You guys.  You GUYS! I finally pulled on my Big Girl Panties and went to Athletic Conditioning.   Here’s the class description:  Sports inspired athletic workout. Focuses on exercise to increase your muscular and cardio endurance. Plyometrics, cardio drills, much more and totally addictive!


If you recall, one of my goals for 2014 was to do more strength training. I thought I’d found a good fit with kettlebells, but… Eh.  I don’t know. The truth is that I struggle to maintain any type of non-cardio exercise.  I love cardio.  I hate everything else.  HOWEVER, I know that strength training is both necessary and insanely good for me – hence my goal for 2014.



I’ve been trying to work up to Athletic Conditioning in my mind, but this morning, I decided to just bite the bullet and go.


I was so anxious about Athletic Conditioning because my gym ranks classes Low, Moderate, or High Intensity, and Athletic Conditioning is only one of two classes that are ONLY ranked as High Intensity.  I knew it would be tough.  Also – it was an hour long.  Oh man.  That’s a long, tough class. I walked into class with all these thoughts racing through my head:  What if I looked stupid? What if I couldn’t keep up? What if I was THAT PERSON who walks out after 30 minutes? Maybe I should just go run on the treadmill…


My life philosophy about new and scary activities is to always own up that I’m new.  If I tell everyone right away that I’m nervous, it helps the nervousness go away (probably because people then go out of their way to be supportive and helpful).  So I walked in, heart pounding, and did my, “Hi everyone! I’m new! I will probably be melting into a puddle in, oh, 15 minutes…” speech.  To which a very nice woman said, “Don’t worry, I come all the time and I still want to melt into a puddle!”  She made me feel a LOT better.


We did 2 to 4 minute intervals where we alternated one exercise with the next.  Here were some of the combos that we did:




And guess what?  The class was so challenging – both in terms of physical activity and mental concentration – that my nervous quickly flew out the window. I didn’t have the time – or the energy – to be nervous at all!  I did sit out some of the intervals when I desperately needed a break, and I did modify some of the push-ups, but otherwise, I held tough.  There was a moment during a burpee set that I desperately wanted to quit.  You know that deep-down-physical-exhaustion-urge-to-just-STOP?  Yeah.  I had that.  I think the only other times I’ve felt like that was during my marathons, my half Ironman, and childbirth… so that’s saying something.  But still – the class was engaging and actually FUN (minus that moment).  And I can see why the class description said it would be totally addictive.


So – I hope to be back. I know myself better than to make grand promises about strength training, but taking the first class is definitely the first step.  Gotta start somewhere.


What’s your favorite way to strength train?  How did you get over fitness class nerves?  I know people like to hide in the back when they’re new, but I always say that newbies have got to stand close to the front so they can see what’s going on!




  • Anne April 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

    I am the exact opposite. I love strength training and hate cardio. I am back to training for a 10k, and just dread the running. But I know that it’s important, so I keep to it.
    When I first started strength training in college, I just went from machine to machine, sort of making it up as I went. Then when I was working, I got a personal trainer who provided me with wonderful circuits that combined strength and cardio. Now I’m working my way through the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women.
    It can be scary and intimidating to venture to that side of the gym (especially since I am a grad student and older than all those little undergrad boys), but I just go with it. As long as you have a plan, smile nicely, and follow gym rules, you’ll have a great time.

    • Wendy H. April 7, 2014, 7:19 pm

      Yay Anne! You rock! I also LOVE strength training. I could take or leave cardio- I like the ‘runner’s high’ it gives but don’t like being out of breath and sluggish. I started lifting last year and two months ago started the New Rules of Lifting Supercharged. It is definitely different, but I am confident that the workouts will keep challenging my body and improving it. It’s nice to know someone else is doing it to!

      • Anne April 8, 2014, 12:29 am

        YAY FOR STRONG WOMEN!! Glad it’s working for you, Wendy.

  • Breanne April 7, 2014, 4:36 pm

    I love strength training so much more than cardio. Haha. This class sounds awesome and definitely intense! My favorite way to strength train is in BodyPump (an hour-long weight-lifting class designed for high reps/low weights). It’s awesome and I go multiple times a week. 🙂

  • Erin April 7, 2014, 4:49 pm

    I totally understand being nervous when you’re new in a class and I definitely agree with having a “hello I’m new” announcement to ease yourself in. I always do that and it helps! People can be so friendly and helpful if you’re new.

  • JessicaR April 7, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Good job on going to the class! 🙂 It sounds like a lot of fun. They have something similiar at my gym but I haven’t gone yet… however, I may try soon!

    Honestly, I hate strength training too, but I have been doing it faithfully for the last 17 years (I’m 30 now) because I know it’s good for me, plus the results are awesome. Actually, if I’m being totally honest, I hate exercise in general… but I suck it up and do it anyway 🙂 I’d rather be on the couch with a tub of ice cream!

