i joined a gym

You know those holiday movies where the family all plays football in the crisp fall air after Thanksgiving dinner? Well, I’ve always wanted that. As my boys get older and older I am getting closer and closer to enjoying those holiday football games. My oldest played his first sport this year…basketball. Not only did he look so cute in that uniform, he’s pretty scrappy on the court.


He kept his head in the game and was pretty intense all season. Watching him score baskets was priceless.


He took it upon himself to ‘train’ at home. Some of that training involved wanting to race me. We hadn’t raced in a few months. He has gotten so much faster!Β  I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines winded and out of shape when he is a teenager wanting to play football after Thanksgiving dinner. This mom wants to have some game during the teenage years.

Last fall two of my incredibly buff (as in their muscles have muscles) friends and very not buff me registered to run the Warrior Dash this year. The Warrior Dash includes: Mud Crawling, Fire Leaping, River Running, Hay Bail Climbing and a bunch of other obstacles. I signed up not really thinking through the fact that those obstacles were spread out over 3.24 miles. I am not a runner. I haven’t run a mile since a college credit required it.

Photos from Warrior Dash Facebook Page & Website

So combining my desire not to die in a pit of mud on the Warrior Dash and that fact that my 7 year old is almost as fast as me

….I joined a gym.


I used to work out all the time…but that ended 7 years ago. I worked at local gym in the childcare area….with teenage girls more interested in their cell phones than the kids. It turned me off on joining a gym again because I didn’t want my kids in childcare. Well I found a new gym…with great childcare. When I joined the gym they looked over my weight, height and last time I did a regular excerize routine. Then they told me my body is 3 years older than it should be – based on the fact that I am “so inactive”. I kind of wanted to show the trainer my Wii karate moves and let her know that she should never tell a mom with 4 young kids that she is has an ‘inactive lifestyle’. But I didn’t. She also told me my goal body age is 27 (I’m 31). That was the first time it really sunk it that I am no longer in my 20s. Signing up to join a gym is not a fun experience.


So I got me some new youth size running shoes. I fill my water bottle up every morning and I hit the gym. In the last 2 weeks I have learned a few things:

1. Gyms are not designed for new people….they are a club where only the members know the rules.

2. Treadmills have too many buttons.

3. The water aerobics class is super enticing when you are watching it from upstairs on a treadmill with too many buttons.

4. I have no coordination.

5. “Body Step” should be called “Body Step, Shake, Run, Twist, Turn, Flip and do a little jig only the front row people know”

6. I can try all I want to turn up the volume on the little tvs on the machines, but I still won’t be able to hear it.

7. I realize everyone on machines with tvs wears earphones….I’d hear the tv if I owned earphones.

8. God forgot to give me tricep muscles.

9. The mirrors during “Body Combat” clearly show me that I in fact do hit like a girl. Bummer. Need to study Rocky videos.

10. I can drink an iced caramel macchiatto and not think twice about the calories – the first 2 minutes of “Body Attack” took care of those.


Honestly, it has been a needed change in my life. I’ve put it off for so long because I felt like there just weren’t enough hours in the day for me to add going to the gym to my daily routine. I was already super active at home, but I had no idea what a great mental release it would be for me. At home most of my free minutes are spent doing something related to online or this blog. My mind was often cluttered trying to keep ideas organized for various responsibilities I have. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired creatively. It has been so good for me to add something to my schedule that is not related to anything online or anyone else. I may be in the back row of the classes just trying to somewhat keep up, but it has been kind of a retreat for me. I’ve been sore in places I didn’t know existed and that has been so good. My mind is getting clearer. My step has a bit more bounce. It feels good.

Warrior Dash…here I come.

Boys, your mom will take you down on the football field.


back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Ashley - Go get ’em Momma! It is so hard to fit in a good workout even without 4 kids. You are a ROCK STAR! And that Warrior Dash sounds fun.

  • amanda torres - You should really consider doing a screen print on a t-shirt of you at the trapeze place. You know, the one where you have a beautiful split? Then done that shirt at EVERY workout. Oh yeah, it needs a title that says, “I am so inactive I can do this.” I love everything about this post. We have a very in expensive gym membership, but I rarely use it. Steven goes every single work day. Sickening. I am, however, working hard to get this 31 year old body in shape during naps. I am convinced that the Jillian Michaels’ workouts on Cox OnDemand is of the devil.

