The savory perfection of a cheese to noodle ratio. The greasy, but not too greasy, crispy bites of a fried drumstick. Bread. Butter. The sweet seduction of cookies, candies and ice cream. Pure, intoxicating joy.
Much like we seek solace in comfort food, exercising with other moms is a steadfast second to obtaining that same joy. Not a mom? That’s ok, we are talking about like-minded, like-living individuals striving for self care together.
I have been unsatisfied with my weight since childhood. I have tried many weight loss methods and self help swindles. Only, within the last decade, have I felt fully educated on carbs, fats and proteins. Life skills class in middle school, Cooking 101 nor Health in high school prepared me for the deceitful impressions food would make on me.
Nonetheless, any nutrition plan, unlearnt or paid for, must include some form of exercise to produce results. Nutrition aside, exercise has never let me down. Not for the weight I’ve shed or gained back and took off again, but for the mood changes and the feelings that accompany an exercise high; which is much more satisfying than any number on the scale. This does not mean every day I’m all about getting one in – I’m a human, a mom and wife, be for real. I love it, but my motivation is limited. Yet there is no other feeling I can give myself that creates a greater and brighter outlook on life as me, in my body.
Getting into to the routine and maintaining consistency can be difficult. Especially if it isn’t a new year or a new week or a new month.
I’ve done the group classes. I’ve been a gym rat. I’ve trained to be a Zumba instructor. But as a mom it is nearly impossible to stay consistent in any of these. Even just finding the will to choose an outlet for self care over mommy and wife duties is daunting. How could I leave my tired kids with my tired husband who has worked all day for just one hour of cardio? Let alone keep from exhausting myself trying not to ponder the “what if’s” and mom guilt for not being there at bath time and bed time.
Wheel in a barrel of comfort food here.
This is why misery loves company. Sharing in your misery with other like-minded adults can turn that misery into zeal that lasts the whole week. Even if you don’t like working within a team, the dynamic of a group setting with people going through what you are going through, creates an atmosphere like none other.
Luckily for The Pod Squad my passion has always been to help and spread kindness. Our mutual emotional and physical damage caused by the pandemic led me to lead us into group fitness. And if you know Why I Hate Being A Stay at Home Mom, then you know I love to lead. We have a commitment to clear our schedules at 7 pm every Tuesday and Thursday and 9 am on Saturday mornings. There is very little travel time involved because we meet at one another’s home. This saves an insane amount of time, and worry. From my years of experience in fitness, and the free Internet, I gather 45 minutes of a mix of cardio, strength training and HIIT workouts and circuits. We practice yoga on the weekend.
It doesn’t matter what we wear. We come in our work clothes, our pre-baby clothes that are bursting at the seam or the pajamas we call lounge wear we’ve been in for several days. Before arriving we each contemplate waving the white flag and letting home or work stress defeat us. But we always show up because we know we need this more than the disappointment and late night snacks. (Almost “always” show up – we are humans, moms, wives – be for real.)
We count on each other, we motivate each other, we laugh and sweat equally during sets. Body odor is a prerequisite. We don’t even have to hide our flatulence. Nor our tears when we have just been broken down by the day.
We solve problems together. We make plans together. All while pushing to the finest endorphin high we’ve met all week. Tormenting tantrums, knee weakening whines, the deadlines at work, the angst of marriage, have all become frivolous.
Our commitment is euphoric. Our togetherness is therapeutic. The best medicine you can give your body and mind is movement. And movement is best prescribed with friends. We end each session uplifted and clear minded, feeling in charge of our thoughts and actions. We’ve gained strength and confidence, and weekly renew our physical and mental agility.
*Some of us chose to move to build strength. Some of us want to lose weight. Some of us just want to feel comfortable in shorts and sleeveless tops during the summer months. Regardless the goal or purpose for pursuing a healthier lifestyle, keeping to it and staying consistent is key. Having a few home-girls to kick it with makes exercising less of a struggle and more of a relief. Plus we share in each others loses and gains, making them more triumphant or less traumatic. Sparking all kinds of joy.
Exercising in a group of close, like-minded, like-living friends is a date you don’t want to miss. A commitment you will be too embarrassed to avoid and a high you just won’t want to live without. Don’t be afraid to take the first step and get you some.
* In 9 months, 3 mid-thirties mommas have lost a combined total of 41 pounds and 12 inches. And have gained 1/3 of a six pack and 50% of a bubble butt.
How to Introduce Exercise Into Your Life by Jillian Lankford
My Week as a Vegan by Brent and Jillian Lankford