How a book on habits helped me find a workout program that I LOVE



I read a book on habits when I was on a long flight to California earlier this year. (find the review here) The first half was really interesting, and opened my eyes up to the fact that I am totally an “obliger”. I mean, TOTALLY. To my absolute core this is who I am.

This doesn’t mean people pleaser, as some may think, it basically means that I need to know/believe that something I do or a habit I want to start will affect someone else. The accountability in that fact is what will encourage me to continue a certain habit.

I have never been able to stick with a workout plan. My husband Justin, however, can simply make up his mind to start a plan and stick to it. He is very self-motivated, competitive, and has the willpower in himself to finish what he starts. He did P90X a few years ago and had great success. Here lately, he’s found a workout group called F3 that meets every morning and has really enjoyed that.

Knowing I needed accountability, I turned to Facebook one day with plans to type out a status update pleading with a friend to work out with me/yell at me if I don’t go to the gym. The first post I saw when I logged on was from a friend (whom I’ve gotten to know much better since we sweat together a few times a week at bootcamp) sharing a deal for a certain bootcamp program in the area.

I pretty much clicked over and bought it without much thought, very excited to have someone/something new to kickstart a workout routine for me.

I went to bootcamp the following morning at 5:30a.

I was nervous, but mostly so excited.

The 45 minute class was hard, very hard, but it went by so fast and I felt so, so good about myself when it was over. I was pretty much hooked after that first class.

I went to a few more classes that week, and I was so sore. I was working muscles that hadn’t been workout out since before I was pregnant with David!

The following week I went 4x and knew this was going to be where I continued working out. I told Justin I was quitting our gym, and as soon as my “deal” with this new bootcamp was up, I’d be signing up as a client.

So, now that I’ve had a bit more time and experience with it, I thought I’d share a bit more about why this was so different.

  1. Variety. Each day there is a different work out and I love that it’s always changing. Some days are much harder than others, but each day is a good, sweat-producing workout.
  2. Community. It’s probably the most kind and encouraging group of women I’ve ever been around. There’s a pretty large range in fitness levels, which I love. There aren’t mirrors on the walls. And you’ll likely get a high-five from someone working out next to you during the camp. I love that.

I change up between going to the 5:30a classes, while the boys are still asleep with Justin at home, and then taking them with me to a few mid-morning classes. David does great in childcare, and Luke got used to it really quickly.

Again, that book on habits really taught me a lot about myself. And I know that realization led me to finding this workout program that I’m excited about. I have to admit that I even dread days I know I can’t make it–that’s how committed I already feel to it. I’m so encouraged!

I’m thinking about ringing in my 30th birthday with another sprint triathlon, so I know this will help get me prepped for it!

For some suggestions on my favorite workout gear, check out this post!

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Comments (55)

  1. Tyler says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I feel yah on the need for variety at the gym. I have self diagnosed “workout ADD” and quit my gym a while ago. I now go to a boxing/kickboxing gym where the workouts are 30 hard and sweaty minutes long. I absolutely love it! My husband goes too, although at different times, and it’s fun because it is something we can do together, but not together if that makes sense? (We have a toddler so going together isn’t an option) Keep it up girl, you’re doing awesome!

  2. Candace says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    The Obliger thing is so interesting. I am internally motivated 100%, but I recently started making a huge effort to commit myself to a meditation program – I’ve tried a ton in the past but nothing felt good and important enough to continue. I’d rather spend that 10 mins praying, journaling, etc. But this Headspace app I started made a huge point that research shows if you want to continue being committed to meditation, you have to think of a reason/person OTHER THAN YOURSELF that will benefit from it. I wasn’t convinced since like I said, I’m internally motivated (hence my BeachBody program obsession – hello Hammer & Chisel, I love you)… but you know what, surprisingly, thinking about how being healthier/happier/more patient etc would benefit my kids and husband was super impactful for me. I was shocked! So I’m trucking on with my headspace and the knowledge that even a internally motivated, self-proclaimed bad-ass like myself can be extenally motivated in some instances and it really makes a difference. Blessings to you Kate!

  3. Jessica says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Thank you for sharing posts on the area of fitness in your life! It’s refreshing to see a different side of you/your blog! Keep them coming!

  4. Hannah Brown says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Since your husband goes to F3 have you checked out fia? It’s the female version. Free boot camp workouts!!

    • Kate says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      I had no idea that existed! Good to know!

      • Tricia white says
        Posted May 24, 2016

        I want to know which shorts from lulu do you love? When I clicked on your link 12 pairs of shorts came up!