  • Anna - Yay! Good for you. I understand the whole giving up the gym/work out thing after having kiddos….I did the same thing! I was training for a marathon before getting pregnant and now I’m going to try just running again. All my activities are stationary except for chasing after my two year old haha. Good luck…you’ll be a gym addict in no time!

  • tiffani - i’m pretty sure i am avoiding getting into shape like the plague. i know what i need to do, but why is my mind not over matter?!! thanks for the humor in the truth:)!

  • Mallory @ R. Simple Life - I absolutely love working out. It gives me time to just be alone with my thoughts. It’s the best.

    I’m doing the Warrior Dash too! Which one are you doing??

  • Katie - My husband signed me up for the Warrior Dash, too!! I’m terrified and haven’t been able to get to the gym as much as I like. Thanks for reminding me to make it happen!

  • Jenni Goodlin - Good for you!! Totally agree about Gyms not being for new people. I love Body Combat, keeeyaaa!

  • Keri Doolittle Photography - Good for you!!! πŸ™‚ I, too, signed up for the Warrior Dash in Washington State this July. I have to admit, I am a little nervous, but think it will be a blast!

  • Tasha Roe - Look at you!! So awesome! I only have 3 kids – 2 in school all day and I can’t get to the gym. You are inspiring!!

  • Michelle D. - I’m 31 as well and don’t remember the last time I worked out regularly! I have done Slim in 6 sporadically, but I just can’t seem to stay motivated enough to stick with it.

  • Shauna - Well done on getting to the gym…I have the same issues. We are signed up for the Warrior Dash in Missouri!

  • Loren - Good on you! I’ve been considering joining a gym for a couple months now, but I’ve haven’t got the gumption to just DO IT. I’ve no real interest in playing touch football (ever), but my health is important to me. Maybe I should sign up for a potentially embarrassing sporting event too. That would kick me into gear. Good luck!

  • anne c. - GO Ashley!!! that is so exciting for you!

  • RachelC - Bravo! Can’t wait to see pics from your warrior dash!

  • Emily Morrice - good for you!
    makes me feel like if you can do it with 4 kiddos, then I surely can with one, and one in the oven πŸ™‚

  • Mariah - Good for you! I know what you mean. I hadn’t been to the gym since before my oldest was born either. Then a couple of months ago I joined our neighborhood Y and I have really enjoyed it. Then I ordered Zumba DVDs. Oh man… That’s fun. But I’m really glad I don’t have mirrors in my living room… Call before you come over. I don’t want to get caught doing my Zumba moves. Yikes.

  • Vicki - It’s that “taking care of yourself” thing that is just so hard. Dropping other things to do something for yourself just feels off when you get started and you are a momma.

    P.S. I would LOVE to feel like I was 27 still!!

  • Danielle - go girl!

  • Jill E. - way to go! i agree gyms feel like everyone else know what they are doing but i think its all in our heads. excited to hear and see some great photos from the warrior dash looks epic.

  • kylahailstone - Congrats!! The Warrior Dash sounds like a blast!

  • lauren - good for you!!!! nothing like being motivated to beat our children… ;)i still remember the day my brother beat my dad in a foot race as my sister and i cheered from the sideline and called him an old man. babahaahah! you never get it till it’s you huh?? have a great day!! i’m off to call and apologize to my dad. πŸ˜‰

  • Amy S. - Too funny! I tried one of those step classes last fall. Those “front row girls” can be intimidating! Thanks for the laughs and the inspiration. I’ve been debating renewing my membership. This 34 year old body is at least 40!

  • ashley jensen - I know all too well how gyms aren’t for new people but the regulars that do know what’s going on were new people once too. I need to get my butt exercising because my daughter is getting alot more active and I want to be able to run around outside with her and not feel like I am dying after 10 minutes!

  • Trish - i love your list πŸ™‚ funny

  • Seamingly Sarah - I love working out, more specifically running. I say it every time, but it really is like meditation to me. Everything else in the day leaves my brain and for a few miles I am clutter free. I also find it’s a great time to pray and focus on God. I love that part too. Good for you and tell us about the Warrior Dash. I’ve been intrigued by those, but I really hate competition and races. It’s not my thing, or I’m subconsciously making excuses to not try something new.

