IT Band Stretches and Photos

IT band pain is a topic I am quite well versed in (unfortunately…) and so I wanted to share some of my favorite stretches. Here are six things I try to do several times a week. My IT band is currently behaving, but that can change so quickly, so I choose to be proactive. I hope these IT band stretches help some of you who have been struggling!

IT Band Stretches:

Stretch 1: If your RIGHT IT band is the problem, stand with your right foot crossed behind your left and lean towards your left with either your arm in the air or your hands on your hips. Hold for 15-20 seconds, repeat. (follow this rule for all stretches mentioned)

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Stretch 2: If your LEFT IT band is the problem, sit on the floor with your right leg straight. cross your left leg over your right, and twist your body to the left, pushing against your left leg for resistance.

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Stretch 3: Yoga has really helped me, especially the pigeon pose. If your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, put your right leg underneath your body with your left leg out straight behind you. use your arms to balance, and try to sink down as far as you can. Hurts so good! (By the way, I am finally getting slightly visible triceps, which is hard for my long muscles, yay!)

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Stretch 4: Find something sturdy you can lean against, and put your hands on it. if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, use your left leg as the stabilizer leg, and slide your right leg out to the left behind your left leg and push/sink as far as you can.

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Stretch 5: this involves a Foam Roller (and if you have IT band pain you DEFINITELY should own one of these anyway!) Lay your hip/leg on the side of the pain, put your other leg out in front to stabilize, and ROLL until you find a sore spot, then sit on that spot for several seconds.

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Stretch 6: lay on the floor on your left side if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you. Put your right leg behind your body and hold your foot. Put your left foot/heel by your right knee, you should feel a deep stretch.

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A few key things to keep in mind if you are suffering with IT band pain and looking to do IT band stretches. (This is based on my own personal experience, if you are having pain go see a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.)

1.) REST. I took 6 full weeks off of running when mine was at it’s worst. It won’t get better if you keep running through the pain. Trust me on this, I tried, and it wasn’t until I took some time off that I truly felt better.

2.) Foam roll like it’s your job. It hurts, it sucks, but it will help loosen you up. Or, be proactive and use it a few times a week to keep problems at bay. A tennis ball works, too.

3.) Ice. Icing helped alleviate my swelling, especially at first when I was not being smart and was still running.

4.) Massage. I know actual sports massages are expensive, but if you can swing it, do it.

5.) Of course, stretch. A good stretching routine is something you should be doing anyway! (As I look in the mirror and tell myself…)

6.) Use resistance bands. < —- These are the resistance bands I personally use to help strengthen my hips and glutes to prevent a flare up from occurring again. They are inexpensive and totally worth it! I use them while I watch TV.

If you are looking for a way to track your daily fitness routine and goals, check out my FREE set of printables! 

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QOTD: Have you ever suffered with IT band pain? Do you do IT band stretches? Any other helpful hints you can think of?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links

10 Tips for Running in the Heat

As the weather warms up, it’s wise to take a few minutes to think about how this will change your runs. If you don’t plan ahead, you may be setting yourself up for failure (or heat stroke!) so be careful and make sure you are prepared. Here are my best tips for running in the heat.

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1.) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Also, for really long runs, I reapply after an hour.

2.) Wear a running hat or visor. I always feel so much cooler not having the sun on my face. Plus it will help fight against wrinkles and sun damage.

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3.)Hydrate ahead of time, and bring water with you. I have a small insulated cooler I pack my drinks in with an ice pack so I can grab them at the car as needed. I also like Gatorade because I sweat a lot and need to replace some electrolytes. Nuun and coconut water will do the trick as well.
4.) Wear loose fitting moisture wicking fabrics. Cotton is never your friend as a runner, but particularly when you are sweating a lot. Running Skirts actually has a tank top that cools you down as you sweat. It’s awesome! It’s called the “keep it chill” racerback.

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5.) Try to run early in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. Between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is when the suns rays are the worst. It was still be very warm but when the sun is down it feels nicer!

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6.) Pace yourself. Don’t expect to have an awesome training run in which you PR at noon in July. Stop or slow down if you need to. Be realistic about your expectations!
7.) This goes with number 6, listen to your body! If you start to feel overheated or dizzy/lightheaded, walk, or find some shade and take a break/sit down. One run is not worth your health.

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8.) If you must run in the heat of the day, run shorter distances or use these days for easy runs.

