Numbers have typically haunted me.

And they haunted me yet again (as much as I tried NOT to let them…they won yesterday.) during a free fitness evaluation at the gym I just joined next door to my apartment (which, incidentally, was done by Elizabeth Ruiz, season 10 Biggest Loser contestant! WAY cool, despite some of the results we discussed).

As much as I know numbers haunt me, and I try to steer clear of the ones I know that will (weight, for example. I fixate on a number if I know it. I’d rather know pounds lost or a percentage, but not my actual weight. I have no explanation for this other than that. I just…fixate.), there was one number that I thought would be easy-peasy and wouldn’t bother me. Body fat percentage.

But I was wrong. I was so surprised when she told me the number. 10% ABOVE what’s ‘normal’ for me. Um…what?

Now, with any machine, of course, it could be off. But what’s to say it is? It may be right. And it COULD be right. Why? Because I have focused on running and barre n9ne…not weight training. Both things that have proven to be a beautiful combination for me. I have entirely reshaped my body, I have lost inches (and pounds) and gained more self confidence (yeah, yeah, this is still a work in progress, the confidence thing!) and finally felt like I’ve ACHIEVED something in a workout plan (achievement vs. success – Tina once again says it exactly right in her post today, give it a read). But the trade-off seems to be that I have lost some muscle mass. I used to do a lot of strength training and while it didn’t obviously work as well as I wanted, I think in combination with barre n9ne and running, it could be the tweak that I need.

So…while there are plenty of schools of thought that stand behind things like body fat percentage and BMI and all of that…and everyone has an opinion or a study or ‘what worked for them,’ what I have decided is this: I need to do what I feel is best for me. Not based on others’ advice, not based on what’s working for anyone else…but what’s working for me. It’s SO easy for me to get sucked into different schools of thought, but ever since I started the barre n9ne challenge, I have been more aware than ever about what has worked for me now, and what has NOT worked for me in the past.

So I sit at a crossroads. Maybe a natural one, to be honest. It’s been six months since I began this routine…and it’s time to switch it up. It’s not time to let numbers paralyze me. And it’s certainly not a time to get stagnant, either. Rather than let these new findings paralyze me, I need to make sure they fuel me and propel me forward.

So, where am I bringing my fitness journey, you ask? Well, I am still deciding. But, I think that based on the body fat percentage test results, I am going to incorporate one strength workouts into my rotation. This might mean one LESS barre n9ne workouts though, which is HARD for me, because I do love it so and love what it does for me. So, I’ll test-run a few classes at the gym, perhaps a few homegrown/Cathe Friedrich workouts at the gym using my iPhone, and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll add spinning back into my cardio workout in place of one of my runs per week. My bottom line goal is this: add in a few things, take out a few things, keep it balanced and not over the top.

Change is hard for me. I love routine. But I have to remember that change is what got me the results I’ve seen so far. And it’s time to change (even slightly) again, to keep it up. Right?

Numbers. They won’t paralyze me anymore. They will fuel me.


I wrote this last night after letting my thoughts marinate all day. And then I re-read and tweaked it this morning. As I got ready for my day, I looked in the mirror. I gazed at the body in front of me. It’s simply reshaped. It’s entirely different than it was when I strength trained 3-4 times per week. And I am realizing that is okay. It is better than okay.

I actually like the way my body looks now (shocker, I know, from my writings lately. Curse the overthinking brain and the never-ending not-good-enough ridiculous feelings), but am excited at the thought of what it could look like with just a bit more strength training. A more well-rounded routine. More definition but not so much where my biceps are bigger than M’s (wink). I’m excited. 

(and thank you Samantha for your post…Love yourself, be yourself. Perfection. Needed!)


Disclaimer: I know it goes without saying…but these are my opinions, they are not based on fact regarding body fat percentage or any particular ‘school of thought’ on fitness, nutrition etc. I write from the heart on what works for me, what doesn’t, etc. I hope this comes through in my post…as does my passion for all things sweat. I do these things because I love to work out, I love to challenge myself. Not because I truly think I am overweight or need a massive change. Just tweaks.

29 thoughts on “Numbers.

  1. I know what you mean. I let the numbers get to me too. Your plan sounds good. I think that exercise needs to be mixed up a lot or the body gets into a rut. This is why I can run 20 miles a week and somehow gain weight, because I’m not confusing my muscles. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

  2. Hmm… Sounds to me like you’ve got it figured out. Adding strength training into your rotation or even simply lifting some weights for ten minutes at the end of your barre nine classes could be enough. Im glad you’re learning to love your body though, that’s more important than numbers. ❤

    1. I like your idea, adding 10 mins, even, of additional weight work post class (or pre class) would be just fine. Learning to love…learning is the key word, right? 🙂

  3. I understand how little tweaks make a difference in how your body looks. I definitely look leaner than I ever did when I was running and weight training. Triathlons and yoga work for me and I like how I look.