  • Jennifer - Don’t you love, upward basketball? My son did that last year and it was a great experience. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing the warior dash too. It sounds like you are off to a great start. πŸ™‚

  • Heather - I too gave up working out when my kids were little. I thought chasing pre-schoolers was exercise enough but then I heard a comedian on TV say “you can’t call it baby weight once your baby starts Kindergarten”. My baby was about 9 months from starting Kindergarten at that point and my 40th birthday was rapidly approaching so I thought if I don’t do it now I never will. That was 2 years ago and I am almost 40 lbs lighter! I feel great. I now work out at least every other day. I have found pilates is my activity of choice but daily two mile walks in all weather keep me and our family dog in better calmer spirits. I tell people I work out for SANITY and VANITY. The health benefits are probably good to but wearing size 4 jeans again was a pretty nice motivator and goal for this 40 year old mama!

  • Crystal - I started working out for the same reason. I was *never* a runner. But then, one day, my boy brought home a sign up form for the school’s 5K fundraiser. I told him if I was going to pay for it, we were going to have to actually start running. I followed the Couch to 5K plan, and we were ready to complete our 5K in 2 months time. Now, I enjoy running. I can’t even believe I typed those words. As a 32 year old who often thinks she’s still in her 20s, it’s nice not getting winded going up the stairs.

  • Sara W - Good for you! Your list cracks me up.
    It is amazing what exercise can do for my mental state and the physical energy boost is an added bonus.
    My son would absolutely love it if our basketball league allowed them to run thru paper like yours.

  • Dacia - this was so cute! i was doing crossfit last year and really enjoyed it…i stopped because we moved kind far from our gym. either way, it’s good to do some exercise! keep it up! πŸ™‚

  • maria - Welll, you might have pushed me over the edge to finally sign up for Ymca….but its more for the clear your mind reasons then anything else, plus there’s a pool!!! Full agreement over all the gym hangups….so glad its working out for you guys!!! good stuff!

  • Raechel Myers - Good girl! I’m impressed and inspired! Now to find a gym with good childcare…

  • kristin - good for you ashley! hang in there!! p.s. you found another way to inspire us all. πŸ˜‰

  • Courtney Henson - Oh, I love this post! Way to go…you are inspiring! A year and a half ago I got my lazy behind to the gym too. Never was one to work out. My friend and I were crazy enough to sign up for a half marathon. It was great to have a goal and a motivator because I never did learn to like dragging my kids to the day care and all the work it entails. Ran the 1/2. It was amazing and totally want to do it again. Have I been back to the gym since?…hmm…maybe twice. Totally lame. (And the 1/2 was last June!)

  • janineg - we did the warrior dash last year!!! it was INSANELY fun and now an annual tradition! you’ll love it….

  • marie - Good for you! My husband did the Warrior Dash last fall and he LOVED it. He didn’t train or run at all before it and finished. He was definitely sore after the fact, haha.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I have so many things I want to say about this! First- your observations of ‘gym life’ are hilarious! The part about hitting like a girl and God forgetting your muscles…hilarious! Second- I’ve always wanted the after Tgiving dinner football game too. Third- I love upward basketball! I coached in college. I had a team of boys that was more interested in singing show tunes than playing ball. So really, we were a perfect match! And lastly- I am 34 and this is the first time in my life that I haven’t felt “tight”. Does that makes sense? Like, no muscle tone. Like a fat, slim person. LIke if I were a DJ I’d make my peeps call me Fatty Slim. So, like you- I’m taking matters in my own hands!
    After you watch all your Rocky movies and learn to NOT hit like a girl- you should go punch that gym lady in the mouth that called you inactive. Just as a reminder- ain’t nobody s’posed to mess with mama.

  • kaleyann - Good for you! I also just started working out after a long hiatus – ouch! If your gym has body step and body combat, they probably have Body Pump. best. workout. ever. It is super fun once you get the hang of it (give it a few weeks) and it really works.

  • CharlaL - Totally with you about gym childcare…If you could share the name of the gym that would be AWESOME. I need out of this house with a dependable place for my kiddo!