9.) Put a wet washcloth in the freezer, then carry it with you on your run. it will keep you nice and cool if you put it on your neck.

10.) Keep drinking water after your run. Sometimes if I don’t drink enough during a really hot run, I get a bad headache and am more exhausted later in the day. Be sure to take care of your body AFTER you run, and not just during!

QOTD: Any tips I forgot for running in the heat? What has helped you?

Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney World. When I tell some of my friends this (especially those with small children), they look at like I’m crazy. Why would I want to spend my adult only time with a bunch of kids? That’s when I get to explain our “Disney style”, and how it’s very different than a trip would look with little ones (I’m gearing myself up mentally for how different things will be when we take Emma Kate at the end of the year!)

So, here are my top five tips for an adults only Disney trip, and maybe you will then see why we find our time in Disney so relaxing and enjoyable.

1.) Go deluxe: I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it (go at a cheaper time of year, book with me so I can help you find discounts, etc.) I recommend staying at a deluxe resort, or somewhere they have luxury apartments for expats, and if you save lots of pennies, splurge on a club level stay. I have stayed club level at all the Disney resorts except Yacht club, and it is truly a special treat. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you plan to jump up every morning, grab breakfast at the park, and stay gone until bedtime, but if you want to enjoy Disney at a leisurely pace, it’s the way to go. (Think: continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, wine and appetizers in the evenings, cordials and desserts at night.) Plus a lounge for you to sit in and read a book, chat with family members, or simply use it as a meeting spot.

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Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

2.) Less park days: Here is where you can actually save some money. If you are going for a week, only get 4-5 days of park tickets and spend your other days doing things around your resort or even visiting the other resorts on property. There is plenty to do, which leads me to the next tip…

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3.) Beyond the Theme Parks: Since you have a couple of “free days” with no park tickets, take time to explore some of the lesser known Disney fun such as Disney Springs, miniature golf, water parks, going fishing or parasailing, or enjoy tea at the Grand Floridian. I actually wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and here.

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4.) Sit on a bench: I know this sounds silly, but to this day it is one of my favorite things to do in Disney. People watching. I love grabbing Starbucks and finding a bench and just watching the crowds go by, while soaking up the Disney atmosphere. I feel like so many people rush from one ride to the next, that they don’t always take the time to really just soak in the fact that they are in Disney World! Stop and take a break and just be for a little while on your next trip.

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5.) Eat. A lot: I know everyone eats more on vacation, but when you are traveling with small kids, you typically don’t eat at fancy table service restaurants eating four course meals. This is your chance to enjoy some of the nicer restaurants, just taking your time and enjoying your vacation. Some of my favorites are: California Grill, Narcoossees, Yachtsman steakhouse, and Artist Point. Be sure to schedule in a lot of time to sit and eat nice dinners, or even nice breakfasts and lunches, too! Whatever you want, it’s your vacation!

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These are just some of my tips for planning an adults only WDW vacation. The key is to relax and enjoy without feeling like you need to be somewhere every five minutes. That doesn’t sound very relaxing!

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is your favorite tip for a relaxing Disney vacation?

How To Start a Blog: FREE E-Course

Good morning! How is everyone today? Before I get going on how super excited I am to launch my very first email course (and it’s completely free!), I want to thank those of you that signed up for my free fitness and goal tracking printables. I am new to this e-mail list thing, and I wanted to do something simple yet fun and helpful to YOU to see what kind of traction I would get, and I was very pleased with my results! Also, a huge thank you to those of you that responded to the initial newsletter question. I am still reading them and decided to respond to each of you, but it may take me a few days so hang tight. There is a common theme among the responses I have gotten so far, so I can’t wait to share with each one of you.

Anyway, the free printables were really just an introduction to something I have been wanting to offer for awhile, and that is a free e-course. Blog posts packed with information are great, but some topics are just too big to put into a single post, and could get really overwhelming.

I have truly enjoyed the few e-courses I have participated in, and thought to myself “hey, I can do that!” Basically if you choose to sign up you will be getting a series of five days worth of emails on a topic near and dear to my heart, which is starting a blog.

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I wrote a blog post about three years ago with tips on starting your own blog, and to this day it is one of my number one most read posts of all time. (All time being 6.5 years, but that’s still a long time!) The post was decent, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface and left a lot of readers hanging on exactly how to go about doing the things I talked about in my blog post. Enter my e-course!

