Last month I completed my 500th barre3 studio class. That means I’ve prioritized the time, gotten myself to the studio, and sweated it out over 500 times in the past two and a half years.
The milestone was particularly sweet because unlike other athletic endeavors, barre3 doesn’t involve clear victories or glorious success moments. There are no opponents to beat, no finish lines to cross, no personal times to beat. It’s simply about showing up and dedicating yourself to the practice. Over. And over. And over.
In high school I played basketball, which made exercise all about playing and winning a game. Running and weight training were engaged in strictly to improve athletic ability on the court. After high school, absent the structure and the motivation that comes from being part of a team, I struggled to incorporate exercise consistently.
This struggle became particularly challenging after having my daughter. Incorporating workouts into my already full life became a daily struggle.
When I discovered barre3 something clicked (you can read my full barre3 story here) I connected to the music, the movement, and the satisfaction of building a strong body after baby. Working out became less about a goal, a time, or a win. It became about functional strength, commitment, and self-care.
As I dive into my next year of classes, I’ve spent some time reflecting back on the milestone. Here are 5 things I've learned from 500 barre3 classes.
1 | Just start
Whether you recently had a baby or you hardly have time to exercise, starting a workout routine can be hard. It’s easy to put off and make excuses. But you have to start somewhere. I put off committing to a workout routine for a long time after my daughter was born because I felt discouraged about how far I had to go and was intimidated by the entire thing.
But I got over it and dove in headfirst. Without class number 1 there wouldn’t have been class number 500. So don’t wait. Just start.
2 | Embrace where you are
When I took my first several barre3 classes I spent entirely too much time beating myself up over how far I had to go. I wanted to be fit and I wanted it right now. Not only was this attitude self-defeating, it was also a serious waste of mental energy.
You are where you are. Embrace it. Then show up everyday and before you know it you’ll have changed.
3 | Let consistency be your goal
I had many goals when I started practicing barre3, with weight loss being number one. And I’m not going to lie, losing weight and maintaining that loss is still a central motivator. But I learned from the very beginning that the greatest success has resulted from shifting the goal from weight loss to consistency.
Because you can control consistency. You can decide to prioritize the time, to show up, and to keep showing up week after week. And if you show up consistently, chances are other goals will fall into place as well.
4 | Find the joy
Wait, what’s that? You don’t find your exercise routine joyful? Well, I didn’t either. I spent a lot of time thinking exercise meant competing against myself or someone else, and about suffering to accomplish some fitness milestone. Overtime, and particularly after having my daughter, the pain and competition aspect of exercise was flat-out demotivating. I did not have time for that kind of negativity in my life.
But through class after class of barre3 I found my focus shifting to joy. The joy of moving my body, of building strength, of making the time to take care of myself. So find the joy in your fitness routine and let it carry you through the days you’d rather not workout.
5 | Dream big
After my 500th class many barre3 friends and instructors said they couldn’t wait to see me hit 1,000. Then, one of my barre3 friends (who is well past 500) said she couldn’t wait for to us hit 5,000. Dream big. As long as there’s still a studio I will be there.
Sometimes it can be scary to dream big, to let your mind carry you to places you’re not sure are possible. Chances are, though, your big dreams are possible. So go ahead and dream them. Tell a friend. Then go get at it.
Have you celebrated a milestone along your fitness journey? I'd love to hear you share your story!
Follow along with Real Food Whole Life for healthy recipes, meal plans, and tips straight to your inbox by subscribing here.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.