  • Amanda D - You totally crack me up!!! I have been thinking about getting back in the gym and I think this is exactly how I will feel!!! Keep up the great work πŸ™‚

  • Celeste - You go, Ashley! rock it. {they have Upward Basketball where you are, too … we do too!} πŸ™‚

  • Kathryn Hager - Oh! My husband and I along with my sister and her friend did the warrior dash in Texas! It was the first one ever in Texas and it was crazy!! My husband is invloved in NO physical activity and he did great. He was a bit hesitant at first but with all the obstacles it went by fast and was pain free!

    You’re going to have so much fun! Advice: Don’t wear any clothes you want to look the same and don’t wear your nice new T-shoes!! I ended the race with only one shoe!! Relax and have fun!

  • LeAnne W - Yay! I joined a women’s only gym late last year. Ran my 1st 5k in October, quit going to the gym during the holidays, but was back at the gym the 1st week in January. I am now training to run my 1st 1/2 marathon in May. I too, needed to do something that involved nothing but “me time”. I use the treadmill as my stress reliever. Like last Sunday, I was so crabby I had to go to the gym and run. The Warrior Dash sounds like a blast! There is one similar in Fargo called the Filthy 5K. It’s on my to do list this year. Good luck with the gym. Pretty soon you’ll be insisting everyone should do it because you feel so much better after.

  • Melissa - ‘atta Girl! That first step is the hardest! You signed up and are already making the time for fitness. It does the body and MIND so much good! Good for you, Ashley!

  • Moriah - Totally inspiring. I also feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Good for you!! You rock!

  • giozi - Better I don’t tell you from when I don’t go to a gym :O

  • Mary - Oh my gosh Ashley, your list made me laugh until I cried. I even copied it and sent it to my mom and sisters. No. 5 totally reminded me of a time when my sisters and I joined my mom for her Zumba class over Thanksgiving. We lined the back row and laughed at ourselves trying to follow the ‘front row’ people doing all the moves. Good times!

  • Lindsey Jo - that warrior run looks intense. i’m intimidated just thinking about it.

  • Betsy - I LOVE BODY COMBAT!!!! I just started it at my gym. I think it is one of the best ways ever to work it out. I also enjoy Body Step. Not sure what Body Attack is but it sounds SERIOUS. Thanks for sharing!!

  • amber - Awesome. I have a treadmill that’s been calling my name for months. But I ignore it. Also…God forgot to give me booty muscles.

  • cheree - Singing up for an event or race is GREAT motivation to work out. I ran my first 5K in December (I am totally not a runner) and now I am training for my first half marathon in April.

    The classes get easier and you find your coordination. Keep at it. The mental retreat I get from working out is a huge part of why I have been taking various classes for the past 8 years. Kickboxing, step, spinning, yoga, boot camps… they all have different things to offer and once you get the hang of it they are tons of fun.

    Working out with a buddy is another great way to keep at it.

    So glad you were able to find a gym that has good child care. Your kids will LOVE that you can get out and hang with them when they are older πŸ™‚

  • Emma - I have been reading your blog for quite some time but have never been brave enough to leave a comment! But I just wanted to tell you that your blog is inspiring, funny and a breath of fresh air on my lunch break every day! Thanks for sharing your funny gym tips! Good luck in the warrior dash. But honestly being a mom myself and trying to get my kid dressed, fed and out the door before church on a Sunday morning is a weekly warrior dash for me. I am sure you can agree with that statement with your 4 kiddos too!

  • sarah j - you go girl! i love the endorphines you get after working out. they’re addicting…in a good way. and i love that the reason you are working out if for your kids, not as a response to some silly cultural pressures to look thin and toned all the time. your motivations are totally in the right place!

  • Kristin S - 1. It takes time. Most of those other people don’t know what they are doing either. I’ve been at my gym for almost 7 years and they are like family to me. But it took time. The best part is being missed if you aren’t there. Accountability.
    2. New-to-you classes. At some point everyone in there was new. Any instructor worth his/her weight in anything should be sensitive to you the first few times.
    3. Kudos to you! I didn’t exercise at all until I was 31 and now it is a lifestyle. I can’t imagine life without. AND over 30 things start to fall. You are getting in a good habit now.
    4. You are so tiny and adorable so I would never ever have thought you were someone who didn’t exercise! You do. You move all day long chasing those darling kids all over the place.
    5. Have fun and enjoy it….

