One Way I Learned to Kick a Fitness Rut

When life gets you down, it tends to get your health habits down, too.

Which brings me to a point I’d like to make on this blog: I’m not one of those health writers who flaunts perfection. In fact, I’m probably one of the most hedonistic people you’ll ever meet.

Italian restaurant instead of cooking at home tonight? Good idea! Drinks at the bar instead of yoga? Count me in. That barstool nearest the bowl of chips at a party? I’ve already claimed it, so back off.

If I had an Instagram account, you’d be looking at one big slideshow of #whiskey and #cheese.

Although I’ve been a health and fitness writer for almost five years, I still have moments of weakness.

Knowing the keys to health and knowing the keys to our own stupid behavior are, as I think we all know, two different animals. So even though I’ve managed to corral myself into getting pretty fit over the years, I still make minor detours.

I’m not exactly sure when the latest detour started. Or perhaps “bacchanalia” is a better word.

It may have been when a minor health issue struck. Or when work projects got hairy, or after the pup got injured. Maybe it was the family vacation. When food lovers get together in NYC, things can, apparently, get quickly out of hand.

But whatever the trigger was, somewhere along the line, I stopped making fresh, home-prepared meals and juggling regular climbing, hiking, tango and yoga. And this was replaced by lazy strolls around the block, obligatory before retiring to a brainless Redbox flick and Doritos with cottage cheese, washed down with a beer. Okay, two beers.

“But what about being fit?” Yeah, I’ll get back to that later.

And then yesterday, it happened.

Bouldering-UtahA friend sent me these pictures from our last bouldering day in Little Cottonwood Canyon and I was reminded of my former glory. (If not quite glory, at least not pathetic hermity laziness.) And I was back in the climbing gym today.

I had somehow forgotten how good it felt to move my body until seeing that photo. So I guess I’ve discovered first-hand how effective looking at pictures of yourself exercising can be.

I’m grateful for the friend who took the climbing photos, as well as the friend who helped ping me out of my stupor with a climbing gym invite this morning.

If you are also in need of a nudge to get back to the gym, I highly recommend seeking motivation in photos of former fitness feats and in your posse. And if those fail to get you off the couch, try sitting through Wolf of Wall Street.

xo Chelsea


I’m a health writer and graduate student. I’m interested in the wily side of health – self sabotage, persuasion, and why health campaigns so often manage to inadvertently piss people off.

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2 thoughts on “One Way I Learned to Kick a Fitness Rut

  1. It isn’t the same exact thing but I got back into writing with a similar concept. I loved writing fiction when I was younger. It was my favorite hobby. I stopped writing once I hit college. About a month ago, my friend sent me a link to a story I wrote when I was younger. I reread the first long story I ever wrote at 11-12 years old. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t as crappy as I thought it would be. I had an overarching plot and decent dialogue and 38k words. That was the impetus I needed to sign up for NanoWriMo this year. I’m about ~25k words into the first novel I’ve written in years. I’d forgotten how good it felt to wordbuild and plot things out and be creative.

    Makes me wonder just how many other things I can motivate myself to do by looking at previous triumphs. I don’t want to be wistful–like, oh, I used to be capable of that. I want to be curious–hey, I was pretty good at that. I bet I’m could do even better now. I should challenge myself again!

    1. Thanks for your note Sharon. I hadn’t thought about using past triumphs for motivation in other contexts. You have a good friend :) Best of luck with the final stretch of NaNoWriMo!

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