    But I also remember loving how I looked when I wasn’t so lean. I still felt confident and sexy. I felt GOOD and it showed, no matter the shape of my body.

    Beauty comes from the inside so rock it, girl. Love where you are, how you look and what it took to get there. Find your goals and work towards them, yes. But give thanks to your body for it’s ability to be molded as you want it to appear. That, in itself, is a blessing.


    1. Thank you T. You always know exactly what to say. EXACTLY. It is a blessing and I hope what I write doesn’t come across as the opposite, because I truly do feel blessed to be ABLE to do what I do workout-wise, regardless of what it is or what shape I am in. These posts are so much for me than many of my others are because they really help me get the angst and anxiety out of my brain and thought out on paper. I thank you and everyone who’s reading for bearing with me on these types of posts in particular!

    1. It does. I’m sorry if this post made it sound like it doesn’t. The running deminishes it, but the classes do not. After tonight’s double session, I am convinced it is exactly what I need. Nothing else. I can’t wait for you to go too!

  4. BMI can be misleading…but I 100% feel you and your “What?!” kind of thought process. Regardless of the number, you are – and have – made incredible improvements in your health and fitness. I know you’ll keep that in the forefront of your mind, but hugs, my friend. I know that’s all you really need right now.

  5. You know, I was where you are now once. I totally get it. It’s not an easy road to travel, I feel especially as women because all of our lives we’re meant to feel like we are supposed to fit a certain mold.

    But, you have got the right attitude! Mix it up a bit, your body will thank you, and you’ll start to see change again. I plan on doing the same thing with a new to me routine starting on Monday.

    1. A certain mold…yes, exactly. But we are each individuals, we look different, our bodies react differently to different things. Do what works for ourselves, right?

  6. Jo…I love you. I wanted to start with that. Just ’cause.

    I’m so glad that you pointed out that you understood the margin of error when it comes to measuring body composition. If it’s done by calipers, it’s generally + or – 4%. I’m assuming this is how it was done. (Did I just use something I learned from school!? I think I did.)

    What I love most about this post is even though you’re showing you had one of THOSE moments (ah, like me…), you are also completely picking yourself back up and dusting yourself off. I don’t think anyone in this world ever has a life full of positive, accepting, confident days. We all freak out. We all get bummed. (Shoot…I feel like the ones we always consider as having “perfect bodies” freak out more than us. ;)) I also love that you’re aware of how far you’ve come and that your body is doing well with what you LOVE to do. I say do whatever you feel is right for you…which is something you’ve learned to do best. 🙂

    1. And I love you too! ❤ I am glad you liked this post. To be honest, I want to tear it down and start over, because today, I feel differently. Again. I feel better. I feel like the body fat test was wrong (and even if it was right, eff it!) as it was done on a scale, not with calipers or anything more accurate. But I am dusting myself off and looking in the mirror and liking what i see!

  7. And this is why I don’t look at numbers. I just want to be comfortable with me. Right now…there’s no way I would be comfortable. IN fact, much of the time I’m downright uncomfortable as my body undergoes all these changes. And I’m struggling to maintain my exercise routine despite being constantly out of breath. It’s normal during pregnancy, but so frustrating. It makes me feel more out of shape than I am. *sigh* Coping.

    I will have the rest of my life to get into shape. See, I’m patient. Now you. 😉

    1. Patient. Yes, not one of my finer qualities 😉 And numbers…suck. Plain and simple. I’m done thinking about them. What I see is what matters, and how I feel, right?

  8. I get stuck on a number too, but then I have to remind myself that of what my goal is – what am I training for and that what I eat and the workouts that I do are tailored for that specific goal which is not always about having the lowest number on the scale. I like the adding one more strength training session to your regime. A lot of people don’t do it, but I think it so, so beneficial. It will help change your body composition which is something I have been placing more importance on vs just weight.

    1. Remind myself of what my goal is…YES! Such a good point Naomi. I am really feeling better about it now and trying not to focus too much on numbers. As hard as it is!

  9. We know I’m catching up on my Reader late in the game. There’s an interesting theme to your October post (fear as a motivator…numbers as a challenge…spinning the negatives into eventual positives). Very powerful! I’m having a really hard time with the weight piece. I despise how I look after chemo. I was the same weight for 3 years. And, then chemo and steroids changed everything. My weight hasn’t changed since March since my metabolism is all messed up from all the drugs. It makes me so mad.

    1. See, the fact that you are catching up and drawing these conclusions…so helpful for me, in retrospect. As for you, I completely feel for you, weight is a VERY frustrating thing and is hard to step away from sometimes and see the little progress points, no matter if that doesn’t correlate with weight lost or not. It’s a road you are traveling towards the way you want to look again that matters, and that you are able to be back to that road that is so so great. Hang in there with it! And I think you look fantastic!

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