  • jami nato - welp, i don’t know. i think if they put snacks at different stations around the gym, it wouldn’t be so intimidating. it’s like, “i’m just grabbing a snack and watching people” and then maybe you can join them if you’d like or just keep eating your snack. like a snickers, for instance. on the commercial they say it gives you energy.

    that’s just an idea.

  • Jen - yea for you!! i keep hearing about this warrior dash deal and my husband is registered for one in our area this fall– i never thought of running, but just might after seeing your goal. thanks!

  • chantelle - so good! Youa re now even more inspriring than ever! Look out because just when you finally think you have the hang of all the twists jumps steps and turns they CHANGE the whole routine! I am a back rower and forever will be!

  • Melissa Lewis-Midwest Magnolia - Good for you! I became a stay at home mom to my now 20 mth old this past September. Needless to say, I seriously need to get my rear in the gym. You go!

  • Leanne - You are so cute! I can’t wait to get back into running once this bun is out of the oven!

  • rachael - This is hilarious! I have also been trying to stay more active, even with 2 boys under 5, and have been using exercisetv.tv a few times a week. I think I have been sore in a new spot every time!
    I think it is very wise that you are making time for yourself and your health – not to mention sanity πŸ™‚

  • Meredith - My friends and I are doing the Warrior Dash this summer! In Minnesota! We can’t wait πŸ™‚ I actually won’t be participating, old injury keeps me from running, but I fully intend to practice my cheering! Good luck!

  • Tasha B. - Paleeaaassse…. when they asked how active you were you should have spouted off how many miles you “run” chasing after the young’uns every day. I know how that adds up!

  • Christin - I ran the Warrior Dash last fall! I am also not a runner and not in shape and surprisingly warrior dash’s spread out obstacles were my savior. The obstacles give you a little breather, but also a much needed adrenaline push. It was a lot of fun and I have two pieces of advice for you 1) get ready to throw away most of what you wore after the race 2) duck tape your shoes to your feet so they don’t fall off in the water obstacles. Good luck!

  • Erin - The Smallest Sparrow - Good for you! I’m so impressed as I sit on my couch eating potato chips. Just kidding. But I’m like you… I chase after my kids all day and consider it exercise. But I know it’s not enough. I hope to be right there with you soon.

  • Carissa Miller - Oh wow. I am still laughing. This one cracked me up. First of all, I want to know what gym you are going to. Mostly because I will never, ever join there if you have to do your “fitness profile.” I have no, I repeat NO desire to know what my fitness age is. Second of all, my gym has all those same classes too and I HATE BODY STEP. I seriously fell of the bench at least 3 times the first time I took the class and my calves felt like they had been injected with permanent pain serum for 5 days after the class. I do, however, love Body Pump and take it 2 or 3 times a week. If you haven{t tried it, you should! You will be so sore you canΒ΄t move the first few times but after that it is awesome. Go get your workout on girl! Wish we were at the same gym. Alas, IΒ΄m guessing you are at one on the Eastside and IΒ΄m a Westide girl. Better go…I feel a rap song coming on since I mentioned Westside and thatΒ΄s never a good thing. Wow. this is the worldΒ΄s longest post. Sorry if IΒ΄m breaking a blog etiquette rule. You know me though, I love breaking those rules so I donΒ΄t really care!

  • danielle - congrats! i have been wanting to join a gym but haven’t found one that fits me well… a new one popped up in my town so i called about prices and they won’t “release them over the phone”… i thought that was ridiculous!

  • Jamie - I have been reading your blog for probably about a year now. I am so inspired by your photography and crafting. I’ve learned so many things and thank you for that. Since you’ve taught em so much about areas I am clueless about, it is my turn to chime in on something I AM familiar with–gyms! Although they can be intimidating, the warrior dash and these fancy gyms can provide you with such mental clarity and physical accomplishment. Keep at it! It’s great that you’re doing something for yourself.

