Sarah Conley #TBT
My 7th grade basketball picture.

If you had told me when I started Style IT almost seven years ago that I would have all of the opportunities and adventures that I have had, I would totally have laughed at you and asked if you were feeling alright. Every day feels like an adventure, and I’m so grateful to have these amazing experiences and access. This latest opportunity scares me to my core – it’s a wellness challenge that includes the words boot camp. WHAT?

The thought of attending any boot camp class terrifies me, since I’ve fallen very out of shape. In high school, I was a Top 100 athlete, playing center for my high school and regional competitive  basketball teams. Unfortunately a series of ankle injuries kept me from playing my senior year and as a result, pursing any collegiate opportunities. To this day, I still miss the game.

My experiences in the gym have always been less than positive. Even in high school, I never seemed to athletically perform to my coach’s expectations. I’ve taken numerous yoga classes, but it never seemed that I could quite get into the position that the instructor wanted, or move through the moves as quickly as I should.  Was it because I was (and am) overweight? Or is it perhaps that I never quite adjusted to my 6’2″ frame? Regardless, the only place that I have truly felt comfortable in a fitness setting is on the basketball court.

I’ve considered trying any number of ways to kick start incorporating fitness into my routine. I joined my local gym and tried to start slowly, but there wasn’t enough stimulation to keep me engaged. Zumba sounds like a fun time, but would I end up humiliating myself because I have absolutely no rhythm? I consider myself a confident woman, but all of that melts away when I enter a gym. Does that ever go away?

A few weeks ago, the Oxygen team reached out to me and asked if I would like to participate in a sponsored campaign that includes attending four boot camp sessions at Circuit of Change. I’m intrigued by the idea because it combines so many different disciplines for a mind and body experience. My first class is tonight and I’m terrified, but I’m also excited to go even further from my comfort zone.  My friend Monica reminded me over dinner last night of the Friday Night Lights mantra – clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Alright friends, let’s talk fitness. What kinds of workouts do you do? Do you love it? Tell me in the comments below! 

This post was written as part of my partnership with Oxygen Network. More to come!

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  • alywalansky

    an important lesson i was taught by my yoga teacher – what we are doing may or may not be perfection, it is practice. i went back into yoga and pilates because i had ridiculous back pain after my surgeries and it helped a lot – so much so that when i don’t go for a few weeks, the pain comes back. however, i’ve also felt awkward and bumbling and would be like “I CAN’T DO THAT RIGHT” – becauase there’s some abdominal positions that i still cant’ do. and the teacher was always – take breaks when you need, do the best you can, but remember, it’s not about doing everything perfect, or even doing everything at all – but just practicing in your own space and speed and comfort. (also, i LOVE zumba, and i dance into walls all the time!)

  • Avery @CelebStylist

    My problem is physically getting myself to a gym or a class. I love Zumba, so for convenience sake I bought the Zumba Kinect dvd/game. The privacy of my home works well for me and have no excuse not to exercise. Kudos to you and taking on Boot Camp. I’ll be your Cheerleader all the way!
    Xo, Avery

  • Can you turn into a little angel and sit on my shoulder tonight? You have been such a source of inspiration when it comes to fitness over the past few months. I can’t thank you enough!

  • Hi Avery – thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’ve tried those at home workouts on my Xbox, but unfortunately I don’t have enough space for the Kinect to view all of me and so even if I am doing the moves correctly, it’s difficult for the device to capture them. I also think that I need the IRL experience, even though so much of what I do is digital. I hope that this will encourage me to try Zumba or explore more!

  • Katie Davidson

    This is amazing! I’m rooting for you, because I KNOW you can do it! You ARE strong and confident and you have nothing to fear. I’ve always found that having a buddy helps a lot — accountability has kept me going for weeks now! Training for a half marathon in a country where I know very few people has been a challenge. Luckily I found a running group and they’ve kept me going. I hope your journey inspires you to keep going and that you’ll find your buddy to help motivate and encourage you too! XOXO.

