I Took a Year Off From Orangetheory, and It Was Basically the Worst Decision I Ever Made

Working out was never something I enjoyed doing. Being at the gym made me feel like a hamster running on a wheel, Spin class was cool until it wasn’t, and yoga was great until my studio had a massive teacher turnover. You name it, I tried it . . . and subsequently quit it. And then I tried Orangetheory Fitness (OTF for those of you who are in the know). I was instantly hooked and quickly worked my way up from twice a week to five (sometimes six) days a week. I loved everything about it: the atmosphere, the energy, the coaches, and the members with whom I quickly became friends. I unearthed a competitive streak I never knew I had and was always striving to set a new PR or use heavier weights. In spite of waking up to make a 5 a.m. class, I had more energy than ever before, and I felt better than I had in a long time. My body was changing both inside and out, and my confidence levels were at an all-time high.

I kept up my aggressive schedule for over a year. When I moved out of state, I immediately found a new studio but quickly found it to be lacking. It was tiny, the trainers weren’t attentive or enthusiastic, and half of the treadmills were on a floor that was noticeably uneven. OTF had gone from being something I was excited about to something I had to drag myself to every day. And when my husband and I decided to try for another baby, I used that as my excuse to cancel my membership. I was crushed, but it just wasn’t the same.

My twins were born the same month that a new studio opened not far from our new home. By then it had been 13 months since I stopped going to OTF, and I missed it. Badly. I felt a profound sense of loss each time I passed a studio or saw an orange splat (which happens to be a fat cell squashed under a microscope, in case you were wondering) on the back of someone’s car. It was a club that I was no longer a part of. I felt sluggish, and I couldn’t see the definition in my shoulders and arms that I had been so proud of only months earlier. And now I had two newborns, so I knew I wouldn’t be going back anytime soon. I promised myself I’d get back as soon as I settled into my new life as a mom of three and that I’d stick with it regardless of how I felt about the new studio I planned on joining. Three months later, I had both babies on some semblance of a schedule and decided that it was finally time.

The first time I walked into the new studio, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty (it wasn’t), but it still felt like home. I’ve been back at OTF for three weeks now, and I have a long way to go before I get back to where I was. What used to be my base pace is now my push pace, and I spend almost 40 minutes in the orange and red zones, when I used to have to really work hard just to make the recommended minimum of 12. But I’m back and, for now, that’s all that matters.

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