On Working Out Through Grief, Another Chapter in My Health & Fitness Journey

It’s been almost three weeks since our beloved Spike Baby passed, and I can confirm that life without Spike is most definitely the worst. In some ways, going through the motions of the day are a little bit easier. I only want to cry every other second rather than every single second. I can be alone in the house now without having a total breakdown. For the most part, though, we feel the void of Spike’s presence in every part of our lives. While grief is a process, it’s never something we “get over”; we simply heal and learn how to live with it. I’m learning every day how my grief for Spike is shaping me.

One thing I’m doing to fill my time is working out more. If you follow me on Instagram, my Stories lately are filled with "sweating the sad away" check-ins and the hashtag #SpikeBabyForever. My fitness journey has many chapters at this point, but turning to my workouts as a means of dealing with grief is one reason I never thought I’d have. 

Namaste'ing the sad away at Modo Yoga

Namaste'ing the sad away at Modo Yoga

When I started my health & fitness journey five years ago, I had all the right things in place - time, community, motivation, some decent work/life balance - to make a real commitment to it. That changed two years ago, and I’m a little embarrassed at how much time I'd spent since then trying to recreate a life with all those same pieces in place.

I was holding onto a perception of what my workout schedule should look like, how I should eat, and worst of all, how I should be looking. I never took account of how much had changed in my life. I’d get so mad at myself for being too busy to work out, gaining weight, or eating badly. The workouts I did do included a lot more variety (and lifting), but I’d get mad when my body started to look different. Add on the stress of wedding planning, and it was a recipe for months of disastrous self-image and self-confidence. 

Sweating the sad away with these beautiful bloggers and the November Project. Just now learning how to love my CrossFit arms.

Sweating the sad away with these beautiful bloggers and the November Project. Just now learning how to love my CrossFit arms.

Only recently have I finally come to terms with what my schedule, my body, and my relationship to health & fitness looks like. I have a husband who loves how I look. I had a wedding to plan. I have a full-time gig and a blog that sometimes make it hard to work out every day. I had Spike, who took priority over everything else in my free time. Sure I wanted to work out like a beast and eat like a bird every day, but I learned how to be okay with just making sure I moved daily and ate consciously. I was just learning to give myself space and grace to enjoy that life that when Spike passed away.

BurnCycle-ing the sad away

BurnCycle-ing the sad away

Now, I work out to fill the time I would have chosen to hang out with Spike instead. I work out for the endorphins, that helps me not feel so sad and desperate for Spike at least for a little while. I work out because I know that even though I’m sad and grieving, I need to take care of my body. I work out so I can have the energy to smile, even when I don’t want to. I work out because it helps me sleep better. I work out so I make conscious choices about what I eat (and to make sure that I eat instead of floating through the day like a zombie.)

Constantly missing my post-workout smoothie & cuddle buddy

Constantly missing my post-workout smoothie & cuddle buddy

I am forever grateful for my Spike Baby. I’m thankful to have so many fitness choices to turn to in this time of grief - but especially for Orangetheory, Modo Yoga, BurnCycle, and SoulCycle. I am also grateful to be on this health & fitness journey, and for a body that has surprised me greatly throughout all of these emotions and life changes. Even with a blanket of sadness wrapped around me, I know that taking care of my body is the best thing I can do.