suggestions welcome.