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!  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.


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  • 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 :)

  • 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 :)

  • Meredith - My friends and I are doing the Warrior Dash this summer! In Minnesota! We can’t wait :) 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 can´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, I´m guessing you are at one on the Eastside and I´m a Westide girl. Better go…I feel a rap song coming on since I mentioned Westside and that´s never a good thing. Wow. this is the world´s longest post. Sorry if I´m breaking a blog etiquette rule. You know me though, I love breaking those rules so I don´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 :)

  • 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 :)

  • 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. :) 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 :) 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 :) 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 :) I have yet to take any of their classes but you’re inspiring me to try them out :)

  • 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 :) 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. :)

    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! :-)

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

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