  • Ali April 7, 2014, 5:14 pm

    I’m with you – I love cardio and hate everything else. I am doing the T25 workouts right now that semi incorporate some strength moves with cardio, so I’m calling that good for now. I know that I need to add actual weights to my routine to build some muscle too!

  • Alexandra April 7, 2014, 5:58 pm

    Good job for going to that class! I definitely understand the “just bite the bullet and go” mentality. I have a question: I find when I strength train I get a really sore in my neck, back of the head, and sometimes leads to headaches… Any thoughts, anyone?

  • Emily April 7, 2014, 6:17 pm

    Yay on making goals happen! I’m just the opposite: I loathe cardio but love throwing weights around. I love all the meathead Olympic lifts – bench and deadlift and stuff. I just like being the little blonde girl pretending to out-bench the dudes 🙂

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun April 7, 2014, 6:27 pm

    I love taking classes for strength training, but have been following a “strength training for runners” book I got a while ago. It seems to do a great job of targeting the areas I need. I love throwing strength training in with running – it makes me a lot stronger as a runner!

    • Nicole G April 8, 2014, 8:38 am

      Any chance you’d offer the title/author to another fellow runner?

  • Rachel April 7, 2014, 6:31 pm

    I’m the opposite of you; hate cardio love strength! I took a “strength and conditioning” class in high school to help me get in better condition for competitive cheerleading. Once I saw how quickly my muscles responded to weights, I was hooked! I love being “cut” and feeling strong. It was a total game changer for my self esteem too 🙂

  • Wendy H. April 7, 2014, 7:16 pm

    My best advice is just to keep going to the class. Don’t make too lofty of goals- maybe start with making a plan to go twice per week. Then after like 6 classes you will feel confident, like you know what you’re doing (even if you are doing moderations or taking a breather). I’ve found that if I go for 3-4 weeks, it really becomes a habit for me and I crave going.
    I <3 STRENGTH TRAINING! It is so different from that cardio high, but so so so SO important. I started running 2 years ago and added strength training last year. My lean mass and muscle definition (sexy arms, booty, legs, abs!) have changed dramatically from it and I LOVE it!
    Getting to the gym/class is the most challenging part! Once you overcome the fear, or lack of motivation, you are golden!!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 7, 2014, 7:21 pm

    That sounds like a fantastic class! I don’t mind strength training actually — I know that I feel my best when I have a good weekly balance of strength & cardio, so it’s not too hard to motivate myself 🙂

  • Ashley April 7, 2014, 8:01 pm

    I also used to be really nervous about taking group fitness classes, but once I started going, I got really into them. There is nothing like the camaraderie of a group fitness class to keep you really motivated when the going gets tough!

  • chelsea @ chattersize n' pies April 7, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Good for you for stepping outside of your comfort zone! That is scary in all aspects of life but especially in fitness! I agreed to workout with someone that was an NPC Pro Bikini competitor and on my way to the gym started panicking like OMG what if I can’t keep up, etc. But I sucked it up and enjoyed seeing her way of training. I think most of the battle is having faith in yourself that you CAN do it! For strength training, I LOVE Les Mills BODYPUMP or doing strength workouts I find on Pinterest.

  • Erin April 7, 2014, 9:58 pm

    I’m with many commenters in that I LOVE strength training and hate cardio. I started at a Crossfit gym almost two years ago and while we do plenty of both, olympic weightlifting specifically has become a new love of mine. Nothing has ever changed my body like lifting heavy. It’s also a plus that it’s a huge stress reliever and after a stressful day at work , nothing puts me back in a better mood than some clean and jerks or deadlifts.

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie April 7, 2014, 10:10 pm

    that is awesome you tried something new! I have a few things Iwant to try :crossfit, bootcamp, hot yoga…. just to name few haha

  • Amber April 7, 2014, 10:44 pm

    I used to hate strength training too but then I did two of Bobbi ( shred’s back-to-back and fell in love with it. Or more accurately, fell in love with the results (which I shared in this post — I looked and felt better after two 6 weeks of solid strength training than I did after 5 months of training fora 50 km ultra:

    Her next shred starts on May 1 and I highly recommend you check it out! All the workouts are at-home friendly too and it makes strength training fun!

  • Kristin April 8, 2014, 3:15 am

    I had a similar class at my gym that was based on intervals. The first time I walked into class it was all men. Just a little intimidating! At the end of the class I was completely out of breath and exhausted and one of the guys said “Ya, not many women make it back after the first one”. Which, of course, made me come back every week just to look him in the face and smile. It never got easier, but I have never felt so fit.

  • Runner Girl Eats April 8, 2014, 6:07 am

    I do the same thing-walk into a class and tell someone I’m new. They usually give a few pointers about the class/instructor that helps me ease into it. I am awful at strength training. I used to be all about it but these days all I want is cardio, cardio, cardio!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 8, 2014, 7:56 am

    I’m doing CrossFit these days and even though I’ve been doing it for a year, I still get nervous sometimes… but I love it! New things keep me on my toes and the different workouts always push me beyond what I think I’m capable of. Also, burpees are the worst, but they are such a good workout!