I am SO excited to be offering this to my awesome readers. I know there are a bunch of you out there who would love to start a blog (and would be great at it!) but have no idea where to begin. It can be scary and overwhelming, but it is totally doable. Back when I started blogging, I had no help and just learned as I went.  I want to help you to not make the same mistakes I did, and I want to simplify the process for you. Also, if you already have a blog, you may still enjoy the course because in the last couple days of it, I give some tips and tricks that could be helpful to you.

Please don’t waste months trying to figure things out on your own when I have already done the hard work for you. Sign up for my five day free e-course and get to blogging. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! You can sign up by clicking the photo above or by clicking this link.

QOTD: Have you ever taken an e-course? What was the topic?

PS: You can still sign up to get the free fitness and goal tracking printables, you didn’t miss out!

Running on the Treadmill Without Losing Your Mind

I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I tend to go through phases, and luckily for me I am currently in a “love” phase. Maybe it’s because it’s getting hot outside, or maybe because I am finally seeing some speed and progress because of my indoor adventures, but whatever the reason, it has been working for me lately.

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I really run well in hot humid weather (but really, who does?), and Bobby doesn’t like me running out on the highway alone, so I have been logging a lot more gym miles this spring. Here you will find my best tips for treadmill running without losing your mind. Trust me, it cane be done without you wanting to throw a kettle bell through the gym window, and the results will be well worth it.

1.) Watch TV: I know this is not possible in all cases, but if you have a treadmill at home and can position it in front of a TV, or watch one at the gym, it can really help pass the time. I am lucky in that each treadmill at my gym has their own TV, so I can plug my headphones in and watch whatever I want. I tend to long run best when a good movie is on, so I try to schedule my time when I know something worth watching is going to be on. Also, streaming movies on Hulu or Netflix can help pass the time, and you may not WANT to stop running!

2.) Intervals: The great thing about a treadmill is controlled speed. I sometimes spend my time playing games with intervals. For example, warm up, run five minutes at a 6.0, the 2 minutes at a 7.0, etc. etc. It makes the time go by a lot faster constantly changing up your speed and keeping your mind off of the drudgery.

3.) Race the person next to you: Come on, you know you do it too. If there is someone next to me going just a little faster or farther than me, I pretend like we are racing. I tell no lies. My gym stays pretty busy so there is always someone new to “race!”

4.) Distract yourself: This could mean a lot of things. I sometimes start thinking about all the things I have coming up that I need to do, things to get at the store, etc. I have heard of people planning meals for the week, coming up with business proposals, or drafting e-mails in their head while they run to pass the time. I also like to pray when I run.

5.) Work on your form: When I get tired, I tend to lose my running form. My shoulders slump, my feet drag, my breathing is erratic, and I expend more energy than necessary. Treadmill running is a great time to work on your form, and tweak those minor issues that can make a big difference in time and injury prevention.

6.) Hills, hills, hills: This is especially good if you live in a flat area. Being able to raise and lower your incline on command is a great way to train for a hilly race or to work on your endurance and leg strength. It will make flat running seem like a piece of cake!

*A huge thank you to those who signed up for my newsletter + free printables yesterday, and especially to those who responded to the first newsletter by answering the question in it. I so appreciate those that shared! It’s not too late, you can still sign up and get your goal and fitness tracking printables!

QOTD: What do you do to pass the time on the treadmill? What is the longest you have ever run on a treadmill, I have run 16 miles!

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List

It’s almost time! The runDisney Princess Half Marathon is upon us! Since I planned this trip so last minute, it feels like it was snuck up on me so, so quickly. After only running the half marathon last year, I am so excited to be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge again.

runDisney Princess packing list printable

I started thinking yesterday that there are a lot of things to remember to pack for the race itself, so I started making a list, and realized I wanted to share it with all of you, too. I started typing it out, but then decided it would be fun to make it a printable so you can print it off, and check off the boxes as you go. I also left a section for notes where you can add things I did not put on the list that may be specific to you, so have fun and good luck! I hope to see some of you in Walt Disney World over the weekend! I arrive Friday and will be at the expo that afternoon, and am staying in WDW until Tuesday morning. The weather is looking promising, it’s sure to be a great time!

Click on the words or photo below to go straight to the printable.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List Printable:

runDisney Princess half marathon packing list

I hope my Princess half marathon packing list has helped you!

