In 2012, I was training for the New York Marathon.
It had always - and I mean ALWAYS - been a goal of mine as a long-time runner, as I grew up, quite literally, across the street from the finish line. However, my life did not exactly lend itself to the time commitment of properly training for such a race until years after college. My career in television barely allowed for sleep — let alone running up to 15 miles on some days. I moved to California for work, and within a week of living there I sadly blew out my knee, an injury that took over a year to fully recover. Fast forward to 2012, I was living back in New York, not battling any injuries, enjoying a flexible job schedule, and could not have been more excited the day I signed up for the marathon with Team Determination, which raised money for the American Cancer Society.
A few months into my marathon training, in the summer of 2012, I had been battling pain in my hip for a few weeks, but in my usual stubborn fashion I decided to just run through it as opposed to addressing it. When I went out for what was supposed to be an 5K one Saturday morning, the pain had clearly gone to a new level, and I barely made it past two miles before I had no choice but to pull up. Turns out, my stubbornness and determination had landed me a solid stress fracture in my right hip, and I had no choice but to finally give in and pull out of the marathon.
It was not my first (but most definitely my last) lesson in learning the limits of my body. I started to realize that perhaps my body just wasn’t built for endurance training, or perhaps pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles wasn’t worth giving up the long and active life I planned to lead. However, if I was going to give up long distance running, the staple in my fitness routine until that point, how was I supposed to stay in shape? I knew I was going to have to open my mind and get innovative.
At the time, the idea of spinning or any other silly-group-workouts-designed-for-the-less-motivated seemed completely unappealing to me (yes, I know, completely ironic considering my current seat in life). Finally, after a running buddy very thoughtfully sent me a 10-pack of classes to a popular spinning studio, which I had sworn was “not my thing,” I figured I might as well give it a go. I will admit, I was not convinced after the first class, or the second, for that matter. But after about five sweat drenching, heart pounding, music blaring, and exhilarating classes that left me with zero hip pain - I started to feel the pangs of anxiety that I only had five classes left in my gifted package. I was amazed at all the innovative ways the studio had come up with to not only make the spin bike a true full-body workout, but also make the workout fun, engaging, and a rather meaningful experience. So it was done, my appreciation for the new and improved boutique fitness scene was official — and I had to see what else was out there!
Enter City Row. I have never been a rower, aside from some intervals on an erg machine here and there, used either during sports practice or personal training sessions. (Hence, my abysmal rowing form in this week’s episode.) So the idea of creating an entire workout around this machine, that most often seemed to be collecting dust in the corner of the gym, sounded incredibly innovative - and most certainly hip-injury-friendly with its low impact on the joints. I went in prepared to mentally will myself through 45 minutes on a machine I just didn’t feel very comfortable with, and was completely and utterly surprised. Not only was the concept of this workout completely innovative, but the way City Row split up the class into intervals between the rower and mats next to each rower, where you do a variety of strength exercises, kept the class dynamic, fun, and challenging. Not only did my hip feel great, but I felt muscles awaken that I likely hadn’t used in years (read: I was beyond sore).
While one of the morals of this story is to listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something, the focus of this week is to be innovative with your health and your life - most especially when you’ve hit a roadblock. Don’t just give up. If you are daring enough to try something new, you never know what will be waiting for you on the other side. For me, getting innovative around a stress fracture in my hip quite literally led to an entire career, and this little company of ours - The Sweat Life.
Aside from my story, this week, City Row founder Helaine Knapp will be telling her innovative story about how the studio got its start; SoulCycle instructor Halle Murcek reveals her battle with self-confidence that brought her to the spin podium; holistic nutritionist Eve Lynn Kessler suggests innovative hangover cures; and Flywheel instructor and mom Wendy Wolfson shares the small ways she keeps her kids body-positive.
Remember, if something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to make a change. We are right here, behind you all the way.
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life