After turning 40, I knew that it was going to be time to start getting serious about working out. Being a naturally thin person for most of my adult life, I was really able to keep my weight down, and a pretty decent amount of muscle tone, even though I wasn’t working out very regularly. I’ve never cared for getting sweaty, and 18would rather spend my time window-shopping or writing or crafting. But after hitting the 4 decade milestone, I noticed that my pants started getting a little tighter, that muffin-top got more pronounced, and generally I just didn’t feel as tight anymore.

Being that I am not very athletic – and never have been – the idea of just dropping in at a gym and starting a program gave me some serious anxiety. My biggest fear is that people would be staring at me, noticing that I don’t know what the heck I am doing. My head tells me that they probably wouldn’t even care, but something about stepping into a gym turns me into an insecure teenager, convinced that all eyes are on me. So instead, I decided to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, to get me started and so I could try and shake those dreaded insecurities.

That first day, I felt a bit like a fish out of water. I have to say, that the trainer – also a woman of similar age – was very kind to me. She created a plan for me that was challenging, but not overkill. I started slow, but quickly gained momentum in a few areas over the next coming months. I started to focus on what I could do, rather than how my body looks, and stopped comparing myself to my own ideal of what I used to be. I can’t go as far as to say I became addicted to exercise, but I did find a few things that have helped me to find joy in my workout sessions.

Cute Workout Clothes

Because I never was a workout girl, I didn’t really have any appropriate workout clothes other than an old pair of Lululemon’s that I had been wearing for years. Coupled with a ratty old t-shirt, it wasn’t exactly inspiring! So I decided that I wanted to amp up my style for the gym, and you know, I think it actually empowered me to do better. Galaxy themed workout pants paired with a cute slogan tee makes me feel like I’m showing off my best assets, while also showing off my colourful personality. Somehow a cute pair of pants reflected in the mirror takes away that feeling of being nervous in the gym.

A Comfy Sports Bra

As my weight has gone up over the years, so has the size of my bust. Those first few weeks, working out in a regular bra demonstrated to me that a bouncing bosom is painful and distracting from the task at hand. I’ve purchased a few sports bras, some more expensive and some from department stores, and both work equally as well. When I’m not distressing over my bouncing bust, I can concentrate more on the exercises.

A Great Playlist

Sometimes we aren’t the first into the gym, and so the music playing inside has already been chosen by another member. While I like listening to classic rock, it’s not as inspirational to me when I am working out. I have to find joy in the process, or it’s easy for me to make excuses not to return. A good 80’s or 90’s dance mix, keeps me singing along, and therefore I forget that I am actually a couch potato at heart and I can get my groove on while exercising.


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In order to stay consistent with any goal, I have to make it a habit, and the only way I can do that is by enjoying it. Finding joy within something that I have never really felt confident doing, has been an unexpected benefit of exercising consistently. And when my trainer says to me “You are looking really strong”, then I know that I must be on the right path.

And seeing my now-toned thighs in those cute galaxy-pants didn’t hurt either!

three essential workout items to keep the joy in your workout

Scarlett Ballantyne

Scarlett Ballantyne is a freelance writer, makeup artist, designer, and business owner. Married with children, she is an active dance-mom of two teenage girls. When she isn’t chauffeuring kids around, she is passionate about photography, cooking healthy meals and Dancing with the Stars. Scarlett’s musings on parenting have been published on Scary Mommy and the Huffington Post Canada. You can also catch her sharing musings, beauty tips, mompreneur advice and photography on her blog,

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