My Fitness Journey + Where I’m at Today

Lifestyle blogger Mollie Sheperdson shares her fitness journey and where she's at now

First of all, before I start this post, I want to say that I was SO excited about the response I got from ya’ll on incorporating fitness into the blog. I’m still figuring out just how to do it – I’m no fitness expert, so I think the best way for me to speak about working out is just sharing my experiences! I thought I would start from the beginning – I have a long standing love of athletics. Hopefully after reading this you have a better idea of where I’m at and what kinds of fitness content you can expect from me!

SHOP MY FITNESS FAVORITES

When I was younger I tried everything – basketball, soccer, tennis, ballet. I did it all! I think it’s so important to let your kids try any sport they want; It helps them learn what they like and what they don’t! I quickly discovered that my hand-eye coordination was not great terrible, so basketball and any other throwing sport was out. I learned to swim at a young age, and LOVED being in the water. I started swimming competitively at age 5, and it wasn’t long before that was the only sport I wanted to continue. I swam year round for 13 years, all the way through my senior year of high school. I always get asked why I didn’t continue the sport in college and the answer is simple – I wasn’t good enough. At least not for a Big 10 school, and I refused to go anywhere besides Wisconsin or Minnesota (I ended up at Minnesota BTW!).

When I got to college, I quickly realized that I needed to find another way to stay fit –  between late night tacos at the dorm and drinking cheap beer, I started feeling gross. The University of Minnesota has a great fitness center, and it was really close to the dorms. This was so convenient for me during my Freshman year, but to be honest I didn’t notice much change in my body or how I felt. Going from having swim practices with a coach to working out in a gym on my own was quite the change; I had NO idea what to do and fell victim to the elliptical. Listen, if you love the elliptical and it works for you, that’s amazing! However, for me it just doesn’t work and I haven’t stepped foot on one in years. I think it’s because it allows me to be lazy #realtalk. I would bring a magazine and barely break a sweat – no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight!

The summer after my sophomore year I moved to NYC for a summer internship. I didn’t want to join a gym for just 3 months (or pay the astronomical gym prices!), and the building I was staying in didn’t have a fitness center. Yet again I found myself needing to find a new way to stay fit. I turned to running, mainly because it was free, I could do it outside, and it allowed me to explore New York! Those who were close to me couldn’t believe it – I HATED running. However, by the end of the summer I found myself looking forward to my evening jogs; I had even run my first 5k in Central Park! I was totally hooked, and for the first time I started to lose my “freshman 15”. I continued running throughout college, and even ran my first half marathon! Since then, I’ve run about 10 half marathons, as well as a full marathon (the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis) in October 2014.

Even with all of that running, I did hit a plateau. My body just wasn’t changing anymore, no matter how much I ran. I was logging 30+ miles a week for 3 months straight while training for my marathon and nothing changed. I had heard a lot about HIIT workouts, and after I ran the marathon I was ready to shake up my routine a bit. I joined Equinox here in Manhattan and quickly fell in love with their Precision Running class (it’s a high intensity interval running class on a treadmill, taught by professional running coaches). I started doing it 2x a week, coupled with barre classes at Pure Barre and a long outdoor run on the weekends. Before I knew it, I was the smallest I had ever been, even during my time as a swimmer! More importantly than that, I felt amazing. My race time improved dramatically as well. I crushed my previous half marathon PR of 1:49 by 7 minutes, and brought it down to 1:42!! I can’t say enough great things about HIIT or how effective it is.

Fast forward to today, about 2 years after running that half marathon PR, and I’ve definitely slacked a bit since then. And it’s no coincidence that my fall out happened about the same time as I started A Stylish Side Project (I celebrated my 2 year blogiversary earlier this month). Getting this blog up and running has meant lots of late nights and skipped workouts. I had a hard time finding a good work-life-blog balance, as I was still working full time in corporate retail for the first year of my blog. As I mentioned here, one of my biggest resolutions for 2017 is to get healthy again. I’m excited to get back into running – I’ve already logged 9 miles this week! – and also try new workouts. This morning I’m going to a barre class at Pop Physique and I’m so excited to try it out! Pop Physique is new to NYC so I’m interested to see how the class compares to my beloved Pure Barre. I will definitely report back! If you have any ideas, suggestions, or requests for fitness posts you want to see here on A Stylish Side Project, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send them my way!!

What’s your favorite way to sweat? Have any of you tried Pop Physique before? I would love to hear about each and every one of your fitness journeys!

SHOP MY FITNESS FAVORITES

xx Mollie

** A special thank you to Pop Physique for partnering on this post. **

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17 thoughts on “My Fitness Journey + Where I’m at Today

  1. Elle

    Such a great post lady! I didn’t know you went to University of Minnesota! We will have to chat. I lived there for about 2 years working for a company (you can probably guess which one) up there! I am a loyal fan of Pure Barre and do it all throughout the week but I need to find something to get that cardio aspect (other than Soul Cycle and Flywheel.. getting a little to pricey). I am getting more into running and looking forward to the warmer months to get my butt out the door and run. Equinox is great and I am planning on joining later this year!
    xo elle // https://splashofpreppy.com

    Reply
    1. Mollie | A Stylish Side Project Post author

      Hi Elle – No way!! Minneapolis is the best, it will always have a special place in my heart! NYC hasn’t been too cold lately though, I’ve been able to run outside all month! Plus it’s an excuse to get some cute winter work out gear 😉 You will love Equinox though, definitely worth the cost of membership!

      xx Mollie

      Reply
  2. Nataly

    I love those workout pants! This is such a great post. I have been slacking on working out lately and just now got back in the swing of things. Pilates is my favorite type of workout right now.

    xo, Nataly

    Reply
    1. Mollie | A Stylish Side Project Post author

      I looked into joining Blink as well but there weren’t any locations near my apartment! Equinox is right across the street from my apartment and I still struggled to go lol. Right now I’m not a member of any gym, I’m taking advantage of our mild winter weather and running outside!

      xx Mollie

      Reply
  3. Nadina

    I’m just starting to run again, like you! Even though I’ve never done a marathon or anything similar I felt related. Thanks for this post.

    Reply
  4. Bella

    Such a great share! I really need to get back into my workout routine I honestly just feel so crappy not running everyday I should get back into asap!

    Reply

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