QOTD: What would you add to this packing list? Will you be at Princess?

Having a Training Plan

I have discussed training plans a couple of times on my blog lately as we move into the fall season, so these tips from Jeff Galloway came at a great time! I hope you find them as helpful as I did.

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WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN? When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation. Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual, tend to improve more, with less injury risk.
WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice. This leads to confusion and more aches and pains. The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS:

1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.
WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER? The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal. Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts. To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.
EVERY OTHER DAY! Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day. This allows for the “weak links” to heal. The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available. Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example,Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat. So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.
DOES VARIETY HELP? Changing things a bit can improve motivation. You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit. Hill runs build strength. Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form. Long runs produce stamina and endurance.

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS? Take it easy on these days. Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.
SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY. Not Recommended! It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves. While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.

IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation. Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience more burnout and injury.

QOTD: Anything you would add to this?

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  • Jeff Galloway 13.1 – Sunday, Dec. 13th
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*As a Jeff Galloway blogger I receive these tips to share with my readers.

Celebrating Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

My mom turns 60 on Christmas day. Her one wish was to have a fun girls trip in Walt Disney World. Since her birthday falls on the day it does, she has NEVER gotten a lot of”” “hoopla” for her birthday. Sure we know better than to wrap her birthday gifts in Christmas paper, and not get her a red and green cake, but let’s face it, everyone is so busy with the holidays it’s hard to focus on a birthday other than that of baby Jesus!

Anyway, when she told me she really wanted a quick girls trip to Disney to celebrate her birthday, I sprang into action to plan for the most FUN birthday bash ever. After all, she totally deserves it as the most selfless giving person ever! When I started making our October plans and doing some research, I got frustrated trying to think of things and having to hop all over the internet to find different things, so I thought I would come up with a list of fun birthday things to do in Walt Disney World for adults (kids at heart, right?) Hopefully this list will be helpful to some people looking for fun ways to celebrate!

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1.) Mark your reservations: Be sure when you book your vacation that you mention there is a celebration going on. That way, it can be marked on your resort reservation and your dining reservations. There is no guarantee, but resorts and restaurants have been known to sprinkle a little pixie dust for birthday guests.

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2.) Birthday button (and hat, shirt, etc): Stop by city hall at the Magic Kingdom (or at guest relations at other parks) or ask when you check into your Disney resort for a birthday button. Wear it with pride and watch the magic happen! Cast members and guests alike will tell you happy birthday and make you feel extra special. The button is a freebie, but if you want to pay for a little something extra, you can purchase a birthday ear hat or have a shirt made at Downtown Disney letting everyone know it is your birthday.

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3.) Cake: Let me tell you, Disney makes some AMAZING cakes. You can call the cake hotline and have a customize cake made and delivered to your resort or at certain restaurants around property. I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of several cakes throughout the years thanks to my fellow cake fiend Jen, and they are so worth it, and such a fun surprise!

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4.) Spa treatment: There is a spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort, and also at Saratoga Springs resort. Jen and I actually had pedicures done on my birthday one year, and it was so fun! They have a full spa menu if you are looking for some extra pampering.

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5.) Fireworks dessert party: Disney knows how to light up the night sky, and they have been wise enough to pair their amazing fireworks with dessert parties, fireworks cruises, and the most recent addition, the Ferrytale Fireworks dessert cruise during Wishes. So many fun things to choose from (book well in advance for these events!)

6.) Guided Tour: There are a plethora of tours around Disney property, ranging from a behind the scenes Magic Kingdom tour, to a wild Africa trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think most people would be plenty excited to get to take part in a special tour on their special day.

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7.) Recreation: A lot of people don’t realize there is so much more to do at Walt Disney World than go to the parks. A birthday is a perfect occasion to do something special. Some examples are: play a round of golf, rent a boat at one of the many marinas, parasail, rent a surrey bike, or take a horse drawn carriage ride.

QOTD: Have you ever celebrated your birthday in Walt Disney World? What did you do?

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Run

Let’s be real here. There are some days that I wake up and the last thing I want to do is go for a run. I have a million excuses I have used, ranging from the weather to a busy schedule to not feeling well. However, nine times out of ten, my excuses are not legitimate, and I just need a little push to get out the door. Below are eight ways to motivate yourself to run that have helped me over the years when I am having a hard time getting motivated to run for whatever reason.

