What "After" Looks Like

I went to the gym today.


It’s been a while.   And I always feel a little dread when I know a workout is going to be hard.   But I went.   AGAIN. 

And even though I haven’t been in a while it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t go back.   That even though I have gained a little or lost a little or whatever, that no matter what, no matter how long has passed, no matter how much I know it might suck, I ALWAYS go back.

And  I had a little light bulb moment that has been brewing in my head for a while.

I belong to a great gym.   Anytime Fitness in Liberty is awesome.   I love the staff, my trainer who I have been with for several YEARS is there and he rocks.   I have friends I can always count on for a hello when I am there…..   It’s great.   And I have very little to complain about except this.

Before and Afters.  

Corporate gyms always post the before and afters of their “success” stories to motivate people, and lately I have seen on their pages the “share your story” or “how did you succeed” stories and it has really gotten me down.   I don’t have that perfect “after” photo to share.   I have worked and worked, and lost and gained, and broken bones, and torn things, and sweat my BUTT off, done a half marathon, and still the struggle remains.   And what the gym industry is showing me through their campaign is that unless I am a perfect size 6, they may not care quite as much about my story because it’s not as glossy and sexy as losing 100 pounds and competing in my first body building contest.   I haven’t cured myself of diabetes, or anything dramatic.   And sometimes when I’m feeling low, I look at that and feel like somehow all the lifestyle changes I have made aren’t important if I don’t have a miraculous makeover to show for it.

But my story counts. 

My story is important.

And I have an “after” too.

You see, my “after” isn’t a picture.   It’s a part of my life.   If you look at me, there are things that are different, my hair is longer (and greyer), I have a few more wrinkles, but my weight hasn’t changed a lot.   My “after” isn’t something you can necessarily see.  

My “after” may look very similar to my “before” from a physical standpoint, but what has changed is the place that health and fitness sits in my life.  

Because NOW I would never dream of quitting.  

I have been consistently exercising since 2008 when I started this journey, and now I would never even entertain the thought of NOT going back to the gym, no matter how long it has been.   It’s become part of who I am, and part of what makes me feel good as a person.   

That’s my after.   

That’s the change I have made.   And it’s just as valuable, even IF it’s  not as marketable.  J

I am by NO MEANS taking anything from those amazing transformation pictures.   I know folks who have been featured and their stories are nothing short of inspiring.   I read them sometimes to motivate myself.  

I just think it’s important that people understand that that isn’t the ONLY form of success.  

Sometimes it’s a little less noticeable, but not at all less admirable or important.   I proved that to myself today as my trainer kicked my butt.   I won’t quit.   Ever.   And that’s something to be really proud of.

It may not look like much, but the change has been immense.


  1. Oh I love this. And I think you should submit yours just so those before and afters can avoid shame when they have a downslide

  2. What inspiration! I am planning on running my first half marathon this year. Do you have any recommendations for training? I would love to hear them. :)

    I've been on my journey for 5+ years. I've lost 50 lbs but like you said I include fitness in my life and that's the real transformation. I post a lot of motivation on my blog (and social media) if you would like to check it out.



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