    • Robin says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      My husband and I are involved with F3 & FiA! You should check it out!

    • Posted May 25, 2016

      Long time reader, never slow down long enough to comment, but I am today! I workout with FiA in Lexington, SC and my hubby does F3 too! You can check it out in your area here
      Misty (aka Triple Play)

  5. Klarissa says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    We should never compare ourselves to anyone, let alone our husbands. Women have to plan workouts around jobs, getting kids to school or wherever else they need to be, getting household things done, etc etc etc. Men only plan around themselves!! It’s a totally different situation!! It is absolutely not a possibility for me to go to a scheduled class. I have found that out. I have tried, it between all the things mentioned above, it doesn’t work. A home workout is about my only option…but that is hard to stay motivated to do. And the fact that I loathe exercise doens’t help either!! I may have to read that book…

    • Alisha says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      I don’t think that is a fair comment. My husband and I split the household/childcare responsibilities 50/50. My husband certainly does not only plan around himself. I am very sorry if this is your reality. We both plan our workouts around everything else we have to do and it is still really hard!

      • Klarissa says
        Posted May 25, 2016

        Yay for you! My husband actually travels most of the time, so he works out in a hotel gym 90% of the time. And you must have it good! 9 out of 10 of the women I talk to experience the same thing as me. So consider yourself extremely lucky.

        • Alisha says
          Posted May 25, 2016

          No, I do not consider myself lucky. It is 2016. Like I said, I am sorry this is your reality. I can see if your husband travels that it would be tough but that is a lot different than saying men only plan around themselves.

    • Andrea says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      Check out Melissa Bender’s channel on youtube. She has great work outs from as little as 10 min to 30 min. Most don’t need a ton of equipment, just body weight. Great for busy people!!!!

      • Klarissa says
        Posted May 25, 2016

        Thanks Andrea!!

  6. Gina says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I use youtube for my workouts! Have many favorite on there–jessicasmithtv, tiffanyroth, makes it easy to at home, I am done with my workouts by 7:00 and it’s free! πŸ™‚

  7. Hannah Brown says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Fia is often in the mornings at the same time your boot camp class is- around 5/5:30 and many of them are moms and/or work full time! It definitely provides variety and community, in my experience.

  8. Kacie M says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    This is how I was when I got addicted to Zumba quite a few years ago. I was having so much fun working out than just getting on a machine and either run/walking, etc. I started with 1 class a week, then moved up to 3, then sometimes 4-5 if I could! I did lose weight and in a fun way.

    I don’t go to as many classes anymore, but still try to get 2-3 classes in a week. They’ve switched instructors a few times and some I just don’t like, which is why I don’t go. This is probably why I’ve gained some weight back, ha. I am hoping once the fatigue from this 1st trimester is done, I will have more energy to get back to going to classes and working out in general. I know I can at least get to 3 Zumba classes a week, and find other things to do the other days. But, once in a pattern, and you find something you enjoy – it’s hard to stop – and that’s a good thing!

  9. Taylor says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Are you going to Burn Boot Camp? I’m addicted too. πŸ™‚

    • Brittany says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      I was going to ask the same thing! BBC just came to Tennessee in March and I’m addicted for all the same reasons!

      • Sarah says
        Posted May 24, 2016

        This is great to hear – it’s coming to northern VA and I signed up on a whim….glad it’s not a scam!

  10. Karly says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Congrats on finding a fitness program you like. That is awesome.

  11. Yvonne says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Your feet can take alot of punishment if you have a specialty running store in the area it might be a good idea to check into some inserts for your feet. I have high arches and neutral pronation and I love my orange superfeet. They give my feet the added support they need for a really punishing workout.

  12. Alyssa says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I had the hardest time getting into a workout, but I’m a little different than you. I hate being confined to having to go to a class at a particular time, and actually get totally anxious about it. We recently put a workout space in our home and I find myself working out in there all the time. I’m so interested to read this book and figure out what my habit personality is!

    • Aimee says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      I am the same. The times that classes are don’t work for my life so I work out at home!

  13. Adelle Davis says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I did a sprint triathlon & 1/2 marathon for my 30th. The marathon was planned, but the triathlon was an added bonus. DO IT!!!! You will not regret it. Even though I came second to last, I FINISHED and I have not looked back. I wish you the best of luck.

    Adelle Davis

  14. Erica says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I just recently saw your post about your first triathlon. I did my first one this year, and I live just east of Raleigh. I’m totally hooked (even though I’m scared of hills on my bike). If you do another one please post about it, maybe some readers can join you!