  • Sarah - I have always thought about the warrior dash but I dont think I am tough enough! Did you know that Tulsa has a 2mi run that you do in your underwear?! Seriously, where do people come up with this stuff!!!

  • Jess H - good for you!! we just joined the Y this year as a family, and is has been so good for all of us–the hubs and I actually feel like we get a couple of “dates” a week talking while we work our abs side by side πŸ™‚

  • Kristin Bommer - LOL!! you are so adorable :)and i love your tiny feet. i think we are probably feet twins. i’m a little nervous about finding shoes for my wedding, but that nervousness goes away when i think of a lifetime of saving money by wearing kids shoes πŸ™‚

  • tracy ashley - ashley….your blog is my new favourite! thanks for being a creative inspiration and showing me things about being a good mom!
    i just have to tell you…after i had korban, i went back to my old gym (before i cancelled the membership) and as i walked in the cute, young, and fit receptionist announced to me, “YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO THE GYM IN 165 DAYS!” thanks girlie, thanks…way to make me feel good. πŸ™‚ go get’m, you can do it!!

  • Renee - Great job! I recently took up running and my aim is to run 5km (not sure how much that is in miles!) and when I finally run that 5km, my husband will buy me a DSLR camera and then I’ll finally understand what you mean when you list all the specs for your awesome photos!

  • Brooke Whitis - I love the gym πŸ™‚ It is such a release for me! I am taking it easy right now…being preggo, but I love the feeling after a good workout!!

    I had friends do the Warrior Dash last year and they LOVED IT!!! I wanted to do it this year…and last..but these babies keep getting in the way πŸ™‚ I sure don’t mind…

    I hope you have an amazing time…and I am glad you found a place with good childcare. I am afraid of that. My gym isn’t awesome…as far as that goes!

  • Rachel - I recently joined Golds too πŸ™‚ I have yet to take any of their classes but you’re inspiring me to try them out πŸ™‚

  • Kristin Eldridge - Good job! We all need exercise inspiration. Keep us posted on how the gym thing keeps going!

  • Kara @ Kara Paslay Designs - Good for you Ashley! I wish you would have joined the “gym” Tim and I go to! We do a lot of exercises that are gymnastics based. PS- My triceps stink too!

  • Jennifer Keeler - My friend just signed up for Warrior Dash this year, too!! I don’t know if there is more than one location or not but I had never heard of it until she told me about it. Sounds like an incredible experience!!

  • Lori - oh my goodness – i felt like i was reading my own post in so many ways. i haven’t worked out since pre kids and my oldest (of 3) is about to turn 7. So 7 years. and Monday I will have been going to the gym for 2 weeks. It does feel good and I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I am doing, w/o looking totally clueless πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  • lutachi - Double YAY for getting back into the exercise swing of things. I too came to the realization that I had to begin exercising again when I was scared by my own reflection as I walked past a mirror in a tank top and undies. I too was somehow overlooked when God was handing out triceps. You are inspiring and I wish you all the best.


  • RaD - Watch out though! Little boys don’t always play fair and if one is being beat by a female adult others will pile on. Trust me I know. πŸ™‚

    That’s great you’ve joined a gym, you’ve just listed the many reasons why I haven’t. I am starting out with my wii fit and then will decide from there. I am 31 too so I can only imagine what they’d say about me. I may be active, but definitely not enough.

    Good luck on the warrior dash! It sounds fun, except for the 3 miles part!

  • Jen - Wow Ashley, I feel your pain, literally. I joined a gym Monday and you’re absolutely right. It is such a strange world.

    I guess next time I have to ask for help figuring out the radios attached to the TVs or why the “Quickstart” function on the stationary bike isn’t quick at all, I’ll think of you.

    Hope you have fun with it. (Love the pics, as always.)

  • Meredith - YEAH! Me and a group of girlfriends totally signed up for Warrior Dash this year (North Texas)…I may be in WAY over my head but I’m looking forward to it! Where are you competing? Good Luck!

  • Rosalind - Still laughing… oh dear, I wonder how old my 38 year old body really is?!?! I have decided I would like to give myself a new body for my 40th! just a fit one that will take me through the next 40 years, God willing! πŸ™‚

  • Melissa Zumba Class - I’ve been to your web site before. The more I examine, the extra I maintain coming again!