“I’m not a runner.”
This was a phrase I frequently used before, as I opted for elliptical workouts, yoga, spinning, or basically any workout where I could avoid heavy cardio. I’ve always been an athlete, playing competitive volleyball through high school, but I just never loved (or was good at) running.
But about eight months ago, my entire mentality changed.
You might see me preaching about it on my social media channels, talking about it, and asking people to come try it. And that’s because I really, truly believe in it and LOVE it (I swear, I am not paid to write this ha). The workout I’m referring to is called Shred415, a workout studio with 60 minute high intensity interval training classes, which alternate between treadmill and floor/weight training (but with different variations/workouts every time).
Let’s go back to the beginning. My friend Lauren had asked me to go to Shred bunches of times. I was always utterly terrified, but finally mustered up the courage to go. I remember it vividly – I was scared, and happy to even be running the whole time (very slow, might I add). I made it through, barely.
A few days later, the Wicker Park studio manager, Julie, reached out to me offering a first-time monthly client membership for a really good deal. Coincidentally, I had also just really committed to my lifestyle change, and Lauren suggested Shred 2-3 times per week as my “kick ass” workout. So it was decided, I was doing it. I signed up for the unlimited month in August of 2017, and truly haven’t looked back since.
Since then, I’ve been going to Shred 3 times a week (4 if I’m feeling extra ambitious now :)) and I can confidently say I never leave class without a huge smile on my face and major confidence boost. But it took a long time to get there, along with a lot of positivity and hard work.
One thing that’s really encouraging about Shred is the way you feel comfortable the second you walk in – the instructors and staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming – and once you get into that room, it’s straight up you against you in the mirror. But when I first started going, I was usually a little nervous since I was still getting to know the studio, the workout, the people, and just getting my bearings in a very new setting. I’ve made a conscious effort to try workouts out of my comfort zone or at new studios in the past year, but this was a whole new level of commitment and rigor – so I really appreciated the atmosphere.
I also like that they give you modifications on the floor, and work you off your own paces on the treadmill, which truly makes it feel like it’s me versus me (not competitive with other people around you). I’ve done a lot of other workout classes, but I’ve never felt more in the zone than I do when I’m at Shred. Trust me, your ass gets kicked every time and you push your limits, but it’s a supportive environment, and one that you find yourself so motivated by every time.
I started off jogging at best during the treadmill sections, barely making it through class, but really just focused on improving every single time I stepped foot in class. Since going on a regular basis, I’ve upped my speeds, upped my weights on the floor, heavily improved by endurance, and truly feel stronger than I’ve ever felt in my life (honestly even my fit volleyball days, it’s crazy!). If you would have told me I’d feel the way I do now 8 months ago, I would have told you that you’re crazy – but here I am, 50 pounds lighter and running/sprinting every single week. WHAT?!
There are certainly moments when you feel like there’s no way you can keep going, bump your pace any higher, or finish the rigorous reps you’re doing on the floor – but you just do. And you just keep getting stronger, mentally and physically.
So what I’m here to tell you is that it IS possible. Even if you feel like you could never do a class like this, don’t consider yourself a runner, or whatever thought is running through your head like it was mine – it’s so far from true. Because let me tell you, our bodies and our minds can do so much more than we even realize – but we have to believe that to see it.
Choosing to change my life 8 months ago was the best decision I ever made, and Shred has been a huge part of that. A workout class that I never thought I could survive has quickly become my therapy, and a place I can count on to not only push my limits physically and mentally, but also make me feel amazing and more confident.
If you have any ounce in you of wanting to feel better but not knowing where to start, I promise that you can do it. And that goes for all shapes and sizes, and relates to really anything in your life right now. But let me make it clear: it’s not about hating on yourself that creates change, it’s about loving and believing in yourself enough to really do it, and it’s so freaking worth it.
I’m so thankful to Shred (shout out to Julie, the amazing Wicker manager) for reaching out for that first month, kicking my butt every week, and being so supportive along the way. Shred has truly become more than just a workout to me, and I’m beyond grateful to get to share my story with you all.