I've been active my entire life.
I was a dancer, an ice skater, a soccer player and a rock climber. At one point, I even got into trapeze.
I've always been athletic, and I've always liked moving, but I would rather die than go to the gym.
It took me a while to understand this about myself.
I switched gyms a million times. I went to the cheap ones and then expensive ones, shelling out $200 a month. I got ClassPass, and I tried memberships at yoga studios.
But, I just could not accept the obvious fact that I hated working out surrounded by other people.
I'd strap on my sneaks and pack up my gym bag, hauling my ass onto the train to the gym.
Then, I'd work out my side-eye on sweaty dudes who always unjustifiably chose the machine directly next to mine when they NEVER had to, and women who somehow looked flawless, even when they were going for "rolling hills" on the exercise bike.
I didn't want my workouts to be filled with interruptions and comparisons, and I wanted to stop guilting myself into fitness.
So, I finally accepted my feelings and decided to stop working out all together.
I wanted to take a break in order to experiment with my wellness routine and see what would happen if I took all the self-punishment out of getting in shape.
About eight months went by, and what do you know? I actually felt like working out again.
After taking some time to focus on what I truly wanted out of my exercises, I came to the realization I just didn't want to get in shape at some corny-ass gymnasium.
I didn't want working out to be a time when I focused on everyone in the gym except myself and my own health. I wanted to stop comparing myself.
So, I downloaded about three different fitness apps on my phone, blasted the music in my apartment and went to town.
The one app I ended up sticking with is Sworkit.
Even though the name is pretty ridiculous, I've been using it to work out for the past three years. I do about 20 minutes Sworkit's workout regimes three to five days a week, all while I watch "Scandal."
I do anything from stretching to strength circuit training, to yoga, and I skip the cardio workouts entirely.
The most effective workouts (for me) are the ones that focus on strength training.
Basically, these workouts include a variety of squats, sit-ups and push-ups, with 30-second breaks in between 2-minute rounds of exercises.
And it's been — to put it simply — just the best.
Not only do I not hate working out anymore, but I'm also in better shape than I've ever been.
I sound like a goddamn commercial now, but I'm even eating whatever I feel like eating, and most importantly, I'm never doing cardio.
The benefit of working out with an app is that it's stress-free, and I sincerely believe that it was the increased levels of stress around going to the gym that made staying in shape so difficult.
At the gym, I was just stressing about what other people were doing and how far along they were in their own fitness journeys.
And if unsolicited Instagram ads have taught me anything, it's that increased stress equals increased cortisol levels, and that leads to belly fat.
But aside from the physical benefits, working out at home (where I'm comfortable) on my own schedule also taught me a valuable psychological lesson.
There's never any need to feel guilty for not doing something I don't feel like doing.
Guilt is not a sustainable, effective way to motivate yourself, and comparing yourself to others won't help you reach your fitness goals.
If there's one right way to go about doing anything, it's to do it because you WANT to, not because you feel like you have to.