The Most Unpopular Way to Get Fit

I went to a group class at 24 Hour Fitness yesterday which is not my usual gig. Chalk it up to trying to shake things up a bit – I just needed a change of scenery and I prefer the variety that comes with an early wake-up call.

The class was a 5:30am Boot Camp and I went with the vague notion that it would probably involve a circuit of some kind and it would almost definitely hurt.

Right and right.

10 stations each with two exercises ranging from lunges to presses to hip bridges to burpees. One after another – bam, bam, bam!  The first time around we did each exercise for a total of one minute (two minutes total at each station, 20-something minutes all told). Then we went around again – wheeee!

One thing that I love about circuit training is that it’s truly customizable. You can go as hard as you want, lift as heavy as you can muster, jump as high as you want. You make your own pain so a group full of 35 adults with vastly different fitness capabilities can all get a good, hard workout in. Being in company is motivating and sometimes inspiring and, at the very least, it will shame you into some modicum of performance.

But at the end of the day? You’re still the one behind the barbell. It goes as high as you can lift it.

Those squat thrusts? They’re yours, baby. Own them.

There were a lot of people in boot camp today and more than half of them were busting ass. The others? Going through the motions.

Which reminded me about something that can really suck about working out.

It’s hard.

Or at least it should be.

Showing up to a group class and waving your arms in the air isn’t going to get you there. As the overly-caffeinated instructor said, “You gotta work it, baby.”

I’m not sure why people waste so much time and money on classes and memberships when they won’t do the one simple thing that will make the difference: show up and go hard.

As a small-business owner and blossoming efficiency freak with seriously limited time resources, it drives me up the wall. As a sometimes meat-head gym-rat it makes me frustrated.

As a person who cares about other human beings and wants to see them succeed? It makes me want to help.

So here goes. Here’s the Grit and Glimmer sponsored PSA:

Go do whatever it is you love to do and DO IT WELL. Be present. Go hard. MAKE IT FUCKING COUNT.

No related posts.


  1. I would do it if I weren’t so lazy.

  2. Go hard or go home. You rock Heidi!

  3. Well said.

  4. Great advice in and out of the gym!

  5. This kind of reminds me of a quote I saw in a New Yorker magazine story about relief workers in Africa. One doctor said his motto is: “Don’t take yourself seriously, but do what you do seriously.” It has become my motto, too.

  6. I love that, Waffles. Thanks for sharing.

  7. One of my other favorite quotes

    “There is no way you just did 50 reps.”

    -Beth Burns, sometime around 6:05 in the morning, to some innocent new person in Tedder’s class.

    Nothing keeps you honest like knowing a crazy person is counting your reps.

  8. Nice one….Your PSA should get everyone moving.

    I can still remember the motto from the first gym I went to: “No one said it would be easy, but then again nothing worthwhile ever is”. I think yours has much more bite to it. Nice.


  9. ChristineWithRegence

    Interesting stuff! For ideas on how you can take charge of your own health care, check out

  10. Thanks for the inspiration, nothing beats a kick in the rear to get in gear like a good boot camp.
    Even better if you find a like minded soul not going through the motions to pal with on the push.

  11. Jay Kulbertis

    I have preached that same message to my two kids [now ages 21 and 16] so often, that I had to share your post with them. This is not the first time I have used your words with them, and others, to reinforce key points. Whatever else you do, please keep writing the good fight!

  12. Love it! I found your site randomly and the google gods must know what theyre on to. Im a trainer, group ex instructor, and soon to be yoga teacher ( who also happens to work for 24hr in NYC). I always tell my clients or ppl in my cycling class that at the end of the day, it doesnt matter how great a trainer I am or how kick ass a playlist I make for class, THEY need to do the work. I cant make them do it, I only present the opportunity.

  13. I have the same thoughts every time I go to the gym. If you are going to spend an hour working out, be it lifting, running, cycling, do the fucking thing. That goes for life too…you’re already spending the time, so why not get something out of it.

    Makes me sad to see people walking on a treadmill for an hours time.

  14. icebreaker

    The gym I go to 3 times a week, suddenly in summer, is a favoured spot for a large group of NHL players who are off for the summer.

    They show up every morning at 6:30.

    Those of us that are going through the winter feel like we have been pushing it and getting good results. Until you see the professional hockey players working out.

    jaw dropping.

    Certainly makes you want to push harder.

  15. I just started boot camp in April.
    Very over weight , middle aged, and determined push myself.
    I show up 5 days a week , and work as hard as I can.
    I am having great results.

    And have to add that an injury or 2 has slowed me down this last week, and kept me on the side lines.
    But it happens and you allow yourself time to heal and get back at it.

  16. I try to explain to this to the students who take my boot camp class all of the time.. It’s Hard! People do not go to exercise classes to take it easy on themselves. The thing to remember is how GREAT its going to feel when you’re finished. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you gave it all you had.. and the shower you take afterwards will feel that much better if you do. Keep working hard!

%d bloggers like this: