I had been slacking off on my fitness routine for the past few months.  The gym in my building is on the twenty-eighth floor and I had used every excuse possible to ditch my workouts.  Monday the excuse was that its . . . well, Monday.  I snoozed my alarm every Tuesday morning.  I was meeting friends or washed and blow dried my hair on Wednesday.  By Thursday, working out was not even on my mind.  This was an ongoing battle for a few months.  I went from being the girl that scheduled her Pilates classes a month in advance to lacking motivation for fitness and avoiding all types of workouts.  I desperately wanted to find my passion for fitness again.  I wanted to give up the daily excuses, get back to old habits and make wellness a priority.  

On Saturday morning, while my sister and I were enjoying our morning coffee, our conversation led to how unhappy we both had become because working-out was not a part of our regular routine.  We both agreed to commit to a challenge and in the month of October we were going to workout every day.  We needed the support from our friends and relied on social media to hold ourselves accountable.  The rules of our October challenge were simple.  We had to post either a picture or a video on our Instagram story, tag one another and use the hashtag #WOWME: Work Out With Me.  We wanted to see if we can influence our friends on social media and build a healthy, supportive community.  We wanted our friends to do the same: follow the same rules and have fun.

No excuses!  October 1st, 2018 I posted my first Instagram picture.  
I’m committed!  October 31st, 2018 the lessons and results of this challenge were incredible. 

I hope the five lessons I learned while completing this challenge will push you to get started on yours. 

Lesson 1: Fight Through Week One
The first week was difficult.  I was sore!  I alternated from strength training, Pilates, yoga, plyometrics, HIIT and cardio.  Every post was a positive surprise.  By day five I had three friends join.  I was thrilled!  Receiving the Instagram notifications pushed me to not give up and fight through the soreness of week one.  

Lesson 2: Consistency Is The Key Ingredient 
By the third week, I was looking forward to getting out of bed for my morning workouts.  I had more energy, I was focused and my day was better planned.  The October challenge was not about weight loss or the physical appearance of my body.  It was strictly to cut the excuses and remind myself how much I used to enjoy working out. 

Lesson 3: Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
I used the gym in my building, but group fitness classes were my inspiration.  Sharing space with like-minded people allows you to develop a “Yes, I can” attitude.  Suddenly, you find yourself squatting lower than the person next to you.  And when the workout is so extreme, you laugh, smile, close your eyes and wait for the final countdown.  The beauty of physical training is pushing yourself to new limits, acknowledging your strengths and improving on your weaknesses.

“The October challenge was not about weight loss or the physical appearance of my body.  It was strictly to cut the excuses and remind myself how much I used to enjoy working out.” 

Lesson 4: Find The Strength Within
The hardest part of any goal is step one.  My goal for this challenge was to start working-out regularly.  The moment I made a conscious decision to change my habits, was the moment I realized it starts with step one.  My only thought on October 1st was that I needed to complete a quick 30 minute workout.  Small, simple steps eventually changed my habits and I was able to fall back in love with fitness.  

Lesson 5: #InstaFitness
The best part of the October Challenge was the support from my sister, friends, the studios and wonderful instructors.  The #WOWME trend became popular.  It was a domino effect because friends participated, studios reposted my pictures and I received positive messages from people around the world.  I gained new friends from this challenge.  I had friends from the West Coast, friends from London and Spain, thanking me.  They saw my workout videos and appreciated my commitment.  Mission Accomplished! 

Throughout this challenge, there were moments I wanted to give up.  #WOWME became a physical and mental challenge.  It was physically tough to workout daily for an entire month without any days off.  Mentally, I had to understand the discipline it takes to build a healthy, consistent habit.  The October challenge reminded me how much I had missed feeling sore.  I had missed the sweat-drenching workout sessions and missed the support from the wellness community.  It created opportunities to stay positive, focus on how far I have come with my journey and helped me get rid of the negative thoughts I had about my body.  My workouts became my therapy sessions.

Fast forward to almost two years later in quarantine: I have been consistently completing twenty workouts each month.  In the evenings and on the weekends, I go for walks with my friends (being mindful of social distancing).  I continue to sign-up to group fitness classes and participate in different challenges on social media with various instructors and studios.  It helps to surround yourself with encouraging individuals.  The challenges become easier and you fight through any obstacles as a team. The moment you want to give-up and walk away is the exact moment your friends lift you up and encourage you to take the next step forward.  

New decade, new you!  Friends, ready for another #WOWME challenge?