  15. Stephanie O. says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I could have written this post verbatim, but about CrossFit. I was bored with working out at a regular gym and found myself dreading going, so I tried CrossFit as a way to spice things up and totally fell in love with it. Glad you found something you love – that is the secret to staying consistent!

  16. Gabriela says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    This was such a motivating post! I went and bought the book and I’m looking forward to taking over my life again and for the changes to come! Thank you

  17. Posted May 24, 2016

    That’s awesome! It sounds very similar to a bootcamp I attended in my town a few years ago! My husband switched to nights so I had to stop going (only 5:30am offered because they’re teachers full-time) but have found an at home group of programs I love and finally found something to stick to-thank goodness! Since having my last baby I haven’t started running again with any consistency and would love to run another half in the fall-a sprint tri sounds like a fun way to ring in your thirties without having the training schedule be two crazy of a commitment with two littles. I hope you post about your training!

    I didn’t realize she’d written another book-have you read The happiness Project? I’m about half way through and really love it!

  18. Shelly says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I LOVED that book, (I am a rebel) and I am a fitness addict myself (triathlete, crossfitter).. . So happy you are finding something you enjoy!

  19. Justine says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    That’s great Kate!! Finding something you love and staying consistent makes a habit! I was so unmotivated to work out and I knew i needed something for my mood, for my family’s sake too. I had a friend who introduced me to Beachbody. I had never done P90X or anything. I started with 21 Day Fix and now I’m a coach! The people in this fitness community are so motivating! All types of levels, and the workouts I can do from home and only 30 min!! That’s all you need a day! I’ve found my passion. But always like reading Oersinal Development, so I’m off to purchase the book!!

  20. Hannah says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    When you posted the black dress pic on Instagram yesterday, I thought, “It looks like she’s lost weight!” And indeed you have!! Glad you found something that’s working for you. A well-timed post for me to read.

  21. Sasha says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    This post really resonated with me– Thanks Kate!

    I do 5:30 am bootcamp as well. A few ladies in my neighborhood take turns driving and there is NO sleeping in when someone is on her way to pick you up! Love the community and support we give each other.

    Glad you have found that as well!

  22. Shannon says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Hi! Are you doing Burn Bootcamp? I do it in Charlotte and LOVE it! Joined about 2 months ago. It is hard, but feels so good. I am seeing amazing results too!

    • Sarah says
      Posted May 24, 2016

      I just signed up for Burn Bootcamp on a whim and I was fearing it was a scam! So happy to hear a real comment!

  23. Whitney says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I feel like I could have written this! I just found what sounds like a similar women’s only boot camp through a special they were running and I am HOOKED. Glad you found what works for you, it feels so good!

  24. Posted May 24, 2016

    This is so great. I can be a bit of a people-pleaser in that same way and I actually started a neighborhood Facebook fitness page to start meeting more ladies in the neighborhood and do some fitness activities, as a way to boost my own motivation. I held the first boot camp at my house last week and it went great! I loved setting up the routine and stations and it was a success. So much so that now it’s a weekly thing! I’m also scheduling meet-ups to run, etc…and basically get my butt back in my gym…no more tired excuses because that is just not the real me when it comes to exercise. You have to do what works for you to give yourself that little kick you need – glad you found something you love! Fitness doesn’t have to be a pain – it can be fun!

  25. April says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I feel like that about my Saturday morning body sculpt class at my gym. It’s almost impossible to get myself to do workouts at home, and when I do it feels so much harder to push through even 15 minutes of it than when I go to my hour long class. I’ve said before that I wish I could go to that class every day, but with my work schedule and baby, I can only make it to the Saturday morning one. It makes it even better when my sister can go with me! The instructor always mixes it up and challenges us, but it doesn’t feel so bad with all the other women there doing it with me.

  26. Cheryl says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    When I read that description of “Obliger,” I almost dropped the book because I had never, ever read such an accurate description of myself. It was eerie. My husband absolutely can not understand it–he’s a Rebel to the core. For me, I take Pilates with a friend (can’t bail on our trainer or my friend!), and I ride a horse. He counts on me for exercise and training. It works better than almost anything I’ve ever done. I did P90X with my mom (yes, she is awesome) and I only got through it because I had such an obligation to her. At least I can see it now! Obligers unite (because we need each other to feel motivated)!

  27. Kathy says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Working out results in the daily shampooing and styling of my hair. When I see your tips for 2nd, 3rd…day hair, I always *sigh* that I can’t benefit from that time saver. Am I missing any tricks, or correct that sweat=shampoo?!?

