I blew it.

Halfway through the 300 swings a day Kettlebell Challenge, I quit. 

I was strong at the start, and posted lots of videos. It was fun! But things changed. And it wasn’t fun anymore. It was downright painful. And I quit. 

But, instead of disappearing from the group and hoping nobody notices my absence, I decided to be courageous and show up. Not with videos of myself swinging a kettlebell, but with an honest reflection of what happened and what I learned when I made a conscious decision to quit the 300 Swings Challenge.

As a personal trainer, I am embarrassed at my lack of follow through. I am ashamed of giving up. I am worried you will be disappointed in me. I am scared of being seen as a flake, or as lacking integrity. I’m nervous about losing respect. My fears make me want to run and hide under one of my dusty kettlebells.

But here’s the thing. All my fears about how you might judge me are ACTUALLY fears about judging myself. And that was worth an investigation.

There have been times in my life when pushing through was the right decision; when I felt weighed down by stressful situations and used working out to cope. Heavy deadlifting helped me deal with an abusive relationship. Distance running helped me keep my head on straight when a past business and my marriage were falling apart simultaneously. 

Life is going to happen, and it’s up to me how to respond. And it turns out that swinging kettlebells mid-August only compounded the stress I was under and made it worse. I felt vulnerable, sensitive, and fragile from some recent loss and major life changes. For me, swinging a kettlebell isn’t gentle; it takes an opposite type of energy, and I just didn’t have it in me. So I made a conscious decision to be gentle with myself; to exercise intuitively in order to support myself and provide myself with an appropriate space for some much needed emotional healing. 

However, if I’m not pushing, I feel like I’m slacking, and that’s a problem. It leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy. It makes me want to wash down a couple vicodin with a bottle of wine. As tempting as it is to cope via destructive behavior and false pleasures, I haven’t gone that route. Instead, I ask God to help me, and to show me the way. His way.

Sobriety, long walks, mountain hikes, and Crossfit classes with friends have replaced the thousands of kettlebell swings I opted out of. There’s still a twinge of guilt, but I’m trying to replace that with acceptance and compassion. Because if I can accept imperfection in myself, then I can accept it in others. And there is so much value in that. I like to think that the leader of this group, Pat Flynn, might even call it a “noble pursuit.”

I’ve deserted my kettlebells (for now), but I’m still here, cheering you all on to the finish. I love this community. Strong ON!