  • antisparkle09

    I’ve fallen very out of shape as well. I joined the gym over the Summer and I really enjoy the cycling class. It’s a challenge but anyone can do it unless you absolutely can not pedal a bike. I shy away classes that have dance routines (or choreographed moves) because I’m a rhythmless wonder as well. Good luck with boot camp! Don’t over think it.

  • afrobella

    this is awesome and I can’t wait to hear about your journey!!! Sarah this post is brave and you rock. For me, I’ve discovered that I’m the biggest blockage to my own fitness success. We CAN do it, and by it I mean anything we put our minds to. Love you!

  • Colleen Nyborg

    Yeah! You are going to do well. I attended a bootcamp put on by a personal trainer last winter. I couldn’t believe the changes that two sessions a week made in my strength and endurance. I am currently going to tabata interval classes at my local gym. If you aren’t interested in fitness that involves much fancy exercise (rhythm/footwork/dancing), I totally recommend tabata or HIIT.
    I’ve also got a small group of women of various fitness levels, who take turns leading a work-out two or three nights a week at a local park. We sprint up hills and get pretty dirty doing push-ups and abs on the ground. If it rains, we hike. It’s social, but we work hard. There are so many free bootcamp and exercise ideas on Pinterest. I sleep so much better when I get a good work-out in. Best of luck!

  • V

    What I do for fitness is just turn on some music with a beat and dance around my house. I make sure to do at least an hour a day. And not just shaking my booty, but I try to incorporate some kickboxing moves and other cardio. That way I get a full cardio workout and it’s fun. I work from home and don’t really go out much due to my anxiety so it’s the perfect way to work out all that energy without having to pop my head into the gym. 🙂

  • Mary Fioretti

    I suggest that you check out Les Mills Body Pump. It’s all coreographed exercises with weights. It’s so amazing and sculpts every part of your body. I do weights M,W,F and cardio T, TH, Sat with 40 min walking on MWF.

    Good luck and you will enjoy it. Make friends. That will help a lot.

  • Denise Elliott

    In addition to jogging (not running yet but more than walking) and biking at the gym, I also go to Pilates Reformer and Pure Barre classes. While working out is probably never going to be my favorite thing in the whole world, I can honestly say that I don’t hate either of the group exercise options I’m doing now. I can’t do a few things in the Pilates class and can’t do MOST things in the Pure Barre class – or at least not as many as the rest of the class or in the exact same way as the rest of the class – but I’m getting really good strength training workouts that will help build strength in my sad/weak core muscles and that’s helping with my back pain. Whatever exercise routine you do, just work at your own pace and to your own fitness level and I’m convinced you’ll see benefits.

  • Thank you so much for sharing everything that you do, Denise, as well of your words of encouragement. I appreciate it!

  • Hi Mary – I’ll check that out! I love that you have a structured routine – I think that is important. Much appreciated!

  • I can only co-sign on this method if you have danced at least once to Britney’s Slave 4 U. 😉

  • Hi Colleen! I love everything about this comment. Thank you so much for sharing all of your great ideas, tips, and experience. I think that I do need to be in a group or personal trainer setting otherwise I will totally flake and use my workload as an excuse.

    Thanks so much for reading & sharing!

  • P, you’re the absolute best. I just love, love, love you so much!

  • Hey sweetness! I was never very great on a bike, but I was also trying to ride it on gravel and dirt roads when I was younger.

    I really appreciate your kindness and words of encouragement! xo

  • Thanks so much, Katie!

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  • Sarah whenever you wanna go on a hella crazy long walk and gossip I will hop on dat J train girl! #health #liveforever

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  • Plus Style

    We are rooting for you!

  • ” and can’t do MOST things in the Pure Barre class – or at least not as many as the rest of the class or in the exact same way as the rest of the class”

    I cried after my third Barre 3 class. I felt so out of shape and mortified. But at the same time… it was always a kick in the butt. And even if I didn’t do them as well as the rest of the class or the same way, I always said, “You made it through” at the end of the class.

    And sometimes, when you’re starting out, you need to give yourself the permission and ease to be satisfied with making it through. (I feel the same way when I try to do Couch to 5K.)