  28. Renee says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I’m totally an obliger too — 100%. I’ve been doing a running challenge with Train like a Mother, and having a daily check in with our facebook group has been so helpful to me going every day. When this challenge is over, I’ll have to see if there are any bootcamps in my small town.

  29. Cindee says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    That is so exciting! I started bootcamp in our area on September 28th., my husband signed up with me. We make it “our time” together. Our boys are older so we are happy to find things to do together. I used to dread going but now I look forward to it.

    I’m down 32lbs and going strong. I have gained confidence in myself. I am so happy that I started and I think that it will be a life long commitment. I ran my first 5k in March and have signed up for one a month until December. Exercise can be so empowering!

    I am proud of you!! Get after it. #girlpower

  30. Alyssa says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    I am trying to establish good habits again (eat healthier, work out, keep the house tidy, etc.) and I’m determined to stay on track. This post could not have come at a better time. I will definitely check out the book on habits that you recommended! I’m sure it will give me some good advice. Keep up the good work Kate, you’re doing great! πŸ™‚

  31. Emilie says
    Posted May 24, 2016

    Congrats on finding a workout regime that motivates you!!! Inspiring post πŸ™‚

  32. Audrey Muir says
    Posted May 25, 2016

    Hi found a workout group that seriously changed my life about 4 years ago. Kaia Fit is a women’s only workout group that supports every women to achieve her goals, be it to get fit, lose weight or eat healthy. I look forward to seeing my “sisters” every day and we motivate and support one another in and out of the gym environment. They are a franchise, so there may be a location near you. I can thank them enough for being in my life!

  33. Desirae says
    Posted May 25, 2016

    This is awesome! I am totally an Obliger, too! I am reading through the same book right now. I joined a Crossfit gym, and although I don’t go AS much as I’d like, I have to go at least 3 times a week, because I know the owner well, and I know he would get on me if I didn’t! Luckily my husband is also great accountability for working out because he knows I want to be held accountable! Great post!

  34. Jamie says
    Posted May 25, 2016

    This is 100% me. I started working out at home to balance mom life, be around my little one and give myself variety. But still that’s even hard because I can come home from work and sit down and lack motivation to get up again. There’s something about a gym that just doesn’t motivate me. But I feel ya on the variety. I need something different each time I workout or else I am done and quit doing it.

    Jamie of Hello There Lady!

  35. Ann says
    Posted May 25, 2016

    If this has already been mentioned I am sorry – I haven’t read all of the comments.

    I haven’t read the book yet but its on my list. I do listen to Gretchen’s podcast called Happier. I really enjoy it. I have learned from it that I am an Obliger too – LOL. If you haven’t listened to the podcast give it a try. They always have a ‘try this at home’ segment which most of the time I find to be helpful.

    As I type this I am thinking that you probably already know about the podcast. LOL

    Have a great week!

  36. Mara says
    Posted May 25, 2016

    Love Gretchen Rubin and you’re awesome for finding a way!!!

  37. Posted May 25, 2016

    Get it, girl! Hey when it’s working, it’s working!

  38. Janna says
    Posted May 26, 2016

    Just curious how you adjusted your personal/home schedule to get yourself up and out of the house and to class? Are you going to bed earlier each night? Do you come home to take a shower and start your day with the boys?

    my 27 mo daughter wakes up by 6:20am and I find it very difficult to get an early work out in before the day gets started and get showered. It’s like I have to pick btwn either a healthy work out or getting a shower and the shower is honestly more important for my sanity (but I know I NEED a good sweat).

    Would you be willing to share your daily schedule (again) on the blog?

    • Sarah says
      Posted May 26, 2016

      YES! I’d love to know too! I’m also struggling with fitting a workout into my schedule as a mom of two with a full time job. I’m already waking at 5am just to get ready for work and with my commute I don’t have much wiggle room to fit in a workout. And in the evenings I’m just utterly exhausted!

      Also, isn’t it funny how we have no energy to workout….yet working out GIVES you more energy?? I can’t win!

      • Janna says
        Posted May 26, 2016

        Exactly…the best cure for being tired is working out, but it sure takes less motivation to just take nap vs lace those tennis shoes.

  39. Rebecca says
    Posted December 29, 2016

    Kate! Are you doing Burn Boot Camp?! I do it here in Charlotte and I AM OBSESSED. It is so hard but so worth it! Hope whatever you’re doing is going well!