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1.) Buy some new gear: Running in new shoes or wearing cute new capris always makes me feel lighter, faster, and happy. Try wearing something new and see if it motivates you to get out the door.

2.) Find a new route: I have the attention span of a gnat. I am constantly jumping from thing to thing, so as you can imagine, running on the same roads over and over again gets really boring to me. If I know I am going to be bored, it is so much harder for me to lace up for a long run, so I try to pick different neighborhoods to run in to keep things interesting.

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3.) Start a training plan: If I am running aimlessly without a goal in mind, I will quickly lose focus and purpose. I am not one of those people that can just go out and run thee miles four times a week with no end goal. Finding a training plan where I am running different distances and speeds every time helps to keep me form slacking.

4.) Sign up for a Race: I don’t like to waste money. If I pay for a race, gosh darn it, I’m going to run it, so I may as well train for it.

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5.) Join a running club: This has been a more recent development for me, and I have done several runs with our local Fleet Feet. It keeps things interesting, and the idea of prizes and free drinks at the end of a run is very motivating!

6.) Tell everyone: I love this one, because it is the whole reason my blog got started! I started it as an online accountability journal while I was getting ready for my first half marathon. I knew if I put it “out there” on the internet that I was running a race, I would have to actually train!

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7.) Reward yourself: I personally don’t like using food related rewards, but something fun like a pedicure or a new running top could be a way to reward yourself for sticking with your training plan for a week or a month. Try it!

8.) Learn about yourself: Sometimes I “think” I know myself, but turns out I was wrong or that my preferences have changed. Are you hating your runs because you are trying to do them all at night, but you are a morning person? Try to learn about yourself and see what the underlying problem is as to why you don’t want to go on an individual run and see if it’s something you can fix or change.

QOTD: What is your best tip for motivating yourself to run?

Getting Over Gym Fear

A lot of people really don’t like the gym, but I’m sure you already knew that. I totally get it. A lot of gyms can be intimidating, especially if they are large, or full of super star looking athletes throwing weights around and grunting loudly (not knocking superstar weightlifters, but you have to see how it can be intimidating to some folks), or are filled with perfect looking young women who don’t look like they have an ounce of fat on them, and are always in the most perfect gym outfits.

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My parents are some of those folks. They are 60, and want to stay fit but don’t fit in with heavy lifters, or young moms in spandex shorts taking classes or playing tennis (again, nothing wrong with those things, but it intimidates a lot of people!) They used to go to a very large, fancy country club type health club simply for convenience (it’s right across the street from their house), but they slowly started going less and less because they just didn’t feel comfortable working out there. This made me really sad, and I am really glad my parents did some research and found the type of gym that works for them.

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That’s the great thing about the gym industry and it’s growth right now, there are so many options! Something for everyone! There are 24 hour gyms, country club type gyms, crossfit boxes, Koko fit club (where my parents go) among other things. So what if you don’t have a lot of options? What if you have one gym to go to, and you just have to make the best of the situation, then what? Below are some of my best tips for getting over any fear or anxiety you may have about going to your gym.

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1.) Schedule some time with a trainer: One of the biggest reasons people don’t use machines at the gym is because they don’t know how to use them and don’t want to look stupid if they can’t figure something out, or are using a machine wrong (this used to be me before I started strength training!) A lot of gyms will give you a free hour with a trainer or employee to get you familiar with all the different machines, and help you to know how much weight you should use, and how many reps you should do. This is a great resource!

2.) Go with a friend: When I first started lifting, I would go with my husband and he would help me get going. Not being there alone really helped to build my confidence in the beginning.

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3.) Avoid busy times: Early in the morning and after work are very busy times for gyms. You may not have a choice, but if you do, try to go in an off peak time so there will be less people in the gym to make you feel awkward.

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4.) Mentally prepare yourself: Remind yourself that there are probably other people nervous to be at the gym, too. Remember that most likely no one will ever even know you are having any anxiety about being there. Also, most people are so busy and into their own workouts that they don’t even notice other people (I don’t notice most people at the gym, I’m in the zone!)

5.) Suck it up: You have to decide what is more important to you. If getting to the gym is your top priority, then you just have to do it. Most likely, the more you go the more comfortable you will become and soon your fears will be gone. Take a step out of your comfort zone and just do it, one time. The second time should be easier, so it’s just taking that first step. You can do it!

QOTD: Do you like going to the gym? Were you ever intimidated by going?