    Good job getting to the class, that’s always the hardest part!

  • Amy April 8, 2014, 10:31 am

    I lean toward a “fake it until you make” it approach when I’m in new, uncomfortable situations. I started yoga this year, which really intimidated me, but when I walked into class, I just did what everyone else did, and pushed out of my mind the fact that I was new.

  • Kristen April 8, 2014, 11:28 am

    I love group fitness classes for strength training. I always find the first one or the first couple of classes a little anxiety provoking because I am one who gets a bit anxious going into new situations where I don’t know what to expect (especially if I don’t know anyone there), but once I know how things are going to work I love it. I love the accountability of the group and the instructor – it makes me push myself harder and makes me want to work up to heavier and heavier weights. Plus, I like that someone is there to correct my technique if it looks like I’m going to hurt myself 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork April 8, 2014, 1:04 pm

    I enjoy strength training and once I incorporated it into my workouts, I saw a huge change in my body. I often feel more pride in my strength and the physique it produces than I feel in my cardio gains. I’m a huge proponent of incorporating strength, especially since I was injured. Not only that, but don’t be afraid to lift heavy! We don’t have enough testosterone to get huge like men.
    I enjoy a good Jillian Michaels DVD for strength. Talk about challenging!

    • Amy April 8, 2014, 3:26 pm

      “What if I was THAT PERSON who walks out after 30 mins?” …..Ouch! Statements like that can be very hurtful. I am THAT PERSON. I’ve quit in the middle of workouts at the gym….even in the middle of DVDs at my home that were too hard for me. But…at least I did what I was able to do. I hope no body was judging me if I quit…..I hope that people look at me at the gym and say….that women is moving her body and that’s all that matters. I have a good 40-50 lbs to loose, so I’m sure people judge me all the time. But, I’m working on it at my own speed and ability…..and proud of that! So please be careful not to insult the efforts of us athletically challenged people.

      • Caitlin April 9, 2014, 5:53 am

        I have quit in the middle of a class too. This remark didn’t come off the way I intended – no insult to anyone meant! I think my fear of quitting is that sometimes the INSTRUCTORS say something when someone walks out! I never look badly at them (obviously, I’ve done it), but I never want to be made fun of by the instructor as the door hits my ass on the way out. 🙂

        • Grace April 9, 2014, 8:32 am

          Wow, I can’t believe that instructors would make fun of someone leaving a class. I’ve never seen that happen – if I saw something like that, I would report them to management! Instructors are there to instruct and encourage, not to mock the people paying for their services. What is someone had a health condition, or wasn’t feeling well, not just “out of shape” (not that anyone should ever be made fun of for not being fit enough!). That is totally unprofessional – no wonder you were hesitant to take that class if you’ve had experiences like that! If that’s a common occurrence at your gym, you should look for another one. I wouldn’t want to give a place like that my money.

          And seriously, do people actually judge each other at the gym? That seems so incredibly juvenile and immature; what are they, in middle school? I’ve been a fat person working out at gyms for well over a decade (ranging from 190 at my lightest to 260 lbs at my heaviest), both in shape and out of shape, and I’ve never ONCE had a person make a rude comment, look at me oddly, or ever do anything to make me feel uncomfortable or out of place. I’m at the gym to work out and do my thing, I frankly couldn’t care less about the other people there, and I imagine the vast majority of other adults feel the same way. If someone is insecure enough about themselves that they want to judge me or make fun of me, they obviously have their own issues, and that’s not someone I want to spend any energy on anyhow.

          • Amy April 9, 2014, 10:07 am

            Thanks for explaining what you really meant. And I’m with Grace…..if any instructor makes someone feel bad for leaving a class early, then they should definitely be reported. Luckily, I’ve never seen that happen either.

  • Kelsey April 8, 2014, 2:45 pm

    I think you need to get yourself to a crossfit box! Nothing has strengthened my running, biking, swimming, and body as much as crossfit has. The atmosphere is so motivating and there is something so powerful about doing things you didn’t think you could do.

  • Julie April 8, 2014, 4:44 pm

    I LOVE Body Pump!! Have you tried it?

  • Sarahf April 8, 2014, 7:04 pm

    I always lurk near the back, or at the side, in any class. I’m the only non-Japanese person at my gym, so I attract a fair amount of attention anyway, without putting myself at the front! It also means I can copy the person in front when I can’t see the instructor when they move around (my Japanese lessons don’t cover this kind of stuff!).

  • Ella Johnson April 8, 2014, 10:49 pm

    My favorite way to strength train is Chalean Extreme!!!! It’s an awesome do-at-home workout. I love it so much, I am coaching challenge groups now–to lead a group and provide support and accountability. Check it out (info is under SHOP) challenge packs!

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