When we try to exercise alone we feel isolated and uninspired, but together we can achieve our fitness goals.
By MMF Ambassador Sarah Kane
I consider 2010 the year I started my fitness journey, and 2011 the year I started running. Back then I only had a Facebook account, there was no Instagram, Snapchat or Tiktok. No stories, #sweatyselfie wasn’t part of our vocabulary, and I didn’t even have a smartphone. I felt very alone in my fitness journey.
I first started working out when I started a desk job because I didn’t want to gain weight. I knew my fast metabolism wouldn't last forever and I wanted to be healthy. I had just moved home after college and most of my high school friends had moved away, and I hadn’t met anyone my age in my job yet. I didn’t have anyone to "meet up with" at the gym, take a fitness class with, or even talk to about my health goals.
I was disciplined enough to go to the gym, train for a half marathon, and read Women’s Health magazine to educate myself on nutrition and fitness. But I didn’t feel fulfilled, something was missing. It wasn’t until 2016 when I finally discovered what--a community of likeminded people!
I found an online support group where I could talk about workouts to my heart’s content without annoying anyone. We could commiserate about not being able to walk after leg day. I had cheerleaders encouraging me every day, and who give me kudos for completing my workouts. I could learn and grow from them. Best of all, as an introvert, I felt like I had some instant friends because we had such a major value in common, and it was a small enough group to not feel lost in the feed.
The Group Effect
You see it in groups like the “November Project”, running clubs, group fitness classes, etc. When you have others around you, you are not only held accountable to show up because you know someone will be looking for you, but you also have comradery, encouragement and motivation. Study after study shows that if you work out with a friend you are more likely to stick to your goals because you both lift each other up.
Online groups are even more important in the current social distancing environment. We can still connect with others without being in the same room/space! It's helped me create a deeper friendship with my best friend who lives across the country, and I, in turn, supported her to a 25lb weight loss journey.
While an online group can’t run the miles or complete a workout with me, they do keep me accountable to show up every day. At the same time, I feel I can me more honest and vulnerable in my posts in that group--I know they are going through (or have in the past) similar struggles as me. We share more than workouts, we share healthy recipes, non-scale victories, and even life struggles.
Since 2016, not only have I completed 6 more half marathons, 2 marathons and over 20 home fitness programs, but I am even more confident and inspired to help others. It is the support from this group that has helped me believe in myself enough to pursue these goals and more.
If you think you’re doing just fine on your own, think about a few things:
How quickly and consistently are you progressing towards your goals?
What seems to get in the way?
How often do you skip workouts or ignore your eating plan?
Do you feel supported and motivated to reach your goals, or like you are in this alone?
Your answers will indicate if you would benefit from an accountability group!
I invite you to join my free accountability group. This is totally private and free. You can share as much or as little as you like. If you are like me and like checking off boxes at the end of a day, seeing a workout streak, and having a place to share your thoughts about a workout, come check it out. This may be the missing piece you are looking for too.
But whether it's that group or another, find a place to fit and grow in your health journey!